Does event marketing work? More than nine out of ten marketers believe that in-person events help them achieve their business goals. With pandemic safety measures having normalized virtual events, hosting and attending events has become more convenient and affordable than ever.
Getting together like human beings to socialize and learn from each other — even in digital spaces — is a big part of what makes event marketing worth the effort.
The most successful event marketers realize that what’s even more effective is to make their events as memorable and impactful as possible. Read on and we’ll reveal 6 amazing event marketing ideas that serve as shining examples of how to do it right.
Event marketing is when you use in-person or virtual gatherings as a marketing channel. According to 68% of B2B marketers, live events are the most effective way to generate qualified leads. Many staple event features, like panels, live demonstrations, and Q&A sessions, can be a great way for B2B sellers to educate audiences about what they do and what problems they can help solve.
Creating an attractive event involves inviting peers, vendors, and potential customers to share their knowledge and learn from others. Marketing an event of this kind offers significant benefits for businesses, including making connections, generating new leads, speeding up the sales pipeline, strengthening their relationship with existing customers, and increasing their brand authority.
By definition, B2B events are geared toward other companies and organizations within your industry, not the general consumer public. A well-run, well-attended event can create many networking opportunities and solidify the personal relationships that many B2B deals depend on.
When potential customers attend an event, 74% of them will walk away with a more positive view of the brands that provided them with high-quality content and experiences. To create an engaging event, you need to understand what your audience is looking for and what event format is best suited to provide it.
B2B events often fit within one of the following categories:
What makes a B2B event successful? If you’re thinking something like “memories that last a lifetime” or “the friends we made,” those are valid answers – but your boss probably wants to hear something like “proven ROI.”
Here are a few best practices for marketing a B2B event that delivers measurable value:
Now, let’s take a look at what happens when B2B event marketers really get it right.
The Facebook launch of Facebook IQ, an insights unit that helps marketers understand how people are using social networks to communicate, is a textbook example of an innovative event marketing idea.
Facebook introduced it to business leaders by creating a “neighborhood” inhabited by actors who brought the possibilities of customer data to life. At the Instagram Café, for example, attendees could enjoy latte art as well as a sampling of case studies. These experiences helped the conference-goers understand their audiences better and illustrated various ways to use Facebook IQ to their advantage.
For their presence at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in 2019, Twitter created Twitter Beach — a chill spot to hang out and get away from the hustle. It included fun music and media-themed programming, a photo booth, and branded merchandise giveaways. At the same time, Twitter kept the focus on marketing by highlighting their #StartWithThem initiative and holding one-on-one meetings on their VIP terrace.
Oracle’s Code One user conference for developers of Java, Python, and other languages and technologies used to be a huge in-person event held in Las Vegas. Ever since the pandemic began, this event has become strictly virtual and free to attend. This graceful marketing pivot from IRL to online helped maintain continuity for the many developers, coders, and end-users of Oracle products and helped them stay connected through a difficult year.
HubSpot’s yearly marketing event is a great example of when and how to let a recurring event grow into its own brand identity. Like Code One, INBOUND had to transition from in-person to virtual, opting for an immersive experience with workshops and guest speakers (Oprah was there, virtually); and lots of insights into customer expectations and the future of marketing technology.
One way to make an impression at a large-scale event is to blow audiences away with new technologies. That’s what Intel did at the 2016 Computex trade show, where executive Gregory Bryant delivered his keynote speech in hologram form. This was a unique way to showcase the processing power of Intel products and was a standout experience for all those who watched it in person. Consider utilizing tech like virtual or augmented reality if you don’t have the budget for life-size holograms at your own event.
The attendees are a big part of any event’s success. One way to keep them engaged, entertained, and fully informed about the opportunities and activities going on around them is through a branded event app.
The European startup conference South Summit took this approach with an app that allowed attendees to message each other, learn more about the events and speakers, and submit feedback in real-time. Acting as a sort of tour guide through a busy and dynamic conference, apps like this can ensure that event goers have the most enriching experience possible.
Digital marketing rightly demands high priority these days, but when you spend too much time dwelling in the world of analytics you can lose sight of the human factor that is present any time a B2B deal goes down. Live events, both in-person and virtual, uniquely enable you to build trust with your clients and colleagues in a face-to-face setting. With the right marketing ideas, you can create a memorable event that drives business growth for your organization.
Hosting an event, or even just attending one as an exhibitor, is no small endeavor. To get the best value out of this investment of time and resources, you need to make sure the right audience knows about your event and has the time and motivation to attend it. Solutions like Trendemon, which allow you to track customer journeys in real-time, can help you identify visitors who might be interested in B2B events and serve them with targeted promotional content at just the right moment. It’s an amazing marketing idea that will get their attention – and convince them to register.