Event Marketing & Strategies: Building Relationships with Face-to-Face Engagement

Events constitute the biggest line item on a B2B marketer’s budget, with nearly 20% of spending being committed to live events, and 21% saying they will increase it. We know that events are an important and valuable way to reach buyers face-to-face. With 57% of tech leaders relying on industry events to keep them up-to-date, it’s no wonder that marketers are allocating time and resources here.

But what are the key areas for events currently and what’s on the horizon? Anne McCrory, VP of Marketing & Content Strategy, Events at IDG Enterprise shares two areas she sees making big impacts for event marketers in the B2B space.

Marketers are paying particular attention to size and focus. Forty percent of them are cutting back on big shows in favor of more targeted gatherings. McCrory agrees that “in general, targeting, ROI and new formats are in the greatest demand.” She notes, as an example of targeting, that one of our clients is looking to reach a specific audience demographic so they prefer an intimate gathering of executives with a certain profile whereas other clients may be looking to connect with executives on a certain topic. On format, clients are looking to stand out from the crowd with unique offerings. For instance, one client has booked several of their content programs at sporting venues; attendees enjoy both the content and the casual atmosphere that follows for further interaction. Such social, content-rich events with a targeted audience is the strategic combination many event marketers are using to build momentum.

Another area that marketers are looking forward to is further audience engagement through combination of marketing automation and location-based technology. Beacons and geofencing are among the latest technologies with the potential to drive audience engagement at an event and thereby more value for the event sponsor/marketers. Placing beacons in strategic locations “triggers a popup message to attendees who have downloaded the event mobile app and are passing by on their phones,” says McCrory. That means marketers can, for example, send out a branded invitation to welcome them to the event or offer to claim a prize at their booth. But as with any technology, the value really needs to be there and be measurable. “For us to pilot, a solution needs to have the potential to really improve an attendee or sponsor experience,” says McCrory. “If the pilot doesn’t prove the value or an ROI, we move on.”

What do you see as the forefront for event marketing? Are you already targeting this way and using this type of technology to reach your audience?

IDG Enterprise events offers a diverse portfolio of regional and national events, executive dinners, roundtables, custom events and awards programs—and a variety of branding and thought leadership opportunities. The full IDG Enterprise portfolio of brands and audiences are available to support tech marketers in their event marketing objectives at almost any target location. Our event approach is to create an environment that fosters an open exchange of ideas, challenges and best practices between IT/security professionals from all industries alongside solution providers, analysts and tech industry leaders.

For more information on IDG Enterprise’s events portfolio, please visit: http://www.idgenterprise.com/events

Sources: “B2B Marketing Budgets Set to Rise 6%,” AdAge; IDG Enterprise Role & influence of the Technology Decision-Maker Study, 2015; Marketing Profs


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