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B2B marketing for live events

Successful B2B marketing today involves making effective use of multiple channels. Internet marketing tactics and in-person events can be utilized cohesively to reach lead generation and conversion goals. However, multichannel marketing requires a certain level of strategic planning. Companies must thoroughly map out what they wish to achieve through these efforts and how they'll track progress.

Marketers want greater ROI from event marketing
According to MarketingProfs, a recent study from the Association of National Advertisers found that marketers may not be seeing the results they want from sponsorship and event marketing. The ANA surveyed 78 marketing professionals about their opinions on the effectiveness of sponsoring live happenings – like sports, entertainment and nonprofit events – and in-person initiatives aimed at placing potential clients in direct contact with the brand. Sixty-two percent reported being at least somewhat satisfied with the return on investment in such tactics, while 16 percent said they're very satisfied and only 4 percent are completely satisfied.

While these figures may not be extremely impressive, they are up from those found in a similar study conducted in 2010, suggesting businesses are improving their sponsorship and other live-event strategies. According to MarketingProfs, other findings from the ANA's survey include:

  • Less than half of marketers surveyed have a defined process to measure sponsorship and event marketing results.
  • Three-quarters gather, analyze and act on data to for event and sponsorship decision-making.
  • 70 percent said their organizations' need to validate results has risen in the past two years.
  • 3 in 5 marketers have a dedicated budget for these initiatives, up from 2 in 5 three years ago.

6 tips for an improved event marketing strategy
As the demand for a clear ROI on event marketing initiatives increases, B2B organizations may consider reevaluating how they envision, plan, carry out and measure these efforts. Here are six tips on getting the most out of sponsorships, participation in trade shows and company-hosted gatherings:

  1. Make a marketing calendar: Effective planning is at the heart of any B2B marketing initiative, and having a calendar allows organizations to capitalize on every opportunity to reach potential clients. Depending on the event type, the business should decide how early marketing initiatives need to kick off – whether it be months or weeks in advance. From there, businesses can coordinate message-sending across email, social media, website content marketing and other channels.
  2. Use channels to their fullest potential: While it's important that brands spread a consistent message via all platforms, sharing information in ways that engage users may require diversifying content presentation. For example, spreading the word about an event via LinkedIn and Twitter should be approached differently. Tweeting an intriguing fact or statistic pertaining to the event and linking to its Web page can be effective, while on LinkedIn, posts can be more fleshed out.
  3. Approach the event from different angles: Speak to the unique interests of audience members by highlighting different elements about the event in various promotional messages. While an initial invitation may introduce the trade show or product launch, reminder messages can profile speakers, nuance the theme of the event and explain the takeaways attendees will benefit from.
  4. Use the best metrics: The ANA's study found that media exposure and social network traffic are the top measures marketers use to determine ROI and return on objectives. Other metrics respondents reported using heavily include brand awareness and lift. These and website analytics are strong measures, but just monitoring won't accomplish much. It's important to develop actionable insight from data gathered.
  5. Collect information: Because live events are great lead generation opportunities, brands should collect contact information from attendees, as well any other data that may provide insight into what type of marketing messages individual prospects may respond to.
Sheila Kloefkorn

With more than 25 years of hands on marketing strategy and operations experience, Sheila Kloefkorn is dedicated to developing marketing strategies and plans that help clients succeed. Some of the world's largest brands have depended on Sheila for marketing programs that delivered tangible and substantial results. Specialties: B2B marketing, lead generation, lead nurturing, sales strategy, marketing strategy, competitive marketing strategy, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), mobile marketing, email marketing, website design, marketing plans.