We belong to a generation characteristic of higher technology consumption and receding attention spans. Event marketing becomes increasingly difficult when your customers and prospects are flooded with meetings and running between venues at an event. Capturing their attention within the first 5-10 minutes of a meeting is crucial. This might seem easier said than done. You will find a lot of noise on the web on event marketing strategies. However, actionable marketing insights tend to be more useful than opinion based content.
In our quest for strategies that can impact the actual sales pipeline, we spoke to multiple event marketers from Fortune 1000 companies. Based on these conversations, we have charted out the 7 key strategies to make your B2B meetings at events more interactive and effective.
1. Planning bulletproof meetings well in advance
The first step to a defining event experience is effective planning. Make your meeting plans bulletproof with smart event management technologies so that they can withstand any changes during the event days. Start planning well in advance. Getting time slots with senior executives isn’t easy. Getting them to attend your meetings can significantly affect the length of the sales cycle as they tend to be the decision makers. Sending out pre-meeting surveys is another useful way of profiling your target customer personas and gathering their requirements. Based on their requirements, match the right subject matter experts. Additionally, prepare yourself for reschedules. Closely track the status of your meetings, RSVPs from attendees and have a contingency plan in place when they are unable to attend.
2. Defining clear objectives and setting the agenda right
Meetings at events are typically used for relationship building and in the process, theres hardly any time left for focus on sales advancement. Marketers should focus more on executing meetings that advance sales. To do this, it is critical to set an agenda and define the objective of the meeting for both internal and external attendees. You may lose out on the driving point of your meeting be keeping objectives ambiguous. Send out the agenda prior to the meeting so that attendees can come prepared. Set time aside for each topic and try n stick to it. Most importantly, end a meeting with concrete action items for each attendee.
3. Picking the right tools
Picking tools can prove to be a challenging task. Rather than using multiple platforms to manage different functions, choose one tool that allows you to manage all meetings across locations, reduces your operational efforts and is easy to onboard. An ideal tool requires less training and enables you to provide a great customer experience.
4) Presenting data in visually appealing formats
The aesthetics of information delivery plays a pivotal role in retaining attention. As mentioned earlier, it is easy to lose a customer’s attention by taking the safe and beaten route. Within conventional boundaries, innovative methods set you apart from the competition and may be the factor that determines if the customer chooses to work with you.
Furthermore, it is important to keep in mind that while presenting cases or examples, statistics and numbers do the talking. Companies work with budgets, so create a pitch by taking a stronghold approach of the ROI angle.
5) Optimize your resources better to generate higher event ROI
It is essential that the booth space or meeting rooms are optimally prepared for the relevant meetings.Venues are usually expensive and owing to the demand that vendors face, it is essential that once booked, the space does not go to waste. Incidents like no-shows and last minute cancellations are bound to occur and event managers need to pay special attention to ensure that the space is being used to the highest possible capacity.
Other resources like staff also need to be managed efficiently. The team working on the event needs to comprise of back ups that are ready to jump in, in case of an emergency. Moreover, make certain that the right personnel are present to answer technical questions that require an SME’s opinion.
6) Encourage interactivity and create a follow-up plan
A successful marketer concludes the meeting with an effective follow-up workflow. Once the discussion concludes, summarize precisely to ensure that the customer retains them while making a calculated decision. Event technologies that integrate with your CRM systems are helpful in streamlining this followup process. The feedback entered into the CRM platform keeps track of pipelines and determine the impact of the meeting. Post-event feedback is just as important. Make sure you know what worked and what didn’t so you can implement changes while planning the next event.
7) Building trust and credibility
Customers look for ventures that let them address as many requirements as possible with a single point of contact. They buy products when they can foresee a long term relationship with the team. Demonstrating the product’s ease of use is one way of building trust. Eliminating manual aspects that lengthen the process of attending the event should be eliminated. An attendee should be able to check in without having to wait in long queues to get into the venue. Nurturing leads by sending them a thank you note and gathering post-event feedback is essential to a successful attendee experience.
Event marketing is too complex a process to simplify in few steps. However, keeping these processes in mind will definitely make the job easier.