My name is Heidi Bullock and I am the Senior Director of Marketing at Marketo.
Today I am going to talk about Best Practices for Events.
My goal with today’s talk is really 2 things:
You walk away with a solid framework for how to think about creating effective events and how to make sure they are part of a bigger strategy. You can take away an idea or two and implement it back in the office
So, let’s start things off with what good events are not…..
Fast-growing small companies and global enterprises alike
Digital overload. There is now attention scarcity because we are all exposed to so many messages in a day.
On any given day, the average customer will be exposed to 2,900 media messages, will pay attention to 52 and will positively remember 4 – SuperProfile 2010
Additionally, the consumer has changed. The modern consumer wants more than a pitch when evaluating solutions or making a purchasing decision. Events offer a unique opportunity for them to interact with solution providers to get a firsthand sense of a company’s focus, perspective, and personality.
People like to go to the Apple store because they can talk to a human and experience the products in person, then go online to purchase. And if most of your company’s marketing and presence is online, hosting events enables your company to make those connections.
Specifically - Events are great for:
Building your brand and driving awareness
2. Generating more leads
3. Engaging with customers
95% of business professionals confirm that face-to-face meetings are essential for the development and retention of long-term business relationships. Additionally, they note that 28% of their current business would be lost without face-to-face meetings. --- Harvard Business Review
4. And education
Most people attend events for one of two main purposes: to network or to be educated. Both are powerful draws in their own ways. If an individual is attending for educational purposes, the information being presented is key. No matter what type of event you are hosting, it’s critical to impart knowledge that the audience will value – and that sets your company apart. By securing quality, high-profile speakers, you can draw a crowd. And by sharing unique insights that are relevant to the audience, you can advance your reputation as a thought leader in the industry and establish a critical connection between your brand and prospective buyers.
Events as a channel rank highly! B2B and B2C marketers rate in-person events as one of the most effective tactics they can use.
Marketers are planning on spending more on events this year.
So while this group most likely knows the benefits of events – there are still big challenges we are all faced with.
Events can be HARD!
Let’s discuss some event challenges. I am going to go through a few:
1. Illustrating value to C-level or key stakeholders
2. Having to do more, with less.
3. Not integrating your events with other channels
4. Only thinking about the day of the event ----- just showing up and expect things to ‘happen’
Challenge = Making sure there is strong event follow up- where you can get your best impact
And lastly, you think the event was a success, but it’s challenging to show the ROI
Success Secret # 1 – Set your goals upfront with key stake holders. Addresses challenge one – getting buy in from key stakeholders.
It is very important before you even start on the event (signing the contract, etc.) to make sure that the team is aligned on objectives and outcomes.
I have an example illustrated here for a tradeshow.
I suggest setting up a meeting with key folks – may be your VP of Marketing, CEO, head of sales, head of product Review the reasons why you think the event has value and how you propose looking at success over time. The timing element is an important one because most likely you will not see closed won deals the day after the tradeshow. So here you can see there are pre-event goals, during event, and post event goals.
Success secret #2 – Once you have identified what the goals look like, you need to figure out how you are going to measure success.
This is really important because if you do not have a way to measure impact – it will be nearly impossible to report back on your goals.
Marketo example Success = engaged + visited booth
Progression Status Every event goes through a similar set of progressions as people move through your program. Typical progressions for events are: invited, registered, no show, downloaded slides, attended on demand. A marketing automation solution gives you a view of where everyone is in your program at any given time.
Success Secret #3 is to have a plan. Don’t go into any event blind. Planning is critical.
Understanding the who, why, where, when and what is essential. So let’s go through these:
So let’s go through these:
Who = know WHO will be at the event internally and externally. Make sure your booth staff is trained and well-prepared. Externally, make sure you are aware of who will be at the event. Consider getting the list of attendees and setting up meetings.
What= understand the purpose of the event. Make sure this is defined and clear to your team.
