One thing hasn't changed during my 11+ years in the meeting and event industry: events are expensive and are highly scrutinised by the bean counters. That's why it's particularly important to find ways to maximise ROI from your B2B event marketing.
In this post, we'll show you how to turn your corporate events into memorable experiences that drive real business results.
So, without further ado, here are 13 strategies to get the most bang for your B2B event marketing buck.
What is B2B Event Marketing?
Event marketing is planning and hosting events to boost a brand, product, or service. These events foster connections and collaborations, creating a space where attendees can network and gain insights into their industry peers.
You can host your own events or participate in others' events as a guest, exhibitor, or sponsor. Each method offers unique benefits, influencing brand perception and unveiling fresh opportunities.
Why is B2B Event Marketing Important?
B2B event marketing drives brand awareness, educates stakeholders, and propels business growth. Here are some compelling reasons why B2B event marketing is essential:
- Networking: These events are prime venues for businesses to connect with potential clients, forge partnerships, and engage with industry frontrunners.
- Lead Generation: Events can drive leads and sales by positioning businesses directly before their targeted audience.
- Brand Awareness: By participating in or hosting events, businesses can position themselves as thought leaders, enhancing their industry reputation.
- Education: Events present an opportunity to inform the target audience on the specifics of products or services, industry developments, and best practices.
- Customer Engagement: They offer an avenue for businesses to interact with current clients, collecting invaluable feedback and gaining insights.
B2B event marketing is a powerful tool for businesses. That is why in a 2023 global survey, in-person events are the most popular marketing channel, with 60% of B2B marketers aiming to utilise this channel this year.
6 Different Types of B2B events
B2B event marketing is highly versatile, with numerous formats that allow you to engage with your target audience. Below are some of the most popular event types:
- Trade Shows
Want to showcase your business offerings and make connections? Trade shows are for you! This B2b event type is the most popular around the world. In 2021, it hit a global revenue of $64.5 billion. Trade shows are known to attract quality leads and provide visibility.
Conferences usually involve educational content from industry experts. Taking on a speaking role can elevate your brand's stature as an authority in the field. Additionally, attending conferences creates valuable networking opportunities and potential lead generation.
Roadshows are branded events hosted across multiple cities. They generate hype and maximise reach to new audiences. Roadshows require ample budget and planning but scale event marketing.
- Networking Events
Networking events facilitate relationship-building through open conversations. Attending such B2B events expands professional contacts while hosting builds brand recognition.
- VIP Dinners
VIP dinners nurture promising leads in an exclusive setting. The special experience fosters positivity about the brand for pitching.
Key Metrics to Measure the Success of B2B Event Marketing Efforts
The Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of B2B event marketing depends on your company's overall strategies and specific departmental goal. But here are a few high-level:
- Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI): Measure the efficiency and profitability of your marketing efforts.
- Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): Understand the long-term value a customer brings over their relationship with your company.
- Cost Per Lead (CPL): Assess the cost-effectiveness of your lead generation campaigns.
- Lead-to-Conversion Ratio: Gauge how many of your leads turn into paying customers.
Remember, the relevance of each metric depends on your specific business goals and context.
13 Strategies to Maximise ROI for B2B Events
- Event Planning with Clear Objectives:
An event's foundation is its purpose. By comprehensively understanding event objectives and their respective KPIs, you can create events that resonate with your audience and deliver tangible value to the business.
This clarity also ensures that resources and efforts are directed where they matter. Some pivotal objectives businesses often prioritise include lead generation, where success can be gauged by the number of new contacts gathered or subsequent sales meetings scheduled.
- Give Early Bird Promotions and Discounts
Early bird promotions offer special rates or incentives for those registering for an event before the deadline. By offering these promotions, you can secure commitments well in advance, aiding in forecasting attendance numbers and helping in better budget preparation. This proactive approach ensures a foundational attendee base and creates a sense of urgency and excitement around the event.
As attendees start securing their spots, the momentum and buzz can act as organic marketing, with potential attendees drawn in by the fear of missing out or the allure of a good deal. Consequently, these promotions can increase overall registration and heightened interest in the event, ensuring a wider reach and potentially more successful outcomes.
- Boost Attendee Engagement with Targeted Marketing
Audience engagement involves understanding your attendees' needs, preferences, and challenges. Boost participation and engagement by customising marketing messages and employing channels they often visit. This engagement often translates to higher post-event conversion rates.
To effectively reach your audience, leverage a multi-channel approach. Use
- Email Campaigns: Ideal for sharing event agendas, speaker profiles, and reminders.
- Social Media: Use platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram for interactive promotions, targeted ads, and live sessions to amplify event buzz.
- Event Websites: A one-stop hub offering event details, registration processes, and pre-event content.
- Push Notifications: Engage and remind potential attendees via timely notifications on apps or sites.
- Affiliate/Partner Marketing: Contact event affiliates or industry figures to access a broader audience.
- Include VIP Tickets
Everyone appreciates exclusivity. Consider introducing VIP tickets at a slightly higher price, offering attendees added perks and privileges. These could include reserved seating during major sessions, access to an exclusive networking lounge, an invitation to special dinners, and privileged introductions to keynote speakers. Such premium offerings transform your VIP guests into dedicated brand advocates and enhance event revenue.
