Yes, I love events. They are possibly the best tool in the B2B Marketer’s arsenal. Especially when your B2B audience is smaller, your proposition and customer journey more complex, events can be the platform to get the best value for your marketing dollar.
Events have the physical dimension of face to face contact. Digital will never be able to deliver this level of interaction. It is an opportunity to meet your customers and prospects and draw them (and your sales team) away from their office lives. But the best value is delivered by the audience itself: no better selling pitch than your customer talking to your prospect about your product over a drink!
I wouldn’t be sharing this declaration of love if there would not be a digital angle. The great thing about events is that you can stretch their marketing value over a long period of time – prior, during and following the physical event itself. Here’s why:
I’ve added an indication of which channel to use at which point in your message cycle.
You own this channel. If your audience has given you permission to connect to them via email, use it! I will continue the stress the superior value of email in B2B communications until every B2B marketer will stop disagreeing! Note: during registration, never forget to ask for the email address of your customer or prospect.
The main function of your blog is to act as the back up to your email. This is where you can refer people to for all information about the event. The easiest way to fill your blog is simply to copy the content of earlier emails to your blog page. In the follow up, this is where you can host speaker presentations and a gazillion pictures of the event. Note: this should be the place where people land when they Google for your event.
In turn, your social channels amplify what you do on your blog. Be sensitive to the knowledge needs of your social audience as they may not be a 100% match with the needs of the target audience of your event. Don’t annoy people on Twitter or LinkedIn on practical stuff around your event.
This is the container for all channels not under your control. They include trade magazines and websites, external blogs and external social channels. As always, when you try to mobilize these channels, be mindful of the need of the editor to excite their audience just as much as you do.
Events take a lot of time to prepare: from finding the venue and organizing the logistics to building a program that will make your audience see it was worth their valuable time. Digital marketing tactics give you a way to stretch the experience and optimize the value of your event.
And don’t forget: enjoy your event!