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How should events fit into a brand’s wider marketing strategy?



Marketers use a variety of channels in their multichannel campaigns. Email takes the lead used by 9 in 10, social media marketing at a similar level (84%) with events (71%), display advertising (56%) and search/PPC (48%) most commonly used.

At the top of the list, it’s clear how email and social marketing provides far greater, almost limitless audience reach and we’ve explored in a previous blog why more than half of marketers continue to express difficulty in demonstrating events ROI.

And yet events seem well placed.

In fact, placed third and so evident that events are an effective channel at reaching audiences. A closer look at the detail shows that attempting to reach a specific target audience, events are far better placed than other channels.

Demand Metric’s study [June 2020] reveals that of 580 professionals surveyed, 82% of respondents label events as the most effective channel at reaching target audiences.

And when looking at the most frequently targeted B2B audiences, events continue to outperform other channels. With C-Suite infamously the hardest to reach, 71% of respondents report that events reach the C-Suite audience very well. A staggering 81% report events as the most effective channel reaching End User audiences, 83% for Technical audiences, 82% for Sales/Marketing audiences and 66% for Financial/Purchasing audiences.

And so, alongside general opinion that traditional marketing methods alone fail to reach hearts and minds, that consumers/businesses are seeking more in-depth and intimate experiences with brands blah blah blah...we have data that suggests events are highly effective at reaching specific targeted audiences.

As marketers plan to incorporate events [virtual, online and face to face] into their strategy, consider how the traditional marketing funnel with broad lead generation/awareness at the top and more focused sales intent and purchase at the bottom provides a valuable guide.

In simple terms, the size or frequency of events might mimic the marketing funnel.

Events specifically setting out to raise brand awareness and generate demand e.g. conferences, road shows, trade shows and product launches might more effectively accommodate multiple audiences and cover a wider geography. Events designed to nurture audiences or appeal to a targeted audience groups e.g. seminars, round tables and networking events will benefit from providing a more exclusive and personal experience for attendees.

Benchmark B2B events such as Dell Technologies World demonstrate how an event is capable of reaching all targeted audiences effectively and concurrently. It does so by forensically mapping the customer journey from awareness through to intent and purchase and creating a relatable event content programme year on year.

But Dell Technologies World 2021 will be delivered virtually.

How does the restrictions placed upon in-person events affect events in the wider marketing strategy?

A 2016 report by the Content Marketing Institute in North America revealed that 75% of content marketers found in-person events to be the most effective content marketing strategy.

I wonder how this has changed.

In a wonderfully honest and frank interview, Bonny Shapira Cisco Live event lead recently shared that until this year, broadcast of Cisco Live content had never been a key focus save for select keynote sessions and World of Solutions content but in 2021, Cisco Live will for the first time in almost 30 years, be virtual.

Events are still relevant.

Content is still relevant. It’s just the platform that’s changed.

And so, marketers have an opportunity now to use rich event content/editorial and consolidate into wider more cohesive marketing campaigns across email, direct mail, social, display advertising and content syndication.

The entire marketing landscape is learning how to best navigate virtual events for the foreseeable future. Undoubtedly this places a question around the relevance of events in a wider strategy just now but as we emerge, marketers must work closely with their agencies to develop new engagement channels to target specific audiences effectively over prioritising ways to return to in-person events.

Throughout Spring/Summer 2020, Ten Thousand Hours has led strategic and creative reviews of client event programmes and reimagined as online game technologies generating qualified leads, comedy film shorts to raise awareness and animation content to engage employees across the globe.

If you would like to discuss your marketing event plans, whether online, virtual or face to face, in a free 60 minute consultation, contact martin@tenthousandhours.agency or ideas@tenthousandhours.agency

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