B2B event marketing is not the easiest thing to do, and if anyone has ever told you otherwise, they are wrong. As a marketer, it is very important to have a clear understanding of the dos and dos related to it, with special attention to the don’ts. Here we will be talking about 11 such don’ts that you need to keep in mind before you embark on this particular path.
Planning a successful marketing campaign for B2B events is easier said than done. It is not uncommon to hear stories about campaigns being called off, events going wrong or not having the desired ROI despite tremendous efforts made. B2B event marketing strategies have a huge checklist of do’s and don’ts. It is important to check each and every one of them one by one, preferably thrice over, well in time, to save yourself the pain of bidding your plans goodbye. Today we will be discussing 11 slip-ups that you must avoid in your B2B event marketing.
1. Bypassing Technology
As is normal, at corporate events, an attendee checks in at the registration, receives their welcome kit, business kit, event guide et al. and goes about their business after that. For organizers, the only way to track the event turnout is through these registrations. But for most parts they remain unaware of what happens after an attendee gets past the registration tables. Albeit differential devices over the decade have helped in tracking audience response and supported lead retrieval. But the data collection ended right there. Thanks to advanced technology in the form of internet and smartphones, today there are mobile event apps that boost engagement, increase sponsorship opportunities and much more. If you are still doing it the old way, you need to step up immediately.
2. Overlooking the human element
In B2B marketing, Business is the main focus of the two B’s in question. Event marketers value and discuss business elements like lead, attendees, delegates, sponsors, opinions, poll numbers, success, failure, and so on. But if we are to believe one of the world’s foremost leaders in the art and science of sharing, Bryan Kramer, then the focus should shift from the Business to People. He says business and products do not have emotion. But people do. They see, hear, compare, understand and then decide the course of their business. So it is important to think Human to Human instead of Business to Business. It helps in establishing the human connection with the right modes of communication.
3. Forgetting your niche influencers
Never shy away from getting help in increasing your reach. You need to find out and connect with the influencers in your niche. They are influential individuals having a very high networking circle and social media following. Simply having them mention your brand’s message to their high following, will increase your brand awareness. As a result imagine the amount of customer loyalty and sales leads that you can receive. If you do not know who the niche influencers are, you can always use available tools like Peerindex, Buzzsumo, Klout or Kred to find out your best options. But leaving them out would mean handing over your advantage to your competitors. Now how smart would that be?
4. Undermining PR activities PR activities for event marketing for most events usually includes conducting press releases once the venue and dates for the event are confirmed. But to add more value, the press releases distributed should be more specific for the event audience. For a more successful reach, PR for digital marketing events should have the content distributed through channels like Socialmediaexaminer.com, Searchengineland.com and Searchenginejournal.com to name a few. The news pieces should always come with twitter hashtags, relevant event handle and be linked to the relevant announcements showcased on the event website. It is very important to let your target audience know what to expect at the event. This brings us to our next point.
5. Going overboard As we were saying, it is very important to let the target audience know what the event is about. Present information that is engaging and will implore your attendees to be excited and interested. Focus on how the attendees will benefit from attending the events. But information relayed to draw your audience should be honest. You should never exaggerate on event details because you are obligated to deliver what you promise. False promises and misleading information will diminish your reputation and brand value. Your competitors will always be on the lookout to outshine you. It is better to be safe than sorry.
6. Discounting the necessity for collective decisions As an event marketer, you ought to be aware of the concept of account based marketing. The theory behind this highlights the importance of collective decision making in enterprises. B2B buying decisions are not a one person job. Thus your marketing collateral needs you to target the collective entity so that the message reaches a group of people. Remember, when you were younger you had to talk your parents into why the new PlayStation, Harry Potter collectibles or the new iPhone was a must have? The B2B marketing works around the same principle. Only here you need to send across resources that will help a junior employee convince their superior about why the most talked about event in town must have his presence.
7. Not calling to action fast enough Marketing your events to the target audience is not going to produce results unless they are responding to it. The seats need to fill and tickets have to be sold. Do not go easy when it comes to calling to action. Information recall usually lasts for three days. So unless your leads are being converted right now, the chances are high they might forget about it. It is important to create a sense of urgency so that they may reconsider coming back at another time. Call to action copies, countdown or information about limited seats are a must.
8. Factoring numbers We understand it is your dream come true to have a full house at your events. But you have to understand that in B2B marketing,you cannot just concentrate on the numbers. Also, just because you like the A list players does not mean they should be the only group you target. For a successful B2B event, you need quality attendees who will add value to the events and end up as prospective sales leads. Do not rely on a custom list that you can rent or buy. Redefine your objective thoroughly. Invest time and effort to research your audience base correctly and segment your your data accordingly.
9. Running short of time Be it B2B events or otherwise, event marketers always feel hard pressed for time. People begin to ignore duties and fail to double check their activities when they are rushing through. It can lead to minor or major slip ups that can cost the campaign or the event before it ever happens. For example sending an invite or a promotional email to the wrong list is not unheard of. The best known blooper was when New York Times had sent the wrong promotional offer to 8 million subscribers instead of the list of 300. What had started as a campaign to make new subscribers rethink their decision to discontinue subscriptions, backfired with the loyal subscribers. Thus it is best practice to start well ahead of time. It helps avoid unnecessary rookie mistakes and upholds the professional standard expected from the event.
10. Surpassing the non-attendees
It is not always possible that everyone who has RSVP’d to your event will turn up. But that should not be the reason for them to be left out of the opportunities they had signed up for. Use your event app to keep the non-attendees in the loop throughout. Post event videos and event highlights as much as much as you can. This not only acts as a followup but also helps to reiterate upon the value that you are providing. Ensure that the non attendees have access to handouts, charts, slides and other event collateral via the event app for their reference. Let them know you are available to answer any questions they may have. Help them make up for the opportunity they thought they lost in any way that you can.
11. Forgetting to follow up It is important to maximize the impact of an event while it is still fresh in the mind. Never forget to follow up on the event attendees. Be a good host and thank them for their presence. Make support materials from the event available to them for future use. Remember sales cycles in B2B can last up to several months. So the ultimate rate of success cannot be measured until much later. Following up with the attendees on a steady basis will help you determine ROI.