It goes without saying that there is a consistent struggle with event marketing in the B2B space. Events remain limited due to health concerns and the general attendance is fatigued by excessive product marketing. On top of that, lead generation goals for companies are growing and there’s only so much budget available. Sounds hopeless, right? These are real thoughts present in the day-to-day planning of a demand generation marketer. How can you generate ROI from events when attendance and engagement continues to plummet at B2B events?
This exact challenge is what has sparked the conversation around finding alternative methods to generating event-based leads. The truth is, business events and conferences are still a must-have for tech companies. So, the question remains—if you have to attend events—where could you shift your budget spend so you can get more ROI, without abandoning the idea of event marketing altogether? Let’s explore three alternatives to consider:
Utilizing Post-Event Webinars
Regardless of where your stance is on live B2B events, there’s something to be said for the general buzz and attention they gather in the space. In fact, over 51% of event marketers focus on thought leadership centered around industry trending gatherings. A great use of that trending buzz is to put together a post-event webinar, leveraging the thought leadership built by that specific event’s theme or area of concentration.
Webinars themselves are a great way to keep your audience engaged with what your business is doing from a product perspective, and they’re also a fantastic avenue for thought leadership and brand awareness. Some of the most successful webinars have keywords and phrases within their topics that are top-of-mind with buyers. Why not leverage the keywords that the specific industry event is using?
Balancing Your Budget with Intent Data
Buyer data has turned into an essential tool for demand generation marketers over the past five years. The most efficient form of buyer intelligence comes in the form of intent data. A method in which various points of engagement, decisional tracking, and behavioral analytics are leveraged to filter down to the most prospective buyer; intent data has completely changed how lead generation is optimized.
Now, let’s look at what the goal with event marketing truly is. At the end of the day, you’re trying gauge targeted buyer interest through promotional material about your products and brand. What if all of that could be done in one digital solution, without ever having to leave your desk? That’s the benefit of intent data. And, according to a recent benchmark study we put together, it was apparent that over 60% of B2B marketers plan to leverage intent data in some form in 2022.
An important aspect to the greater intent data discussion falls under predictive analytics. As intent data becomes more commoditized, the need for data granularity grows. Predictive analytics takes the intent data that you gather and enriches it to help point you in the right direction of the buyers who are actively looking to buy. Rather than relying on keyword and search tracking, predictive analytics tracks the actions of your buyers to ensure you’re engaging with the right people, at the right time.
Why Use Marketing Intent Data?
The benefit to utilizing intent data as a supplement to what you’re already doing with event marketing, is somewhat two-fold. First, it helps accelerate your marketing funnel with data about targets that are apt to engage. Second, it helps streamline your marketing engagements, requiring less touch points per conversion. In the end, intent data takes the stress off your marketing budget and provides higher ROI, in turn, requiring less commitment from event leads.
Managing Social Media Marketing
We previously talked about the buzz that centers around industry events and how it can be a key driving factor to the success of your event marketing. However, one thing a lot of demand generation marketers happen to ignore is the overall usefulness of targeted social media marketing. Consider it a great supplement to the event you’re planning on attending, or even a way to replace some of the marketing budget spend.
Successful social media marketing often centers around capturing trends and leveraging them into passive, solution-based pain points. Ideally, you’re having a conversation with your buyer persona around the things they’re interested in talking about and resulting in them buying into who your brand is and how you can help them. That strategy is pretty similar to what we talked about the goal being for event marketing. It’s no coincidence that social media marketing and event marketing have a lot of crossover. What more is LinkedIn than a digital business convention of ideas being shared?
Using targeted social media posts that focus on the key topics of trending industry events is a great way to build timed engagement around your business. Instead of spending tons of money on displays and swag for the next technology event, you can work with a design team to create a really great graphic carousel and pair with conversion heavy copy – then promote that post through organic and paid social methods. That whole process can save you a lot of time and money in the long run and may even prove more successful than a well-designed booth.
The Inconsistent Nature of Event Marketing
There is still a lot of value in live B2B events. Chances are that your company is probably considering going to one next year or is researching how to make them work. However, there’s a lot to be resolved in terms of the future of B2B events and how they affect the marketing funnel and your bottom-line. Regardless of how you cut it, the goal of marketing (event, content, social, etc) is to generate leads that turn into revenue. The alternatives we suggest are a great place to start and can even help make up for unused budget before the year ends.
However you choose to approach event marketing heading into 2022, keeping a lead generation focused mind-set to your strategy will only help you in the long run. If you’re interested in learning more, check out our page on lead generation. You can gather a lot of great insight into various methods of building and accelerating your marketing funnel.
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