Attendees today are hungry for captivating events and are open to experiencing them in new ways. They are ready for marketers to elevate the traditional meaning of events as long as it is still convenient for them to access.
Meanwhile, marketers and business owners require a good reason to expand their pool of tactics. They need to address concerns such as cost, fear, unsatisfactory event ROI and lack of ability to quantitatively analyze performance. “Event-led growth” can be used at each stage of the customer journey to create the memorable experiences customers crave while delivering on business value and minimizing risk.
Unlock the Potential for Events
Event-led growth is about making events a core part of the business strategy. It is a long-term plan to designed to enhance revenue streams and create customer loyalty.
Progressive brands know events don’t have to be three to four hours long and that conversation should be prioritized. A truly successful event is a combination of connection, community, collaboration, relationships and amplification. Here is how each one of these components plays a role:
- Connecting: Events help source new prospects and source valuable feedback about your products and the challenges your customers are facing.
- Community: Using events to create a sense of community can help to differentiate you from your competitors.
- Collaborating: Events create an environment where people can learn about your brand and product, meet others and share their experiences.
- Relationships: Events are terrific at helping you truly focus on relationship building. Developing deeper connections with clients and customers will help retain them and in turn increase ROI.
- Amplification: The impact goes beyond the event itself. You can leverage the content you develop and amplify it through digital content marketing after it’s over.
According to Forrester’s Q3 2021 B2B Enterprise Marketing Events Trends Survey, “Hybrid events will become the dominant form of events in 2022 and beyond.” The survey found that 62% agree that events will become more important in the marketing mix.
Where to Begin
The first thing to tackle before embarking on your event-led growth strategy is to rethink what the term “event” means. Events don’t have to be planned years in advance, take the collaboration of dozens of people or eat up the entire marketing budget.
It’s time to reimagine what it looks like to make connections and who those connections can be with throughout the year. The term “event” is truly boundless in 2022. Building a strategy behind these effortless connections is the first step towards long-term growth and success. So, let’s dive in.
The use of virtual, hybrid and in-person events is the key to long-term, event-led growth. Virtual trends have been rising over the last few years as an extension of a trend that started pre-pandemic. Recent data shows that virtual is proving to be an enduring event trend. A major benefit of this model is accessibility, affordability and access to a wide range of analytics. Data collection has been a powerful tool to connect with attendees in a way that’s never been done before.
Events are more than just about the moment itself, the key to event-led growth is continuing the conversation afterward. Make attendees the center of attention during the event and utilize post-event resources as an effective way to sustain a buzz following the event. Resources can be anything from exclusive content to raffle prizes, small gifts or invitations to another exclusive gathering. Each event should tie into the next, creating a continuous event cycle that keeps attendees waiting and wanting more.
Despite obvious pandemic setbacks, personalized, immersive experiences have been the gold standard for events—in-person, virtual, hybrid event or otherwise. This is where collected insights and analytics can be put to the test. Using customer feedback and engagement metrics to determine what event comes next is a great way to demonstrate you’re hosting an event for your customers, not for you.
Read More: 8 Engagement Tips for Your Next Hybrid Event
Some engaging event formats include product use-case workshops, annual conferences and product launch events. During each, work to understand how members interact and engage in these different event settings. From there, elevate the experience based on the findings to keep engagement levels high.
When we think about event-led growth it doesn’t stop with the event itself. Slack, social media, blog posts, questionnaires and more are all part of the equation. Communication remains the most vital component of event engagement and to truly connect with your audiences you need to consistently be where they are.
If you are hosting a hybrid event, utilize customers as volunteers and give them incentives to pitch in. Have them become a part of the event, not just an attendee. Taking into consideration their part in your brand growth strategy will lead to your brand’s success.
Growth is the ultimate goal. Relationship-building activities like events can dramatically help to increase interaction with your company. When it comes to event positioning, it has to be less about ‘the sale’ and more about working together, connecting and developing relationships. In the end, success will follow. Showing up for customers without any expectations is what truly fosters a sense of brand affinity and longevity.
Using event-led growth to build your business showcases how much a brand wants to connect with its customers. There will always be a trial-and-error component when attempting new things and this is no exception. Making attendees the center of attention is the most important part of your strategy.
It’s time to start bringing immersive engagement and a sense of belonging to all events that allow attendees to feel seen. Host a variety of in-person, virtual, and hybrid events throughout the year for different audiences and outcomes. Amplify event content and continue the conversation to keep that customer’s journey a never-ending part of your strategy and your story.
As Chief Marketing Officer of event-led engagement platform, Airmeet, Mark Kilens leads a global team of marketing professionals who are working to advance the event-led growth movement across the B2B events category. For more information head to airmeet.com.