Tradeshows and similar events have long been essential marketing channels for driving brand awareness and demand. They are especially valuable in new and emerging markets, as well as for businesses selling products with high annual contract values (ACVs).
Event marketers should adopt a cohesive approach to maximize their reach. They should also invest in third-party events, such as speaking opportunities, to further support B2B demand generation campaigns.
In this article, we will explore some of the proven ways event professionals can leverage their demand generation framework. This will help them achieve greater visibility and a better return on investment.
What is the Demand Generation Process?
It is easy to think of demand generation as being all about creating demand for a product or service. After all, that is what the term suggests. However, there is far more to it than that.
A demand generation framework encompasses several crucial areas of sales and marketing. These include any activities that drive long-term customer engagement, including lead capture and sales pipeline acceleration.
Demand generation examples include anything that helps to position your brand as a trusted authority in its industry, generate interest among potential customers and, ultimately, sell your solution. For example, events can create demand, capture leads, and speed up sales.
Demand Generation vs Lead Generation
Lead generation is not the same thing as demand generation. Rather, it is one of the pillars of demand generation. The lead generation process refers to earning the interest of potential customers and adding them to your marketing database before passing them along to sales. This primarily applies in B2B sectors, as well as consumer-facing brands that sell high-value goods and services.
Tradeshows and similar events are powerful marketing channels for driving up demand and generating valuable leads. Here are six proven strategies to try.
1. Extend Your Reach With a Tiered Tradeshow
Tradeshows and other events should generally avoid being too broad in their approach. Rather than trying to satisfy customers across every stage of the buyer journey, they should cater to different segments and stages. For example, you might have a tradeshow to build interest in a completely new market, in which case your audience might include any potential customers. On the other hand, a more exclusive event might only cater to existing customers to build brand advocacy and increase customer lifetime value (CLV).
2. Leverage Brand Advocates to Boost Credibility
In the age of consumer reviews and brand advocacy, businesses are no longer in direct control of their reputations. Because of this, there is simply no better way to build trust and credibility than by leveraging your most satisfied customers. After all, it sounds much better to potential customers when another customer paints your brand in a positive light. Inviting your top brand advocates to present at your events can work wonders for your sales and marketing strategy, particularly in the case of B2B demand generation. You might still need to pay them for their time, but the return on investment can be enormous.
3. Offer a Blend of Virtual and On-site Activities
While the pandemic has put most on-site events on hold for the time being, many people are looking forward to getting back to some semblance of normality. This includes traditional on-site tradeshows, like the world-famous Consumer Electronics Show (CES). That said, virtual event activities have now had more than a year to prove their worth, and they are not likely to be going away in the foreseeable future. By organizing a blend of virtual and, when possible, on-site activities, you can reach a much wider audience and cater to a broader range of needs.
4. Develop an Attendee Follow-up Strategy
One of the most common mistakes event managers make is failing to follow up with attendees after the event. Events are all about building relationships and communities, and those should persist in the longer term too. This must go beyond merely thanking attendees for coming to the event to providing recorded sessions and key insights collected during the activities. It is also important to maintain a strong community using social media and online forums dedicated to upholding the relationships forged during your event.
5. Integrate Events with Your Wider Marketing Strategy
No demand generation event marketing strategy should exist in a bubble. In many industries, events are an essential part of the marketing mix, but they are not the only ones. Your event follow-up plans should cater to the value of each potential buyer, and your sales and marketing teams should have complete visibility into the whole process. For example, either virtual or in-person event booths offer many opportunities to capture leads and measure the interest of a potential customer in your brand. Those hosting the booths can then pass these insights on to sales and marketing teams so they can follow up afterward in the most effective way.
6. Measure Success to Drive Future Planning
Having a large number of attendees is certainly a good sign for evaluating the success of your event, but it is just one of many. After all, headcounts alone do not always equate to business success. You also need ways to measure engagement and interest to know whether the event is truly driving up demand and generating leads. There are many metrics you can track, but here are some of the most useful:
- Social media activity following the event helps you determine whether the event is still generating buzz after it has concluded.
- Post-event surveys give your attendees a chance to give valuable feedback, and this works well for any kind of event, whether it is of the in-person, virtual, or hybrid variety.
- Remember to measure revenue against overhead costs. Key parameters include the anticipated versus actual cost and anticipated revenue versus actual revenue.
You can use an integrated event management platform to keep track of important metrics to help you continuously improve your event marketing strategy.
Aventri helps you maximize the value of your event marketing strategy with a fully integrated omnichannel solution that supports virtual, hybrid, and in-person events. Request a demo now to see how it works.