So with this in mind I recently watched a webinar on the State of B2B Event Marketing put together by B2B magazine featuring John DiStefano, Research Director at B2B, and Maria Pergolino, Senior Director of Marketing for Marketo. Unfortunately it was more directed at the potential impact of marketing automation rather than the actual state of B2B events, it would have also been nice to get a few big event sponsors on the panel, but it did raise some good points based on some very good scientific research.
According to the research B2B companies invest in 26 events a year, 14 of their own company led events and 12 third-party events, representing 20% of their marketing budget. Interesting this is versus 5% on social media! Even more interesting in terms of driving results, third-party events delivered 61% of all the revenue from events.
Not surprisingly, the three top goals for B2B companies with their events is lead generation, customer engagement and branding. As a result of the focus on lead generation, the measurement of those leads through the corporate sales funnels is becoming even more important. This is where more marketing automation can kick in.
But more importantly for professional B2B event organizes, we must ensure we are delivering the right level of leads and are driving customer engagement for sponsors through our events. Even more importantly, we need to recognize this new focus on measurement and help our sponsors (or partners) gain more intelligence through the process. As sponsorship revenues become more and more important to third-party event organizers so to does ensuring we exceed their expectations.
I think this means third-party organizers also need to consider more changes:
Creating products that may be designed for sponsors customers at various levels of the sales funnel. Segmenting or streaming events to allow customers at different stages of the buying cycle to have different information and different interactions with sponsors. Creating mini events for existing customers vs new leads. Crafting the content to help drive new engagements or up/cross sell existing customers into deeper engagements. Also providing pre and post event opportunities for enhanced networking both online and off.
From a marketing point of view it may also mean crafting different messages or content marketing to the various stages of the vendors buying cycle. And as always tailoring those messages to different channels.
It also means (capturing and) providing more data to our sponsors, pre and post event. More information on who is attending, why, what they hope to get out of the event, what their budgets are etc. and then helping sponsors with the measurement and tracking of these leads post event. Providing the data and utilizing our social networks to make sure we continue the engagement for sponsors post event will mean more return sponsors.