In a recent article on event strategy, we laid out the four critical elements of an event strategy: planning, executing, engaging and improving. Today, we’ve asked a VP of Marketing to give his take on event planning. How does a marketing leader develop an event strategy?
These are excerpts from our weekly podcast with Vince Koehler from SBI.
How to Align Event Strategy to Marketing Strategy
An event strategy is aligned with a marketing strategy when it consistently drives opportunities. Marketing leaders are responsible for contributing some percentage of total opportunities for sales. There are many ways to generate these opportunities. Many companies are relying on online sources to drive their revenue. But Vince points out “when everyone zigs, it’s a chance to zag.” Great events are an important tactic for creating opportunities. They rely on belly to belly engagement, which is powerful. His method:
- Identify where your target audience is geographically
- Plan intimate events and roadshows in cities where your audience is located
- Convert your followers into attendees to drive 1:1 interactions with your team
- Convert those warm relationships into opportunity
Event Strategy Goal Setting
According to Vince, there are three KPIs for measuring effectiveness of an event strategy:
- Event attendees
- Referrals per event
- Opportunities sourced per event
Total attendees is always a great start to understanding your events. Are the themes and topics relevant? Are we driving awareness effectively? To get more focused, a lead generation team should focus on driving event attendees. Setting goals for BDRs and LDRs to drive referrals ensures the right personas attend. Then, it is up to the onsite team to convert those quality personas into opportunities. All three together ensure your events are effective revenue generators.
Designing the Attendee Experience
SBI has an executive briefing center in Dallas. Here, they host many events every week for customers, prospects and peers. Vince is focused on creating an intimate experience that sets itself apart. He says: “It starts with how they’re invited. How they’re confirmed. How they feel like they’re being heard as you customize the agenda. How to make it easy for them to engage. How to book transportation and cover the logistical planning details. Simply, are we going to be easy to deal with?”
To keep it simple, here are a few attendee experience best practices:
- Map out all the touchpoints
- Build a client engagement team focused on each touchpoint
- Leverage event technology to automate the touchpoint mapping
Event Management Success Indicators
One thing that stands out in Vince’s approach is campaign planning around each event. Before any event, Vince has to understand the goal of the event. In some cases, it’s get as many people in a room as possible. In others, it’s about getting one buyer to make a decision. Here are few possible ways to leverage events:
- Drive awareness to a large audience
- Generate RSVPs, and set up 1:1 appointments with those that do not attend
- Unstick or speed up active opportunities
- Get clients to buy more
On a final note, Vince points out is around marketing attribution. Depending on whether you measure first, last or at multiple touch points, your event tactics will change.
We appreciate Vince joining our podcast and contributing to event thought leadership. He sums it up nicely when he says, “Most of the innovation we see comes after failure.” Take a new approach to your event planning this year, let us know how it goes.
For more information, download Episode 2 of the etouches Affinity Podcast.