The State of B2B Event Marketing

11 01 2012

I believe it’s a great time to be in marketing and in events. Social media, social networking and the internet in general are driving sweeping changes.

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.

eBook: Mastering The Basics of Social Media (from the team behind Click Egypt)

22 09 2011

The IQPC team behind Click Egypt, the online and digital marketing summit have put together this great Introduction to the basics of Social Media success ebook.

It includes the basic steps to get started: Management buy in, resourcing, growing bigger ears, focus, engage, learn, measure and teamwork. As well as some great tips on the major social media networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Plus some links to some cool tools you can use to simplify, organise and monitor your social network presence (and they are all free!).

It also includes this great quote from Scott Cook at Intuit, “A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is – it is what consumers tell each other it is”. Which I think highlights how control of the messaging, if ever there was any, has really changed with social media and the depth of change that will be ultimately required within organizations if they really want to use social media in their communication mix.

You can see some of the amazing speakers (Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Vodaphone, Sony, P&G, Kraft, Nestle, Expedia and more) and read more about the event at or follow @socialmarketME. If you are in Egypt and interested in Online Marketing and Social Media this is a great place to start!

10 tips for conference websites

28 03 2011

I recently attended a webinar called “Converting Website Viewers to Event Attendees” run by ICEEM and presented by Joyce McKee @letstalktradeshows and Christoper Justice @sparksight. Unfortunately Chris and Joyce had a few technical difficulties which make the webinar a little disjointed, but the content was generally very good, it’s more focused on tradeshows than conferences but had some good take aways. You can download it here or read my summary below… 

One of the best parts of the webinar is the overview of the industry from the perspectives of delegates, speakers and sponsors:

  • Delegates – Want more for less, they want discounts (partially trained by event organizers in my opinion), and they must have a strong reason to attend. So your value proposition needs to be very strong.
  • Speakers – They are your greatest promotional channel. Make sure your record them! Get them involved, ask them to blog, tweet or spread the word.
  • Sponsors – They want detailed demographics of who will attend or who has attended in the past, they also want to know how you are reaching the audience and new ways to interact with them.

Chris also points out the nature of the saturated information levels of the market, with so much free information flying at people and so many messages, advertising is diluted. The only way around that is to engage your audience through content, pull marketing. He also highlights some interesting math that states one free attendee is worth five paid! But only if the leverage their attendance by telling people about it. So choose your guests carefully and use the same tactics as you do with speaker marketing to help them promote your event!

Here’s my take on the top 10 tips from the webinar:

  1. Mobile first – I agree mobile is important, but not sure it needs to come first…He also mentioned Go Daddy having a cheap and fast mobile solution.
  2. Simplify registration – Keep the forms and process quick, if you need more information for demographics, go back and get it later!
  3. Event archives – Capture everything at your event and use it post event as part of your content marketing. Publish it online for SEO benefits (linking by the way more than keyword). It will also become your most valuable conversion tool for delegates who are thinking of attending – it’s a powerful demonstration of the value of attending. I would add make it easy to share it via social media.
  4. Affiliate marketing – Not enough events do this.
  5. Contests and Awards – Good point, but I think some of the nuances to this strategy where missed, like the badging for SEO and the gamefication aspects if you get the community involved.
  6. Inbound linking – Again this is the most basic aspect of online marketing – but always the least done! Chris recommends 100 inbound links from bloggers, conference directors, white papers, speakers, sponsors etc… I have ranted about this before!
  7. Video – A picture paints a thousand words. Chris paints a good image of how the constant torrent of information has made us all illiterate (really what I think he means is to busy to read everything), but yet we will always press that little play button in a player.
  8. Syndication – Chris shared some insight into the power of RSS on search.
  9. Tech is easy content is not – This is critical, too many people focus on the technology or design when content is king! Not just the copy on the site, but also your content marketing strategy.
  10. Chris also gave some good examples of sites he likes, including; NAB, BlackBerry Devcon, and How Design Conference.

Great webinar, but for me the number one thing online is to engage influencers…Chris mentions it a few times, but next to links and content, finding those influencers and getting them involved is key! Chris also produced this great download 100 Best Practices for Event Websites. Worth a read…