“Content is King”: How to make it work at events
July 16, 2015 | Guest Post
By Michelle Schofield – Director of Partner Alliances and Marketing, Certain
Data-driven marketers today are struggling with how to capture new qualified leads and, most importantly, how to convert those leads into meaningful pipeline revenue.
As marketers, we’ve gone through our bag of tricks to generate new prospects that will result in buyers, using every vehicle available to us – including webinars, emails, ad campaigns, and social. The key to all our lead generation efforts is the content we create to drive education and interest in order to meet the needs of our prospective buyers.
We’ve all heard it – and adopted the mantra – “Content is King”. But we’re missing the boat in one key area: the blending of content and events to drive more impactful engagements. In general, there is a chasm between traditional digital marketing activities and the world of events. Events provide a rare opportunity for face-to-face interactions that simply are not possible with other digital marketing activities. But today, without event management tools, marketers simply don’t have the means to gather that rich personalized data from these face-to-face meetings at events and blend that data into their other marketing programs.
There are a few key questions to ask yourself before your event even begins:
- How will you convert the leads from your event?
- What plans, processes, and actions will you put into place throughout the event lifecycle to personalize the event and bring value to attendees?
- What will you plan to do and what content will you need onsite- day one, week one, day 30 and ongoing to nurture and convert your leads?
Since marketers have defined events as the number one most effective tactic for B2B marketing, what would our events look like if we could use our “Content is King” rule and leverage content to engage our prospects throughout the event lifecycle?
Pre-event: Get to know your audience
Event attendees are looking to derive as much value as possible from an event. They have allocated budget and spent their time to be at the event in the hopes of finding the exact knowledge and interactions they need. As a result, prospects begin to share their interests with you early on in the registration process. This information provides great insight into attendees and allows marketers to begin to segment audience types and customize outreach before the event even begins.
Marketers can combine the registration process and interactive content to gather information on session topics of interest, and suggest topics and tracks that align with those interests. Mobile can also play a big role in personalizing the experience specifically by providing tailored views and access to interact with like-minded individuals.
On-site: Track and personalize your interactions
As attendees move through an event, there are numerous ways to interact with them, gather their interest and guide them to additional event activities, sessions, and topics – expanding your influence along the way. You can get to know your attendees and build out their profiles by capturing sessions attended, responses to polls at those sessions, and level of engagement through social posts and amplification across their community.
By capturing this level of information, you can target content to individuals right at the show. Leverage interaction at your booth and other areas to engage prospects by emailing interactive content to further engagement and move these leads along the buying process. Additionally, you can capture interest through your social channels by live-tweeting session and speaker highlights to your followers.
Drive sales in real time
Now that you know an attendee’s interests and the sessions they attended, you can use this data to personalize the event experience and send real-time messages suggesting other tracks they may wish to attend. This process can help promote cross-sell and upsell opportunities by recommending other products that may complement their areas of interests.
Use this opportunity to bring in sales teams to help move the attendees along the buying cycle, in real-time, as they have face-to-face meetings. Detailed insight into attendee behaviors and preferences will provide you as marketers the ability to predict where they are in the buying cycle for meaningful follow-up post event.
Post-event: Follow-up & bringing it all together
Because we are all data-driven marketers, now is the time to really spin up your conversion implementation plan. You’ve already started working towards increasing your engagement with your prospects before the event and further personalizing your engagement at the event, and along the way interactive content has been key to engaging individuals in order to identify the potential buyers from the mass of unqualified leads.
With all your data in your marketing automation system, you are now armed to segment and nurture your top prospects through the buying cycle with personalized engagement. Content is now targeted to the individual’s interests and sales is fully enabled to interact with these prospects because they have insight into the actions and interests of the buyer.
As a result, event data is brought into the digital marketing world, there is a huge improvement in marketing and sales follow-up – shortening the sales cycle and driving greater revenue.