Positioning the use of “live events” in the lead or client nurturing process is one of the harder tools to master in B2B marketers’ toolbox. Most marketers struggle with determining the real ROI – and even full cost – of an event versus other tools like digital interactions that are more easily measured.
The 6 Levels of B2B Event Marketing
However, the best way to forge real business relationships often is eyeball-to-eyeball, not click-to-click. Event marketing is alive and well and, by some accounts, at all-time highs.
Here is how savvy marketers think about their events:
Level One: Relationship Builders
These events are geared around social activities such as a corporate suite at a sporting event, a corporate sponsorship at a conference, or special trips or experiences designed to forge client relationships outside the office.
Level Two: Seminars and Training Events
These events are typically designed as education-based events on a subject that clients and potential clients might find interesting. Some companies now use webinars in place of the live event.
Level Three: Exhibits and Tradeshows
Lead generation is the focus of these events. Most exhibits and trade-show undertakings are all about generating multiple leads at the top of the sales funnel.
Level Four: Sales Meetings
These events and meetings are all about internal education, motivation and “internal branding” of a company’s sales force. They try to foster teamwork throughout the company and are typically internally focused.
Level Five: Distributor Events
Educational and relationship-building events for a company’s distributor base can pay off with increased sales and distributor loyalty. These events are typically only open to a company’s current distributors.
Level Six: CEO/Executive Forums
These events are typically geared to current clients and designed to help clients and their service providers connect at the most senior levels.
Improve Event Marketing ROI
Savvy marketers diversify their risk and ROI by cross-purposing each event. A distributor meeting may involve both current distributors and potential new ones. Exhibits and trade shows might target new leads, but current clients are invited to experience the show and enjoy special events designed just for them.
One of the best companies that I’ve worked with that effectively cross-purposed events was a publicly-traded telecommunications company. They designed two-day quarterly meetings at high-end destinations for about 50 people and their spouses. The mix was 50% current clients and 50% prospects that were a good way down the pipeline.
The conference contained the typical exclusive high-end dinners, spa, golf and destination-based events, plus four hours of speeches from the CEO, CIO and usually an outside celebrity or expert. The group also was able to see and play with future technology and solutions. The company spent about $1 million per year on the event but closed from $140 million-$260 million of new or incremental business each year.
Rubbing elbows with CEO who cares is a powerful closing tool!
Image credit: HowStuffWorks.com