For many organizations, events represent a large share of their overall marketing spend. In fact, many companies allocate anywhere from 20 to 50 percent of their budgets for brand experiences, with the predominant portion going to events. Many marketers believe that, after a website, events are the most effective channel in their "marketing stack," given the power of live experiences and the ability to forge one-on-one connections.
As companies continue to up their digital marketing game, the technologies that they use to execute, assess and improve their marketing activities is expanding. Event technology can be positioned within the marketing stack to help marketers. The looming question becomes: how well are you listening to the event channel?
Event Engagement Takes Many Forms
The dominant form of interaction at an event is in-person or physical – company to prospect, vendor to attendee, attendee to attendee, and many other combinations. In a digital world, the challenge becomes how to integrate your company’s physical touch points into the digital marketing realm.
Fusing the Physical and Digital through your Marketing Stack
Here are four steps marketers can take to bridge their physical, live and in-person events with their digital marketing programs:
Know your audience
You should be as informed as possible about those attending your events. What is their personality type, how do they prefer to receive information, what are their goals and challenges, what phase are they at in the purchase process, and what purchase drivers would motivate them to pull the trigger and buy?
Define the mission
It’s important to understand the different paths of those attending an event. Are they a buyer, a customer or a delegate? All take different paths on their journeys, whether the end result is to make a sale, gain certification or become an advocate. What are the key phases to help each of these three key audiences realize their goals?
Blend events into campaigns
As noted earlier, events can be an integral part of any marketing plan. For example, a marketing plan built around product, brand, channels and content. An events plan that maps out programs by month should be closely integrated within say the content component of an overarching marketing plan. Various dimensions of the events plan should also overlap with the product, brand and channel pillars of the marketing plan.
Map and integrate technology
In the sales continuum that begins with awareness, then moves through consideration and hopefully culminates in closing a sale, there are a series of marketing and event initiatives to take an event attendee from prospect on through to purchase. Initiatives that can include search, emails, phone calls, event attendance itself and post-event follow-up offer a series of touch points to maintain contact with prospects using technology to nurture them along the continuum to a desired sales close. The tools to facilitate this nurturing and educational process for prospects can include CRM, social media, SEO, website, analytics and a number of other resources.
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