I’ve been working in the events industry for longer than I care to mention, cough… 20+ years! I’m a strong believer in the value of events and the ROI face to face marketing provides.  I’ve produced and marketed ALL types of events, so I feel like I’m in a unique position to share my marketing perspective on the distinct events models you can and should take advantage of.

Here at Frost & Sullivan, I’m responsible for our digital strategy, MarTech and demand generation, so I’m also a huge proponent of leveraging technology to identify, engage, validate and close business. However, I can’t stress enough the importance event marketing plays in our overall strategy. Dollar for dollar, it continues to drive the strongest marketing ROI.

Why? Nothing can replace the ability to shake hands, look someone in the eye and establish meaningful relationships. Then, post event we leverage technology platforms, automation and personalization (based on those face to face interactions) and you just can’t duplicate the investment returns, which include shorter sales cycles, larger contracts and increased renewals.

If you’re not seeing similar results, then the events you’re investing in aren’t aligned to your marketing strategy and that’s the focus of today’s Marketing Impact Vlog.

Each event model serves a valuable purpose. It’s critical to understand the pros and cons of each model to properly align your event schedule to your marketing strategy. We’re going to run down the main B2B event models by size, from largest to the most intimate.

Trade Shows & Association National Events:

Pros:

  • Brand Awareness – exhibiting at an industry trade show provides amazing brand building and improves the industry’s overall awareness of your products and services
  • Lead Generation – lots of people = lots of potential lead gen opportunities
  • Market Research – you’ll grab a quick pulse of the industry, what’s trending and what your prospects are responding to, not to mention insight into what your competitors are focusing on.

Cons:

  • Costs – Exhibiting at a large event is expensive and it doesn’t end with square footage charge. Add in booth design, construction, delivery, staffing, travel costs, electrical, setup and teardown…
  • Quality of Leads – Yes you get a ton of leads, but you’ll need to work really hard to sift thru them for the decision makers you seek.
  • Competition – how do you stand out in a sea of competition? Be sure and highlight what makes you unique and provides the ability to stand out.

 

Conferences

Pros:

  • Qualified Audience – participation is only possible after purchasing a ticket
  • Networking – ranging in size from 100s to 1000s of people provides the opportunity to build relationships whether thru receptions, sessions or at the venue bar.
  • Specific Focus/Theme – everyone in attendance is there for the same reason and focus.

Cons:

  • Options Galore – size, focus and event organizer credibility vary greatly. You need to do your research and investigate the overall value and history of the event.
  • Costs – although less than tradeshows, conferences can still be expensive and come with similar expenses.
  • At the Mercy of the Event Organizer – audience demographics, brand positioning, and event tools/apps are controlled by the organizer.

 

Hosted Events

Pros:

  • Full Control – you have control over the entire event and audience
  • Brand Front and Center – participants only experience your brand

Cons:

  • Time and Energy – it takes a ton more energy than you think to plan, marketing and execute a hosted event.
  • Costs – you are 100% responsible for all costs, ie: feeding participants, signage, marketing, etc.
  • Brand Reputation – It’s your event, your brand’s reputation is on the line. Yes you have full control, but with events there are many variables out of your control that can negatively impact your reputation.

We’re running out of time and there are all kinds of other events to consider. The key is to align your goals and strategy with the benefits of the event model. Take the time to do your research not only on the type of event, but its history and the event organizer.  Review sponsor testimonials and feedback, as well as ask around to be sure the event will deliver on your expectations.

We’ll end today’s blog with some honest self-promotion. If you’re truly looking for quality over quantity, to be treated as equals on-site, along with the ability to establish meaningful relationships, then you must add Frost & Sullivan Executive MindXchange events to your event schedule.

Here is a link to our 2020 calendar of events, and I highly encourage you to check them out and get involved.

Till next, remember to grow your brand…and drive demand!

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