It’s difficult to keep up with the evolving landscape of the marketing world. Influencer marketing. Content marketing. Inbound channels. Social media branding. Account-based marketing. One firm counted 159 types of marketing. With all the success of new forms of marketing, there’s still only one channel that gives you face-to-face engagement – live events. In fact, 83 percent of B2B marketers consider themselves “heavily invested” in events. Why? Seventy-three percent said it’s because they think events are better than other methods for customer engagement. That’s why event marketing continues to grow, now taking up about 24 percent of the B2B marketing budget, according to Forrester Research. It’s estimated that by 2020, there will be 3.2 million global events taking place annually. What makes live events worth the investment in a world where everything has gone digital? Engagement is the answer. Engagement is key to keeping your current clients, drawing in new ones, and ultimately growing your business. Here are some key ways including live events in your marketing strategy can help you accomplish that goal in 2019.
Roads to Growth
Live events give you numerous roads to growth with the right marketing strategy. First, and most obvious, is that you’ll make direct sales. Events allow for a level of personal connection that can’t be duplicated in the digital world, and give you the chance to optimize the customer experience. According to McKinsey & Company, 70 percent of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated. Nothing evokes “feelings” like face-to-face contact. Optimizing the customer experience directly impacts your conversion rates, and is critical to differentiating yourself from the competition. In addition to direct sales, live events put you on other roads to growth. Here are four.
One study revealed that 64 percent of marketers use events for acquiring new prospects and 63 percent use them for lead generation. Event hosts can collect contact info when participants register, and additional attendee data during the event. This process gives you the data needed to nurture those leads through your sales funnel for future growth.
Increase Brand Recognition
Brand awareness is the most important goal for 89 percent of marketers, and 70 percent of brand managers say “building an audience” is more valuable than direct sales. That’s exactly what events do for your marketing strategy. You are building an audience, for both people who convert at the event and those that are just added to your lead database. If your event attracts media attention, your brand awareness goes far beyond those in attendance. Your reach is further expanded when attendees post your event on their social media profiles. Events are your opportunity to show more than just your products and services. Show what your brand represents – your values. For example, your brand’s marketing strategy may be focusing on sustainable production strategies. Knowing that 86 percent of US consumers expect companies to act on environmental issues, you aim to raise awareness about this part of your brand through live events.
Do you think a lead is more likely to take your call if they just talked to you, and had a good experience, at your event last week? Of course. A personal introduction is the first step in establishing a relationship that will lead to a sale. Relationship building is also important for existing customers. Event planners often maintain important relationships by hosting events for top clients, demonstrating their value to the company.
You never want your event to feel like a big sales pitch. This could actually erode your credibility. To generate growth, your event must show value and be perceived as educational. Attendees should perceive that your goal is to educate them or provide value in some way. Classes and certifications establish your credibility within the industry, not just with your product. Choose speakers that are industry leaders, not just executives within your company. Credibility goes hand-in-hand with brand recognition. Go back to the example of the company focusing on sustainable strategies. If they host an event centred around those strategies they will educate customers about their products and the best way to use them, while establishing their credibility in the industry.
Types of Events
What events bring you the most potential for growth? That really depends on your company and your goals. There are many options.
These are one of the most popular event types. Hosts use this environment to educate attendees and facilitate networking. Show off new product lines, new features of existing products, or focus on tips and tricks for usage.
Trade shows are a great way to introduce new products, reveal innovative technology or simply introduce yourself to potential clients. Participation is worthwhile, but hosting the event really positions your company as an industry leader.
Seminars centre around education. Think beyond simply educating people about your products. Attract new clients and add value for existing clients by making them feel like you are interested in more than just sales. Convey the impression that you are interested in their success. For example, a software company that offers medical billing solutions might offer a seminar that focuses on billing pain points. They wouldn’t just focus on using their software. They might host events that offer best practices or tips for adapting to legislation. Are your clients international? Offer tips for adapting to varying municipal regulations.
Formal Events, such as ceremonies and galas, are ideal for building brand recognition and credibility. For example, hosting a black-tie fundraiser draws attention to your company’s philanthropic mission. Use these events to mark a special occasion, such as a company anniversary or the opening of a new facility. These events can often be used for VIP recognition. Exclusive invitations make guests (or influential shareholders/clients) feel appreciated.
These are versatile ways to build your brand and introduce your products. Attendees are motivated to go because they know they’ll meet others with similar business interests. Networking events can be a small gathering of local community members or a large event that takes place in association with a conference.
Employee trust and loyalty are critical to the success of any company. Team building events play a crucial role in building trust and loyalty. In fact, Forbes calls team-building “the most important investment you’ll ever make”.
Whether you are planning a conference for hundreds of attendees or a small team building event, trust your planning to the professionals at The Event Production Company. Our team delivers exceptional experiences that will not only impress attendees, but also align with your marketing strategy. Book a consultation about your next event.