For most B2B companies, event and trade show marketing is an invaluable tool. Even while digital marketing continues to pummel traditional marketing in terms of budget allocation, events make up for roughly 24% of the B2B marketing budget [Event Marketing 2019: Benchmarks & Trends Report]. As a digital marketing agency, we agree that digital marketing is not a substitute for trade shows and other events. Here’s why:
But while digital marketing can never replace event marketing for your business, it can greatly enhance the overall performance and ROI of your event strategies. Indeed, digital marketing should be playing a supporting role in all of your marketing strategies — not just events. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
How digital marketing tactics can increase your event marketing ROI will depend on your market and your current event strategies, but here are three examples of digital strategies you can use to make a greater impact at the next event or trade show you plan to attend or sponsor:
One of the best ways to use digital marketing in your event strategy is to develop a list of prospects who will be attending the event and begin nurturing that list with a more accounts-based approach. How you build that list will depend on the event. It’s easier to get a list of vendors who will be at a trade show than it is to get a list of the attendees (unless you’re a sponsor or organizer). But once you have the list in hand, here are a few of the tactics we’ve used to great success in our own event strategies:
It’s very common to see the biggest ad placements and sponsorships belonging to larger companies. Those positions cost a significant amount of money. For the large company, sponsorships and ad buys represent an opportunity to maintain status in the industry and stay top of mind, but SMBs have more to gain from that kind of attention, especially if any of these factors are true for you:
But committing to a sponsorship or large ad buy isn’t enough to be effective. You also need to be aligning your other marketing activities — especially digital marketing — with that event messaging. The goal of this strategy is to make a splash – to cause a disruption – but not to be a flash in the pan. Here are the digital marketing strategies you need to be aligning with your event messaging:
When it comes to the event itself, you’re going to be busy talking to attendees and making sure your message is getting across, but don’t leave the rest of your audience who couldn’t attend in the dark about what you’re up to. Events are a great opportunity for tools like live video or Facebook and Instagram Stories to reach your at-home audience.
You can combine this strategy with the others as well and make a live stream at a pre-set time something that you promote prior to the event. These live streams could be a presentation, a demo, or just a Q&A opportunity. If your company is regularly publishing serial or episodic content, like podcasts or webinars, you could plan to record and stream something live from your booth. This can serve as a magnet at the event as well as a valuable piece of content for continued lead nurturing.
The temptation with all of these innovative tactics will be to think that you’re too small to justify bringing this kind of attention to yourself at events. The truth, however, is that you can enjoy a substantial ROI from even the most expensive of these strategies by simply staying hyper-focused on the one thing that makes you the most valuable partner in the room.
But, if you hope to succeed, preparation is key:
For B2B companies who want to get more out of their event strategies, Waypost wants to talk with you about how we can come alongside your business and introduce fresh digital marketing tactics and innovative technologies into your existing marketing and sales processes. We want to show you the work we’ve been doing to help companies like yours become more efficient and effective at generating leads, increasing revenue, and managing sales growth.