Event marketing

Six trends of B2B leaders – Chief Marketer

With events currently on hold worldwide due to the COVID-19 pandemic, now is a great time to study the strategies and tactics of some of the most successful B2B event marketers in the industry. Because when face-to-face engagement has resurfaced and events are thriving again, marketers who have honed their skills in the meantime will benefit. Here is an overview of this Event MarketingThe 2020 Dream Team should stay up to date with the latest trends in B2B event marketing, as well as examples of how businesses continue to engage customers and stay connected through virtual means.

1. Embrace new technologies

Crystal Worthem, head of global brand experiences for Ford Motor Company, believes that the most successful B2B marketers will succeed by embracing change and innovation. Take Ford’s presence at auto shows, which is evolving as consumers seek out new technologies. The brand uses chatbots, operated by product specialists in another room, as part of its activations to engage consumers and answer questions inside real vehicles. It also allows consumers to buy cars on the spot at shows, which represents a change in funnel strategy from previous events.

At Sephora, Jessica Stacey, vice president of public relations and event marketing, uses new technological innovations to improve event programs. Sephora’s “Color IQ” matches foundation, lip, and concealer products for consumers, making product recommendations and shopping easier. Mobile POS technology allows attendees to purchase products in real time at brand events.

On the virtual events front, AI tech company GumGum engaged customers through webinars, virtual happy hours and interactive content. The latter involved using a content platform to create a more engaging experience, choose your own adventure. Computer software provider Cockroach Labs has created a virtual badge analytics that captures website visitors’ contact information on a landing page. In exchange for their email addresses, a small donation to Women Who Code is made, and an even larger donation is pledged on behalf of those who commit to a virtual meeting.

2. Focus on the customer community

Reducing clutter at conferences and events is a huge challenge for B2B event marketers, according to Monica Long, senior vice president of marketing for Ripple. One of the ways his team breaks through the noise is by bringing customers together with those who influence them in thoughtful ways. Lori Ann Pope, Facebook’s vice president of global event marketing, focuses solely on events that bring communities together. Responsible for overseeing events for Facebook’s Global Small Business Group, Pope brings the platform’s tools to life through community events. For example, the brand’s “Boost with Facebook” event series, free in major cities and neighborhoods around the world, provides small businesses with the technology and information needed to compete in the digital economy.

3. Diversity and inclusion

Pope’s events offer content for all user levels, learning styles and abilities, which supports Facebook’s broader mission of diversity and inclusion. One-on-one chats with experts, a Facebook help desk, and digital courses are some of its support tools. Facebook’s Supplier Diversity Initiative identifies and works with diversely-owned businesses, and the brand’s #SheMeansBusiness platform brings together women entrepreneurs who use Facebook and Instagram tools and helps them connect. Likewise, Twitter’s global event marketing manager, Kristine Yapp Jones, works with the brand’s diversity and inclusion division to ensure different communities are represented at the vendors the team engages with for events. And GitHub is something of a specialist in diversity and inclusion at events, from its pump rooms for nursing mothers to its gender-neutral bathrooms to its prayer rooms.

4. New event formats

Kevin Schwoer, senior director of events at Verizon Media, recommends that B2B marketers take the time to organize their guest lists, personalize attendee outreach, and ensure the event space suits them. -even is interesting. Dell Technologies took analysts and press outside the ballroom and onto a real film set during its summit to spice up the experience. Photo ops, a custom drone show, movie props, virtual reality activations, and more engaging attendees in exciting ways. eBay Open, the platform’s annual seller conference, experimented with various formats of casual events between executives and attendees, Q&A-style sessions and regional networking groups to inspire connections.

5. A local approach

Felicia Kaban, Senior Director of Live Events, Johnson & Johnson Vision, has seen success with local programming. Instead of what is usually a free dinner and presentation, Kaban invented The Light Symposium, a series of local events leveraging scavenger hunt tactics to engage eye care professionals through experiences and encourage them to educate patients when they are back in the office.

6. Content Studios

Kaban also believes B2B events can become content creation hubs. His team enabled Insight Studio, where healthcare professionals could schedule a time slot to create content for their own channels that focused on their needs and topics rather than those chosen by Johnson & Johnson. The action positioned the brand as a hub for thought leadership and industry influencers. Dani Sullivan, head of event marketing at Athenahealth, also believes in the power of content in the B2B space. By recruiting industry luminaries to host its events instead of in-house leaders, the brand has established itself as a thought leader by showcasing its expertise within the healthcare industry.

You want to know more ? Here are five networking ideas for B2B event marketers, from carnival-themed activations to app integrations to empowering team leaders. And discover a new on-demand virtual chat with event industry leaders on how to get your event portfolios, teams, budgets and strategies back on track.