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There are only so many branded lanyards, T-shirts, or travel mugs a business contact needs. [insert hypeman yelling “Facts”]. Event marketing instead builds awareness, promotes sales, and fosters loyalty in a more personal, immediate context — through intentionally designed experiences. [again with the hypeman saying “Facts”]. The only way that paragraph works is if you can imagine me saying that on stage with my hypeman yelling “facts” after each sentence. Moving on.

59% of B2B marketers never charge for their events — Hubspot

What is Event Marketing?

Event marketing sees the business coming up with creative ways to engage its audience in an immersive experience. Methods can vary, but marketers start out by designing a concept driven by strategic analysis of data about what the customer needs and a clear vision of the brand value message.

Measurements of success vary. For instance, event marketing automation company Certain found many businesses declared success when registrations increased (32.6%) while 27.62% measured event success by new leads. Improved satisfaction scores and boosted brand awareness could see event marketing deemed successful.

65% of people think live events help them understand a product — Event Marketing Institute

What B2B Event Marketing Looks Like

Effective event marketing is relevant to the target audience and the event’s context. Some examples I’ve activated for clients:

  • Setting up a run clinic on a college campus to encourage students to try new athletic footwear and enroll in an activity tracking program
  • Hosting a sales tour offering hands-on training sessions for electronic devices in various customer contexts, followed by a sales rep-sponsored cocktail hour
  • Making a game of product training participation by tracking points in competitions between sales regions and individuals attending an industry conference
  • Promoting an energy drink by offering refreshment at an expert-led stretching session post-race
  • Reinforcing a brand’s security focus by hosting device training within a bank vault
  • Organizing a conference with clients sharing success stories alongside new product release events to provide relevant content to the audience while letting a sales team make in-person contact with attendees.

Using creative, relevant experiences, B2B event marketing is face-to-face marketing at its best. Instead of trying to write content that stands out in a crowded inbox or stuffed social media stream, B2B event marketing meets the customer and client where they already are.

Effective event marketing can also have a snowball effect as:

  • Businesses post anticipatory messages on social media, followed by invitations, and then images, videos and participant quotes from the events.
  • Customers share their experience on social media using the branded hashtag. In fact, an estimated 49% of attendees at branded events make their own videos of the experience to share on social media, according to the Event Marketing Institute.

Why do B2B Event Marketing?

The same reason you do any marketing — to connect with leads and strengthen your relationship with existing customers. Engaging with your audience through event marketing can help a business bring in buyers, educate the audience and demonstrate thought leadership while also enhancing customer retention, encouraging upsells, and boosting brand advocacy.

Your goal should be to immerse clients and customers in a real-world experience — make it an event.