- Consider Hosting Hybrid Events
The shift towards hybrid or purely virtual events isn't just a trend; it's a response to the changing business landscape. Hosting hybrid events lets you cater to modern audiences' needs while reaping the benefits of expanded reach, cost savings, and rich data insights. Additional benefits of hosting hybrid events are:
- Added Flexibility: With 24/7 access, hybrid events also cater to those with busy schedules, boosting participation.
- Rich Data Insights: Virtual events track attendee interactions, providing data to hone future marketing tactics.
- Eco-Friendly: A reduced carbon footprint from limited travel and gatherings aligns with the push for sustainability.
- Deliver Valuable Content
Content isn't just about filling time slots; it's about resonating with the audience, answering their queries, and establishing your brand as a knowledgeable leader. Quality content retains attendees' attention, preventing them from drifting or becoming distracted. It should reflect attendees' challenges and aspirations, underscoring your company's alignment with their needs. You can deliver valuable content in different formats:
- Workshops: Offer hands-on experiences and topic deep dives.
- Panels: Present diverse expert perspectives on relevant issues.
- Keynotes: Set the event's tone with motivational insights.
- Demos: Showcase product applications and address queries.
- Use Event Management Technology
Event management software revolutionises how businesses orchestrate events, offering a cohesive suite of tools to elevate every phase of event organisation. Here's how these platforms can optimise your B2B event marketing ROI:
- Scheduling & Agenda Setting: Enables effortless schedule creation, room or channel assignments, and time zone adjustments for global events.
- Event Registration Solutions: Streamlines the registration process, incorporating payment options, automated confirmations, and tailor-made registration forms.
- Multi-platform Integration: Offers seamless connections to popular video tools, CRM solutions, and marketing systems, enriching user experiences.
- Interactive Features: Enhance attendee engagement through polls, chat rooms, Q&As, and breakout sessions.
- Real-time Analytics & Reporting: Dive deep into attendee actions, identify sought-after sessions, and monitor engagement through comprehensive dashboards.
- Exhibitor Management: Simplifies exhibitor coordination by overseeing booth tasks and content submissions and maintaining clear communication channels.
- Networking Opportunities: Some software introduces "virtual lounges" or employs algorithms, connecting professionals with mutual interests or goals.
- Event Marketing Platforms: Integrated tools like email campaigns, social sharing, and push notifications to amplify event visibility and attendance.
- Feedback & Survey Tools: Post-event, assessing attendee experiences is pivotal. Built-in survey tools yield invaluable insights, laying the groundwork for improved future events.
- Facilitate Networking
Networking is pivotal for B2B event attendees, often serving as a platform to establish valuable partnerships and exchange ideas. Employ strategies like creating dedicated networking zones for open conversations, hosting informal receptions for relaxed interactions, and introducing speed networking for swift, efficient introductions among participants.
- Capture Lead Intelligence
Navigating the event landscape requires more than just organising; it's about seizing every opportunity to connect and gather insights. Effective lead intelligence is the linchpin that bridges initial interactions with lasting business relationships.
So, frame concise, audience-specific questions while balancing between data collection and simplicity. Highlight data privacy concerns to build trust. Consider using tools for lead retrieval and qualification for prompt follow-ups and monitoring lead engagement after that.
- Use An Event App
Event app is not just about keeping attendees informed—it's about giving them a tailored experience. With real-time feedback, you're always one step ahead, tweaking things on the fly. Similarly, with the analytics, you can easily see what's working and where to pivot for next time.
Furthermore, the app's networking features can foster connections among participants, amplifying opportunities for collaboration and business partnerships.
- Seek Exhibitors and Sponsors
The participation of exhibitors and sponsors often underpins the financial viability of an event, and their satisfaction will determine their eagerness to collaborate in the future. As such, event planners must craft an environment where exhibitors and sponsors can maximise their benefits. To invite exhibitors or sponsors:
- Research and Target: Understand the industry and target exhibitors who would benefit the most from the event's audience.
- Create Customised Pitches: Highlight how the event aligns with the exhibitor's goals, brand exposure, product launches, or networking.
- Provide Testimonials: Showcase testimonials from past satisfied exhibitors to instill confidence.
- Share Post-event Reports: Share statistics like foot traffic, attendee demographics, and engagement metrics to prove past event success.
- Be Flexible: Be open to customisation. Some exhibitors might have specific requirements. Being flexible can be a key selling point.
- Post Event Engagement
While the physical or virtual curtain may close on an event, the journey with attendees is far from over. Post-event engagement is a pivotal phase in the event lifecycle, often distinguishing between fleeting interactions and long-term partnerships.
Reconnect with attendees after the event through personalised thank-you notes. Offer event resources or recordings and suggest next steps, like attending another event or giving feedback. Share key moments, slides, or videos and seek feedback on all aspects of your event, from quality and logistics to overall satisfaction.
- Track and Measure
Establish KPIs to gauge the success of your marketing efforts. KPIs can encompass a variety of metrics, such as the number of leads generated, engagement rates, and the conversion of leads to sales.
Monitoring and analysing these metrics provide invaluable insights into the effectiveness of the event's various elements. Recognising what resonated with the audience and what fell flat allows for fine-tuning strategies. As a result, your future events can be more tailored, efficient, and impactful, leading to continuous improvement in outcomes and a consistent return on investment.
There you have it—tips to make your B2B event marketing a success! You can create events that drive ROI with an audience-focused approach, integrated technology, valuable content, and post-event nurturing. Say goodbye to lackluster B2B events and hello to effective event marketing. Time to promote your next business event like a pro!