Tag Archives: Event Marketing

    LiveWorx 2017

    Event Sponsorship: Harnessing Compelling Content Strategy

    Attracting event sponsors is – and will continue to be – a hurdle. Nine out of ten event professionals believe it will be a challenge to secure sponsors for events this year, according to an Eventbrite survey. Nevertheless, there’s no magic bullet for attracting and retaining sponsorship partners. Sponsors are looking to see exactly what every business seeks when measuring the success of marketing efforts: return on investment.

    Event owners who can show a good return on sponsor investment will inevitably have an easier time attracting and retaining sponsors than those who can’t. While this might imply that data measurement, as it relates to sponsorship, is the be-all, end-all, event success in the eyes of sponsorship partners isn’t always a numbers game. Event hosts have to actively drive ROI with an effective, integrated content strategy.

    Technology Meets Strategy

    Sure, it would be nice to draw a straight line between event sponsorship and an impact on a businesses’ bottom line, but these days it’s not so direct. ROI has many different dimensions and identifying what is most valuable for a potential sponsor is crucial. To do that, event owners need a modern, technology-driven content strategy.

    Christopher Powell, chief marketing officer at Commvault, told IDG Communications that organizations – both hosting and sponsoring – can’t expect robust ROI from an event simply because they showed up.

    “You need great content for your events,” Powell said. “Is it relevant for that audience? How are you going to engage them with compelling content?”

    Sponsors want to spread brand awareness, but they also need to offer value to event attendees to kindle relationships. After all, attendees are consumers, so the event should mirror the buying process. Attendees go to events to talk, learn and network. The event owner’s responsibility, therefore, is to facilitate this conversation. And to do that, owners must integrate sponsors into the event’s content strategy.

    What does that integration look like? In most instances, it’s a technology play, including:

    • Digital billboards/apps with content playlists
    • Digitally enhanced presentations and panels
    • Event specific apps
    • Networking receptions and one-to-one meetups

    Specifically, an effective content strategy should leverage responsive technologies such as AI-augmented playlists showing attendee interests, live streaming and captive-audience marketing techniques. Each solution should seek to create opportunities to engage target personas on a personal level.

    Part of the Conversation

    Simply throwing money at tech isn’t going to guarantee ROI. Technology is just the foot in the door: It’s a sophisticated, smart content strategy that’ll position sponsors to fully leverage the power of an event – which in turn will help event owners attract and retain sponsors. The goal is to make the sponsor an integral part of the conversation. Opportunities to position the sponsor at an event beyond lanyards and banners include:

    • Active sponsor participation with main stage content
    • Sponsor-owned fireside chats with exclusive seating
    • Playlists populated by sponsor generated/curated content
    • Branded charging or other resource stations
    • Exhibit floor opportunities

    The goal is to do more than just put up a sponsor banner and hope attendees form positive associations. Sponsors must have a voice in these sessions and opportunities. Weaving sponsors into the content being presented puts the brand value of a sponsor – in the form of knowledge, authority or as a forum for relevant industry conversation – front and center while limiting the “hard sell.”

    The effective employment of content strategy is a universally beneficial affair, making an event that bolsters the bottom line of both sponsors and event hosts. That’s where the tech comes in handy: Technology quantifies opportunity. When event organizers can show robust ROI, they can charge sponsors a premium. Event owners should be able to show that their event represents a highly exclusive marketplace filled with desirable buyers. And nothing is more convincing than hard data. Utilizing data from RFID technology, beacons, event surveys, social media engagements and more demonstrates value in a clear, measurable way.

    Event content needs to be targeted at specific personas.

    Event content needs to be targeted at specific personas.

    Selling Knowledge, Selling the Brand: The Times They Are a Changin’

    B2B marketing has changed a lot in just the past five years, and the crucial lessons of the past don’t hold the water they used to. It’s no longer true that you perfect your product or service, hang out your shingle and wait for the market to find you. Today, sponsors need to sell valuable knowledge to develop brand loyalty and perception, which will in turn drive sales of products and services.

    Like technology, business models change quickly. Twenty years ago, a company could develop a strategy that would carry it well into the next decade. That just isn’t possible in today’s market. Look at Netflix, for instance: Less than a decade ago, Blockbuster was poised to dominate the direct-to-home video market, but a failure to adapt its business model made it all too easy for Netflix to gobble up Blockbuster’s market share. And Netflix didn’t stop there. It went from a content distribution platform to a business that spends upward of $8 billion a year on developing its own content.

    Event owners need to think like Netflix if they want to aid sponsors in accomplishing their goals. Five years ago, a great sponsorship strategy consisted of banners, lanyards and booths – and not much else. That strategy doesn’t cut it anymore. Sponsors need to be integrated into the event’s content strategy so they can educate attendees and foster relationships.

    Mona Charif, CMO at DATA Services, speaking with IDG, noted that organizations have to leave old strategies behind in favor of new methods and technologies.

    “A couple of decades ago, we would take months to research and build a campaign and then put it in market, at an audience,” Charif said. “Now, what we’re doing is more agile development of our content. It’s not so much a campaign as it is content that is meaningful and useful. We develop it with a persona in mind.”

    In other words, event owners and sponsors shouldn’t try to interact with attendees the same way they did five years ago. They can, but someone else is already doing it better. A content strategy that integrates sponsors directly provides multiple opportunities for appealing to attendees – which fosters fruitful, long-lasting partnerships between event owners and sponsors.

    event planning

    Event professionals’ biggest challenges in 2017 & 2018

    Almost 9 in 10 event professionals in the US and Canada believe it will be a challenge this year to secure sponsors for their events, according to a survey from Eventbrite. The results show that many challenges are heightened this year, though budget concerns appear to be dropping.

    Indeed, more than 9 in 10 said that insufficient budgets were among their biggest challenges in 2017, making budgets their largest difficulty overall. Yet this year fewer event professionals expect budgets to be a problem (73% vs. 91% in 2017), putting budgets near the bottom of the list of concerns.

    Instead, more respondents see issues ahead in securing sponsors (89%, up from 83% in 2017) and securing talent and speakers (89%, up from 75%). Marketing and promotion challenges abound, as many also believe it will be challenging this year to reach new (89%) and past (87%) attendees as well as engage in successful branding (80%). Event professionals will be dedicating a large share of their budgets to marketing and promotions in an effort to confront those challenges.

    Events

    LiveWorx PTC

    How Attendees Learn About Events

    Event organizers should pay special attention to viral marketing, argues XING Events in recent research, which finds that attendees are more likely to learn about events from friends and acquaintances (66%) than by any other means.

    Beyond word-of-mouth, both email marketing and search appear to be important for event organizers, as attendees rely on them as informational vehicles:

    • Roughly 6 in 10 learn about events by following recommendations in emails and event newsletters;
    • About half target their search towards specific events they’re familiar with; while more than one-fifth use certain keywords in search engines to search for suitable events.

    While fewer (16%) are using social media to search for events, organizers are looking to ramp up their use of social media marketing, according to an accompanying survey of event organizers.

    Almost two-thirds plan to increase their use of social media in the future, with websites (48%), email marketing (41%) and influencer marketing (33%) also slated for more frequent use.

    How do you learn about events?

     

    How Attendees Learn About Event