Where = Location is key. Know where the event is located, where your booth is located on the show floor, who is located next to you, how you and your staff will get there, and it is smart to know any fun spots near by (can be helpful for meetings!)
When = Timing is critical. Set up early. This is true for physical events and virtual.
Why = You may be asking why all of these questions?! So you can make sure you hit your goals and get the expected ROI from your event.
Know what your plan is pre-event, during, and post. Most people focus too much on the day of the actual event and miss out on all the great activities you can do ahead of the event to drive traffic and post event when it is the most critical time to close business.
Keep the leads coming in!
All sessions posted to resources Slides made available Videos made available eBook created from Keynote session
Success Secret #4 - Make sure your events are integrated with other channels ! Big benefits from mobile, social, and of course web.
Success secret #5 – is to make sure you stand out.
Keep in mind, people are busy. What makes you interesting and why should someone stop by your booth or attend your event?
Give your audience a reason to seek you out.
Think of ways to create a buzz. This can be in the form of social media, booth swag and other giveaways, or launching a new product, service, or feature at the event. Remember, other exhibitors and sponsors at the event are trying to connect with the same audience. Make sure you give that audience a reason to seek you out.
Success Secret #6 – is multi –touch promotion. We often see great outreach for physical event, but this works very well for virtual events too.
Success Secret #7 – Follow up FAST – this ties into the last tip. This is one of the most critical things we do here at Marketo. You can see the data on the right hand side that the organization that gets their follow up out first has a much higher click to open rate.
Success Secret # 8 –make it scalable. We talked about how a key challenge for many of us is reduced budgets and headcount and you need to be efficient with all of your programs. Using a tool like marketo, you can clone your event programs so much of the upfront work is easier. In the multi-touch slide I showed you, there were quite a few emails. At Marketo, we package all of these activities together so we can clone them. You just have to update key information using tokens. The message here is to use the tools you have to make your process repeatable and scalable so you are not reinventing the wheel each time.
Some systems are simple, but require manual repetition of basic tasks, over and over again. In Marketo, not only are campaigns launched rapidly, they can be replicated in a matter of seconds, as only Marketo offers the ability to clone a campaign, including all of its assets, in a single click.
Take a webinar for example. You’ll have the email invites, registration page, reminders, follow-ups, and more. Once the webinar is cloned, simply change the date, title, description and more, and all of the assets in the cloned campaign will be updated in one fell swoop.
Success Secret # 1 – Agree on definitions
Lead report – smart list – target status (leads by lead category)
Here are three ROI reporting examples.
Box one is an example of ‘good’ measurement (progression status). Many of you are probably reporting in a way that is similar to this and it is useful.
Here we can see for this event – the # of people invited, registered, attended and no shows.
The next box shows leads from an event by category. You are actually looking at lead quality here. For any event you may bring in a number of names, but it is ideal to know how many of those are ‘real leads’ your sales reps can follow up on. Measuring leads by where they are in your revenue cycle and lead category
The last grid is to me the holy grail and the best – and this is showing impact on pipeline. This is where you really get the attention of your senior team because it is very clear from a dollar value the impact of the event.
I think marketers struggle to measure content ROI for two reasons. One is because they might not think about measurement upfront and then fail to create the right structure/framework to measure results. Two, there is not alignment on what metrics matter. For example, if you have to show ROI from a white paper to a CMO, you should probably avoid vanity metrics like downloads, opens, likes, etc. – it is better to show the # of opportunities or pipeline that was created. It is very important to agree on what will be measured and have goals around the content piece.
First you need to clearly understand and define the goal for the content. (ex: Is the content being used to build brand awareness or drive leads?) Establish goals and ROI estimates upfront – or you will not know if the results met the respective expectations.
2. Make sure you think about HOW you will measure results. Are you measuring reach, engagement, time on your website, likes, shares, or leads and revenue?
3. Make sure everyone agrees on the criteria. You can measure early stage metrics (ex: sharing) and more late stage like leads/revenue but if stakeholders are not on the same page on what the ROI metric is no one will be happy.