3 Actionable Ways Events Can Influence Your Marketing Strategy

This is a guest post by Amelia Ibarra, Demand Generation and Customer Marketing Manager at BrightFunnel

Earlier this year, MarketingProfs and the Content Marketing Institute published their 2017 B2B Content Marketing report that said 68% of B2B Marketers will use event marketing as a tactic this year. Not only that, but B2B marketers are also likely to use more than 8 different types of content marketing tactics alone, which got us thinking—how can events play a part in impacting your broader marketing strategies?

Marketers are doing a lot these days and the last thing you want to tell your CMO is that you’re not sure how the event you spent $50K has impacted the business or whether it generated a significant ROI. We know that event tracking can be tough, so we’ll run down four actionable ways events can influence your broader marketing strategy.

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1. Lead Generation

An important goal for any event, whether it be an in-person booth at a tradeshow or a virtual webinar, is to generate more leads for your business. The tricky part with events and lead generation is making sure the quality of your leads exceeds the quantity. It’s the age-old predicament for marketers — should you sponsor a booth at a tradeshow to drive a high volume of leads, but possibly settle for lower quality? Or should you use your budget for a smaller dinner that’s limited to just your target accounts?

The best of both worlds would be to host or participate in events that attract your target buyers. How can you do that? First, be sure to identify and agree on an ideal customer profile (ICP) with your sales teams. Once you’ve figured out your target audience on both the lead and account level, it’s best to do some digging and research the various tradeshows that happen annually to see which ones your target companies attend. Look at sponsor logos and ask any B2B partner companies that you’re friendly with to hone in on the events that will yield you both a high quantity and quality of leads.

If lead gen is your main event marketing goal, you can also invest in technologies like predictive marketing to expand on your ICP and identify companies that seem to match your target market. Using expanded audiences, you should sort through your target companies to see which regions or cities have the highest concentration of companies. From there, you can use this intel to plan a dinner or day out with your target audience to drive high-quality leads into your funnel.

2. Customer Engagement, Renewals and Upsells

While generating new leads with events is highly important, engaging your current customers is just as (if not more) important than trying to go after new ones. After all, your customers are the beating heart of your business and your marketing team should help cultivate the best customer experience possible. The good news is that there are a couple of tactics you can use to leverage events for customer engagement.

First, if you’re hosting an ancillary or field event during a larger trade show, like Marketo Summit or Dreamforce, be sure to invite and delight your customers. This tactic has actually worked well in the past for BrightFunnel. In fact, earlier this year we hosted an event called Barbers & Blowouts during Marketo Summit in which we made sure to invite our customers and their CSMs to ensure they had a great experience. By keeping track of which customers attended in our marketing automation platform and CRM, we were able to actually show our CEO that the event impacted customer renewals and some of our customers are still talking about how this event has inspired some of their own marketing. Win, win!

Another way you can use events to influence your customer marketing is to think virtual. While dinners and field events work great during busy tradeshow seasons, you may not always be able to connect with your customers in person, which is where virtual events like webinars can really come into play. A great way to leverage webinars to work for your business is to consider topics that cover information that can be relevant for both your customers and net-new leads. Since you’re already looking for new leads that look like your best customers, it’s likely that you marketing team can come up with topics that work for both audiences. Using this tactic should help drive up registration on your webinars and reinforce best practices with your current customers.

3. Pipeline & Revenue

OK — so this is obviously the big daddy of all the ways event marketing can influence your broader marketing strategy. At the end of the day, your marketing team should internally track how your online and in-person events impacted your business bottom line. How can you do that? By utilizing a multi-touch attribution tool, your event marketer can easily see how much pipeline and revenue your event influenced. Let’s breakdown how multi-touch attribution can help.

First off, let’s say for example that your company exhibited at a tradeshow last year, but when you did a gut-check with your broader sales and marketing teams, they weren’t really sure how this event when for them. If you’re only reporting out first-touch attribution, you might go into your CRM and see that this event didn’t create the amount of leads that you wanted to and didn’t touch any deals before they closed, so this event was a bust, right? Well, think again.

multi-touch attribution and events

In the example above, we show how multi-touch can impact your event marketing metrics. On the left we have the event ROI from a first-touch perspective, which shows we generated 442 net-new leads, but say we had a goal of 500. We would’ve missed the mark and decided not to do this trade show again. The middle graph shows us that from a last-touch perspective, this event didn’t cut it for us either. It sourced $460K of pipeline and 12 opportunities, but if they were all closed-lost, we would again decide not to do this event again.

Now look at the graph on the right which shows the ROI and impact when using multi-touch attribution for this event. We can see that this trade show did impact our broader marketing efforts with $123K of evenly-weighed, influenced pipeline and $16.5K of influenced revenue. Additionally, this event touched 568 leads, 64 opportunities and 3 deals! Without looking at this event from a multi-touch attribution perspective, we probably would’ve said that it didn’t hit our lead goal or touch a deal before it closed, so we might not want to do it again. However, when we look at the impact it had on all the leads in the middle of our funnel — this event had an impact in a big way. With 568 leads touched and actionable intel on how much pipeline and revenue this event influenced, our marketing team can look at this event from a much wider view to see that it had influenced our broader marketing efforts, so we would actually want to do this event again.

If you’re interested in learning more about how events can influence your broader marketing strategies, watch our webinar, Everything You Need to Know About Event Marketing Measurement in 45 Minutes, now on-demand. The webinar covers:

  • Event metrics to track before, during and after an event
  • How event marketing metrics can impact your broader marketing strategy
  • How events can impact your marketing pipeline and revenue
  • Tips for building an increasingly successful event marketing strategy

Watch now!