It’s no secret that marketers are responsible for contributing to the revenue line. We’re responsible for this outcome even in an era when we have less control over how customers locate and interact with our brands.
We’re not driving the buying process anymore.
Customers are at the wheel, researching and acquiring the information and opinions they need, right online and through their social networks. They can move themselves pretty far along the buying process before they ever even talk to us. Some studies, including one by Forrester Research, suggest buyers will get themselves as far as 60-90% through the process before reaching out to a sales rep.
The challenge for marketers then, is to enable this process and still accelerate revenue. To do so we really have to meet these buyers where they are, and give them the education they need to move themselves along.
In the context of this marketing challenge, events (such as conferences, seminars, user groups, and more) present a significant opportunity.
Unlike any other marketing channel, events let brands get closer to customers, understand who they are, and create connections among people so that our prospects and buyers can get the information they find most valuable. They also let us get our existing customers out of their day to day business; immersing them in our brand and messaging, to get them excited about promoting our products in their own networks.
Events, if executed well, can take a buyer through their buying process faster and create enthusiastic promoters of our brands.
It’s time to realize the promise of events.
The promise of events as significant revenue generators has not yet been realized. We continue to rely on anecdotal and non-revenue-based evidence of event success. Number of attendees, number of cards in the fish bowl, attendee satisfaction surveys… these measures just aren’t enough anymore.
Yet when you look at the data amassed from a single conference, for example, you begin to see the missed opportunity. Beginning with event registration, attendee preferences, and session signups captured early on. Moving onto pre-event conversations in social, event website visits, session signups, appointment scheduling via the event mobile app. At the event, mobile and social participation, session content downloads, successful meetings, interactions with sales reps. Post-event relationships that result in social reactions and conversations, website visits, sales outreach, and sign-ups for next year’s event.
Every one of these behaviors and data points has the potential to be tracked back to an individual attendee.
Considering the significant level of investment that goes into event production and marketing, we have to be better about using the data amassed from the event process to drive revenue. Instead of puzzling together various point solutions to simply get through the basics of event logistics and spend management, we need to fully digitize events and bring them on par with other demand- and revenue-generating marketing channels.
Today’s event technology is up to the task.
This ain’t your mother’s event management software. Event technology has evolved. As marketers, we now have the ability to play a more active role in driving demand gen and revenue by delivering a more engaging and personalized attendee experience and tying those experiences to existing marketing automation and CRM systems to enhance profile information.
With a fully integrated platform we can learn more about our attendees and their preferences, discover who they’re meeting with, recommend relevant content, and capture interactions to drive meaningful sales follow ups.
Just as we have made significant advances with automation, personalization, and CRM technologies across other marketing channels, we can do the same with events.