This post was originally published on Attend by Event Farm's blog and was written by Garrett Huddy.
The world of online marketing becomes more crowded every day. With the vast majority of marketing taking place online for every type of business, the average person is being marketed to via email, ads, direct messages, and other online channels—and it all starts to become noise. For B2B marketers, the deluge of online marketing messages bombarding the average person on a daily basis reduces the impact of even our best marketing campaigns. One of the biggest advantages of hosting a live event is the ability to cut through this online noise to successfully reach your audience.
Marketers are starting to realize the importance of in-person the events as much more than just a way to generate leads and boost brand awareness. Sanjay Dholakia, CMO at Marketo, was recently asked what he thinks is driving this rise in the relevance of marketing events today. “There’s so much information online today that you can’t blast your way through it anymore,” he said. “In this crazy digital, mobile, social world, we now have infinite channels, so there’s much more noise. It’s hard to get the signal through.” It's clear that events are an effective way to "get the signal through" and reach your target audience.
Here are 4 ways that live events can help B2B marketers cut through the online marketing noise:
1. Events get your message across without distraction.
We’re all suffering from content overload, and it's difficult to make your content standout. Marketo’s CMO believes that "great content plus great energy plus emotional impact" is the only way to connect with your audience.
Your online content—like whitepapers, blogs, webinars, and infographics—may be excellent, but the endless amount of digital distractions can prevent your audience from fully absorbing or ever hearing your message. When was the last time you read all the way through a company’s whitepaper without checking your email, Twitter feed, or Slack messages?
Events are different. Your attendees made the effort to register and show up, so they're already far more engaged than the average online lead. That means you have a huge opportunity to deliver content that aligns with your message to an audience that's actually paying attention. Sure, your attendees may still be checking Twitter during your event, but that’s okay. That means they are more likely to be tweeting about your event and the information you're presenting!
2. Events build relationships and community.
In-person events provide more than the opportunity for you to present your content to an engaged audience. They allow you to bring like-minded people together to learn and connect in a way that isn’t possible online.
For companies with a thriving online community, events provide the chance to bring those community members face-to-face to strengthen relationships. If your company doesn’t have a big online community, events like user groups, customer events, and roadshows are a great way to start building one.
In his conversation on events, Marketo’s CMO Sanjay Dholakia said, “It’s no longer about lower cost, the best product, or the biggest brand. The basis now is: Who’s got the relationships? That’s where the physical engagement is really important and powerful.”
Chris Cavanaugh, CMO of Freeman (an event production company) says that “live experiences are gaining a bigger share of the pie because they draw on the basic needs of us as humans to connect and socialize.”
3. Events accelerate the sales process.
A well-executed event combines website visits, email, content, and sales meetings into a shorter timeframe. All of these event touchpoints help move top-of-funnel leads down the funnel more quickly than you standard path of online engagement.
Ask any salesperson and they will agree: meeting face-to-face helps close deals. For existing sales opportunities, an event can be the catalyst to close the deal. Events are ideal for moving opportunities forward that are stuck in any stage for your sales cycle. Events also give your prospects the chance to connect with your customers for candid references.
To succeed, marketing requires your audience to take action and engage. That action can’t be forced and the constant stream of digital content at our fingertips gives us the ability to think, “I’ll get to that later.” The truth is that we rarely get back to it. Even if your prospects really want to get back to that relevant and insightful eBook you emailed them, most of them won’t.
Events can’t be saved for later. By their nature, they require action within a certain timeframe without resorting to age-old marketing tactics like “limited time offer!” Events require action for a legitimate reason. If you don’t take action, you will miss the event.
4. Events amplify your the rest of your marketing.
Events have the power to break through the noise of the online world. Beyond that, they make your own online marketing more powerful. Using events as a strategic point in the buying cycle makes your online messaging stick. When your event’s content integrates with a larger digital marketing campaign, it makes that content more memorable.
Freeman’s CMO, Chris Cavanaugh, believes that marketers shouldn’t think of events as isolated from the rest of marketing and sales efforts. Instead, events should be viewed as “flash points” that help companies amplify the messaging that is engaging the same audience on other channels. The biggest challenge for marketers planning events is integrating the online and offline messaging to create a holistic marketing mix where all of the brand components help cross-sell and upsell each other.
The goal should be to take a holistic approach to the entire marketing mix where all of the tactics and channels help each other. This goes beyond just marketing. There are multiple other internal teams that should be involved with your event strategy. While events are the perfect capstone to an integrated marketing campaign, what happens before and after that event is just as critical to your success.
“So how are you talking to them the rest of the year?” Cavanaugh asks. “How are you talking with them online, and then how can we use that dialogue with your audience at events? So it’s thinking about it programmatically, more holistically. Think about events as one more marketing tool.”
Want more tips for how to plan successful marketing events? Check out our eBook, The Ultimate Guide to Successful Events.
Event pros, how are your events boosting your organization's marketing and sales efforts? Let us know in the comments below, or tweet us @eventfarm!