4 March 2015
These days it takes a lot more then just your usual marketing mix to draw in new business and get noticed. Skilled B2B marketers are always looking for new ways to generate leads and build brand awareness. Staging a targeted, branded and unique event, seminar or conference can be very good for business.
Perhaps you’ve considered holding an event of your own?
Here’s a run down on what you need to know…
Why they’re so great
Hosting an event of your own gives buyers, executives and interested parties the opportunity to engage with your brand face-to-face rather than from behind the screen. It allows your organisation to promote causes that are central to your line of expertise, share insights, information and begin a dialogue with your audience. They also provide attendees with the added bonus to build their professional network.
Research also indicates that executive events are actually among the highest yield in lead generation strategies (IDG Lead Generation Marketing Report).
Setting your intention
What is it that you hope to achieve from holding this specific event? Teasing out this information out in terms of leads, sales, publicity and prospects will set clear goals for your event plan. It will also help determine the size and scale of your event. Even smaller events such as a short one-hour session in place of a full-scale day conference can reap great rewards if the target hits the mark.
Next you’ll need to consider your target audience carefully. Keeping their motivations and drives forefront and center is a sure way to provide an experience that works – setting your event up for success.
A theme to wow them all
Your event theme and content will form the crux of the event appeal, and while the ‘wow’ factor might not have the same pull as a social or leisure event – you still need to offer a strong ‘value add’ to busy executives to validate their time. Inviting a keynote speaker that is an expert in his/her field is a great way to spark interest.
Perhaps there is an issue facing your industry such as changing regulations, a skill shortage or tightening market conditions?
Recently MIH worked together with Cognizant an IT and business consultancy firm on an annual industry event for Quality Assurance professionals and engineers. The theme on “Challenging the conventional status quo” included high profile speakers, activities, an awards ceremony and social dinner.
At the end of the day you want your business to come across as expert in field, and as a thought leader.
Time to get your thinking caps ON.
Types of B2B Events
This is an opportunity to stretch from business as usual and offer a point of difference. The scale and size of your B2B event will vary depending on budget; available resources and your target market but here are some of the trialled and tested variants.
- Full day seminar – full day with speakers, meals and plenty of networking opportunities.
- Product launch – invite your customers (and the press) to your next launch.
- Workshops –offer a workshop on a particular skill set such as managerial, leadership, or tech up-skill.
- Conference 1 + days – often these program offerings require a fee to attend given the cost, and provide a mixture of speakers, seminars and workshops.
- Presentation/talk – this is can be a short session offered to targeted people and can take place in your own office, or a paid meeting venue.
- Network social evening – topical presentation, followed by an hour or two of social drinks and nibbles.
- Breakfast seminar – quite popular, features a session followed by coffee and light refreshments for networking.
Tech shifts events online
We’re seeing a move into online events via online webinars, live seminars and pre-recorded videos. Conferencing tools such GoTo and Webinars OnAir have extended the reach for B2Bs to engage prospects despite their geography. Attendees can sign up online and are given login details to join sessions online. Talks tend to go from 1 – 2 hours, and are a great way of building trust and sharing expertise with a large audience. While it does take away the personalised 1-1 experience, it is gaining traction as an accepted way to build leads. Pre-recorded videos are also an option for some. While there may the initial investment, they can be used in numerous times so long as the content remains fresh. There are always new ways to get leads!
Leads and Follow-up
Its good sense to consider throughout your event plan all the opportunities you can create to generate leads. From initial sign-ups and registration landing pages to breaks and networking opportunities and post event questionnaires/feedback. Capturing this information in a sufficient manner is invaluable. Be sure you have a communication plan that involves follow-up up and keep in regular contact.
Many B2B marketers indicate that their greatest barrier to lead generation success involves a lack of resources in staffing, budgeting, or time. (B2B Technology Marketing Community). If your team is coming up against some of these, speak with the team at MIH. As an event marketing agency we’ve been at the hub of many successful B2B events, and are happy to discuss the best options for your business.