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The Offline Buyer’s Journey Part 4: Where Should You Start?

Steven Yellen |

Aventri W.I.N. (What I Need) SeriesWelcome to the new Aventri W.I.N. (What I Need) Series. These multi-part posts will tackle specific topics in-depth and give you the information you need to reinvent your experiential marketing. This is the last installment of the maiden edition of the W.I.N. Series where we talk about The Offline Buyer’s Journey.

We’ve come to the fourth and last part of The Offline Buyer’s Journey Series. If you missed the first three, here’s a quick recap:

  • In Part 1, you learned about the glaring disparity between how marketers are able to track their online marketing and sales funnels with a great amount of detail and how there’s a lack of in-depth tracking for offline events. This is ironic considering that offline events entail more investment in terms of time and money.
  • In Part 2, you received a comprehensive tracking strategy that you can implement. This provides a goldmine of data that you can use to generate actionable insights to get more out of your offline marketing investment.
  • In Part 3, you discovered how to optimize your offline marketing events, match your event content to where your customers are in their buyer’s journey, and how to use real-time data to increase conversions.

Of course, you’re not starting off with a blank slate. So, where do you start in terms of implementing a tracking and optimization strategy for your offline marketing?

The first step is to identify where you are in the offline buyer’s journey maturity curve.

The Offline Buyer’s Journey Maturity Curve

The Offline Buyer’s Journey Maturity Curve

You will find different versions of the maturity curve for different disciplines. After observing and talking to offline marketers, this is the maturity curve that closely reflects how you can progress in terms of tracking and optimizing your offline events.

Let’s go through each stage.

1. No Tracking

It’s hard to believe that companies are spending a significant amount of money on events and do not have the mechanism to track the results they’re getting, isn’t it? However, according to a survey, 43% of marketers are not confident when it comes to their capability in measuring ROI from their offline marketing campaigns. It would be rare to see organizations under this category, but they do exist.

If you’re in this level of the maturity curve, there’s no need to worry. The important thing is you recognize where you are in order to work toward progress.

2. Basic Tracking

Most marketers would probably fall under this category.

In this stage, you likely have basic metrics being tracked such as:

  • # of registrants
  • # of attendees
  • # of leads acquired during the event
  • # of sales made during the event

If you’re at this stage, you could have rudimentary objectives in place that you’re measuring against the metrics above. However, you’re not measuring specific participant behaviors during your event that are leading to the results that you’re seeing.

3. Engagement Tracking

Marketers who are in this phase are already considered intermediate in terms of tracking the offline buyer’s journey.

Aside from the rudimentary metrics above, you are also measuring with considerable depth, specific behaviors. This allows you to answer questions such as:

  • What elements/sessions/booths/talks/attractions during my event received the most attention?
  • What’s the average time that participants are spending in the event?
  • How long are they spending on each booth/session?
  • Which specific event content produced the most number of leads?
  • Which specific event content generated the most number of sales?

Take note, however, this data is not available in real-time. For the most part, this information is used to develop post-event insights that will be used to improve succeeding offline campaigns, but conversion opportunities are lost during the event itself. In addition, this information can be used in support of a multi-touch attribution model which includes offline attributes.

4. Real-Time Tracking

Great use of event real-time tracking technology and knowing what user behaviors to track and measure characterize marketers who are in this stage. At this point, you are already exhibiting a high level of sophistication in being able to move your offline marketing participants further into the offline buyer’s journey.

Investing in mobile event apps is integral for you to reach this stage, which according to the Event App Bible 2018, only 45% of marketers are using.

Think of it as having a control room where you can see anything and everything that your event participants are doing. Imagine “Participant John” as one of your event attendees and being able to track his behavior during your event in great detail:

Diagram highlighting real-time tracking that an attendee takes while at your event

With real-time tracking, you are empowered to make timely actions based on specific user behaviors and strike while the iron is hot.

5. Optimized Events

This is the pinnacle of the maturity curve when it comes to managing the offline buyer’s journey. At this stage, you’re not only tracking and measuring your offline marketing campaigns, but you are also able to produce repeatable results, predict some key behaviors, and project possible outcomes based on data and insights.

More importantly, at this stage, you are able to capture and be relevant to all members of your audience wherever they are in the buyer’s journey — whether they are on the awareness, consideration, and action stage. In one single event, you should be able to convert traffic to prospects, prospects to leads, and leads to paying customers.

How Do You Move from One Stage to the Next?

There is no blanket strategy that can magically catapult marketers from Level 1 to Level 5 of the maturity curve. However, you can use the following general pointers to get started:

Moving from “No Tracking” to “Basic Tracking”

  • The priority is to get into the mindset of tracking, to start incorporating it into your organization’s offline marketing culture
  • Have a set of objectives in place
  • Start with the easiest to track such as the # of registrants and attendees and # of onsite conversions (leads and sales)
  • Make sure to have a dashboard that everyone is reviewing constantly to force you to update your numbers

Moving from “Basic Tracking” to “Engagement Tracking”

  • Ideally, you should already be investing in a technology that allows you to track how event attendees are interacting with the different elements of your event
  • Brainstorm with your team on what behaviors you need/want to track (basic metrics include time spent on each activity, type of queries, etc.)
  • If you’re doing this manually (without technology), make sure you have SOPs in place that your team can use to make sure data is recorded using certain standards

Moving from “Engagement Tracking” to “Real-Time Tracking”

  • Invest in real-time user tracking technology such as wearable beacons
  • Make sure real-time data is integrated with your CRM and sales systems
  • Train your team to spot “hot leads” so they know who to engage and what offer will be most relevant

Moving from “Real-Time Tracking” to “Optimized Events”

  • A clear understanding of what your audience needs based on where they are in the buyer’s journey and proactively designing your events so everyone gets relevant content
  • Similar to how you design your email nurture campaigns, you need to create different event content to cater to different segments and contextualize the event for them

If You’re Not Keeping Score, You’re Just Practicing

That is a famous line by legendary NFL player and coach Vince Lombardi.

The same is true for your offline marketing. If you’re not mapping, tracking, measuring, and optimizing your campaign based on the offline buyer’s journey, you’re losing a huge opportunity to build brand awareness, acquire more marketable leads, and generate more sales.

The Future of Event Marketing_CTA1

This Post was Written by Steven Yellen

Steve Yellen is the vice president of product strategy at Aventri.

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