Why host an event?
Savvy brands are always on the lookout for ways to better differentiate themselves in a competitive market. Events, such as conferences, exhibitions and forums have proven to be an effective way to build brands, reputations and establish connections with clients in a competitive market.
The opportunity to engage with market-leaders and network with prospective client in a forum where your product or service is central to the conversation is a huge incentive for event marketing. Not only will it raise awareness of your brand among your market, but event also enable potential clients to better understand your service or product.
Further to the benefits of raising awareness and understanding, one of the main desired outcomes of B2B Event Marketing is lead generation. In fact, 80% of marketers identify lead generation as the principal objective of their event programs. This is as important to marketers and Brand-Building, and with good reason. New leads can bring new return custom, and possibly open up new untapped avenues for your brand.
How do you run a successful Event?
It is important to make sure that your event stands out as a must-attend affair. First and foremost, it’s critical to identify the exhibitors, topics or speakers that are on trend, attention-grabbing and will be deliver value to your attendees. Listening techniques, such as by utilising platforms like twitter, can help organisers understand real-time trending topics worth incorporating in your program.
Once you’ve done this, you’ll need to ensure your event is well populated by people who will drive a strong ROI. Using digital channels such as social media to promote your event, and send targeted invites, you’ll be able to reach a highly relevant yet diverse audience of existing and prospective delegates and sponsors. Interest and engage them with rich, relevant information and content to position your event as a necessity and not a “nice-to-attend”. By doing this, you’re marketing your brand as a thought leader and client centric organisation. Ticket sales and sponsorship offers will be nothing but flowing if executed effectively.
In recent years, the role of social media at corporate events has increased exponentially. From Instagram walls to live-tweeting of events, organisers need to be proactively listening and evaluating the noise. These communications can show you what’s working, but also alert you to potential issues so you can react quickly. Consumer recommendations based on their attendance are certainly worth evaluation, and offer further brand promotion to a wide Social Media network.
The work doesn’t end once the event is over. It’s important to assess how well each aspect of the event was received. Data must be analysed, for instance the number of delegates, their seniority and influence, the value gained by your sponsors and your attendees satisfaction as a whole. Follow up activity is a good way of reinforcing your brand post-event – particularly if you can include multimedia from the event for the client to peruse. Any methods to keep your engagement with delegates going beyond the end of the event are invaluable. The sales of any additional services or bespoke deals you offer to attendees can be used to gauge how effective your event has been.
Assigning the workload at this end of the process is as important as the as in the initial stages. Feedback is very important for optimising future endeavours.
Want to make the most of your budget?
Tight budget and lack of resources often deters companies from hosting events, despite the evident benefits. It’s telling that Regalix’s ‘The State of B2B Event marketing 2014’ finds the primary reasons that Businesses give for not hosting events are down to these constraints. Given the luxury of a limitless budget, many companies declared that they would certainly run more events. Although, your budget may not be as restrictive as you’d previously believed. Sponsorship and attendance fees can be a good way to increase your budget.
No matter you’re industry or budget, there are numerous event types that your brand can utilise, from the high budget, physical events, such as conferences and product launches, to low-cost, virtual event such as webinars and e-training. Research shows that physical events are consistently more popular with Marketers. An immediacy of face-to-face contact allows rapport building and eases communication, with more potential for lead generation and ROI. However, there is certainly exceptional value in the virtual event too. The fact that your budget goes further and potentially across multiple event, is a hugely beneficial. Though the interest and yield of leads generated compared to physical events is understandably smaller.
With the rise of Hybrid Events, virtual media is also carving its place in the physical events industry. This is the perfect opportunity for brands to expose and educate their clients on the benefits and value of their virtual events such as webinars. In the near future, technology will continue to improve, this market will grow and virtual events will prove increasingly worthwhile.
What are you waiting for?
Event marketing certainly has a bright future head of itself. The Event Structure found that between 2013 and 2014 the number of businesses seeing a significant ROI from marketing events had doubled. Furthermore they expected event budgets to grow by more than 5% this year alone. As the industry grows, many companies will experience the benefits of hosting such events, from brand building to lead generation the opportunities which arise from such activity are endless and often unexpected. What will become clear as the marketplace grows and competition intensifies, is that competence in planning and you’re dedication to customer centricity will be the hallmarks of a successful campaign.