2017 has been a defining year for the event industry. Exhibiting at trade shows have become central to marketing strategies and companies are increasingly recognizing the colossal role that events have in driving sales. With events becoming larger and increasingly complex, event marketers are under immense pressure of bringing in leads and closing deals. This has made them sit up and take notice of patterns in the industry to substantiate their approach towards events.

In this blog, we talk about five statistics that event marketers need to pay heed to.

70% of marketers state that lead generation and conversion is the primary objective at events. (Hubspot)

Events essentially put a large number of prospective customers in a single place. But reaching out to these customers is a different question altogether. Event managers have now taken a quantitative approach towards event ROI and event marketers are now being held responsible for the number of leads they convert from these events. Not to mention, considering the enormous investment involved, it becomes imperative that events yield positive results.

Action items:

⇀ Sales teams need to identify lead sources and attribute successful opportunities to these sources. This will help them identify areas of the lead generation strategy that need to be amended to get the most out of the event.

⇀ Sales representatives need to prioritize opportunities that are important to the company and the sales pipeline. They can then put in the efforts to close these deals.

⇀ Any deals that are stuck at a particular stage of the sales cycle need to be flagged. Sales teams can then work on them to identify barriers, address them, and close the deal. These insights can also be proactively included in the briefing notes to ensure that they can be addressed for subsequent deals and events.

Related: 5 insightful B2B sales metrics to keep an eye out for

45% of marketers used events to boost influencer engagement. (eMarketer)

Influencers are the nodes in the network. They come with immense industry knowledge backed by years of experience. A majority of companies know the potential effects influencers have on their target audiences and this has made them step up and create strategies to engage with them. Understanding influencer needs are the first step to reaching out to future customers. By catering these needs, event marketers can not only gain insights into customer behavior and expectation but can help them understand brand content and messages.

Action items:

⇀ The first step in creating an influencer engagement strategy is for event marketers to identify the right influencers and the people they talk to.

⇀ Next, they need to familiarize themselves with the influencer’s business and how often they talk about the topic of their interest. This will tell them how to engage with them online.

⇀ Sufficient online engagement can help marketers ease into relevant conversations with them where objectives and goals can be set. Influencers expect their work to be incentivized.

⇀ Finally, marketers need to ensure that influencers start engaging with them at least a week before the event. This raises awareness about the event and helps them reach out to customers easily.

43% of event attendees believe that the value of 1:1 meetings at events will increase on an annual basis. (Center of Exhibition Industry Research)

Understandably as human beings, customers make buying decisions based on how they personally experience the event. At events, they are scattered all over the exhibitor’s floor. Therefore marketers face the challenge of capturing their attention and reeling them into the sales process. Once this is done, a human touch goes a long way in creating a platform to reach a common understanding

Action items:

Pre-scheduling meetings can go a long way in obtaining meeting confirmations. Further, these interactions can prove productive when detailed agendas are involved.

⇀ Briefing is an important process of increasing meeting productivity. Sales representatives need to be completely informed about what customers are looking for and what they need to do to drive the deal to closure.

Related: Why technology can never replace 1:1 meetings

26% of meetings at events in 2017 will be virtual. (Planning Pod)

Although this statistic contradicts the previous one, it is an interesting statistic to highlight the importance of keeping up with the industry in adapting to technological changes. There are many reasons why virtual meetings are gaining significance; low cost of implementation being the most prominent.

Action items:

⇀ One way event marketers can create an impactful 1:1 meeting is by emphasizing on a collaborative atmosphere. Event marketers need to ensure that meeting participants share their inputs on each part of the agenda.

⇀ Keeping the group small can help create a more intimate understanding of the product and brand. For a virtual meeting, a group of twenty attendees involved in a 30-minute-long conference/video call is ideal for retaining interest and influencing them to consider the product.

⇀ Minutes of the meeting need to be recorded in case attendees missed out on finer details. Another interesting way of doing this is by recording parts of the presentation that are relevant.

54% of event attendees will download a meeting management app (Planning Pod)

There are many things that event marketers need to take care of. They are responsible for everything ranging from scheduling meetings, lead collection, meeting confirmations, and maintaining meeting agendas to accommodating walk-ins and maximizing returns. Event marketers have turned to technology to help with simplifying these processes. A meeting scheduling app can go a long way in merging parts of the process and enhance interactivity. But getting customers to download the app is another challenge altogether.

Action items:

⇀ Event marketers need to brief customers to download the app before the event commences. This ensures that customers have a seamless experience when they need to request or check-in to a meeting.

⇀ Event marketers can use a comprehensive meeting management app that merges functionalities. More often than not, a badge scanner is used to collect lead information. A meeting management app that couples with the badge scanner can directly auto-populate lead information into the CRM interface.

⇀ Further, a meeting management app can integrate with a CRM like Salesforce through which attendees can direct request meetings.

In business, it has often been said that “the numbers don’t lie.” This holds strong especially in the realm of those companies that use events as their primary source of business. The statistics discussed above are telling signs of how important events are to helping marketers reach out to their customers and bring in qualified leads.

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Posted by Vishal Vibhaker

Vishal Vibhaker is a Content Marketer at Jifflenow. A writer by day and a reader by night, he is an amateur photographer and loves trivia.