There are many examples of Event-based Marketing in business to business sectors.
You probably already have a rich variety of events and activities that you take part in. This may include networking breakfasts, monthly special interest meetings after work, exhibitions, trade fairs and many more. Your marketing and sales plan probably has many diarised events in it.
And your buyers will most likely have events and activities that they attend. Some will be to network with their peers in their industry, to stay in touch, learn and maybe gain CPD credits. Some will be specific to purchases that they want to research and made. They too probably have milestones in the way they run their business, and their procurement.
However, as the way buyers can research options, and as their procurement strategies and tools evolve, so too the marketing and sales techniques should be reviewed and updated.
Scan through these strategies, techniques and tips below and see what you can pick out to improve on what you are currently doing.
Event-driven or Event-based Marketing and Lead Generation
There are many types of events and activities in the marketing and sales funnel. Viewing your sales activity and your buyers purchase activity as a series of steps or events can be very helpful.
Events create a focal point. And through repetition it’s likely that you’ll see improvements in results. Trialing new events is useful. But repeating successful events generates long-term results.
Networking meetings, speaking engagements and running training courses are part of the Wurlwind event-based marketing schedule, to generate leads and to maintain and grow customer relationships.
A solid events schedule is also very useful to steer prospects towards. For example, some may have a 1:1 web meeting.Others are not yet ready and so an invitation to a small group webinar works well. It reduces their commitment but also is a great way to impart information and background sales activity on a one to many (1:many) basis.
Review your event-based marketing and sales activity periodically
A review of these trackers may lead to a decision to make a change, and to take specific action.
- One option is to improve something that is not performing as well as you expect or need.
- It may be an opportunity to look for or create new ‘events’ to add value and improve the buying and selling process.
- Or it may lead to a decision to cease doing certain things that no longer add value.
Are you making the most of these event-based or event triggered marketing and sales approaches?
Types of events that might be in your marketing and sales plan
Even solo-entrepreneurs and micro businesses have events, and medium and larger organisations have more and larger events in their schedule. Consider these for your event-based marketing and sales schedule.
a. One-off events
One-off activities and annual events have their place in many organisations. They can be hugely exciting and immensely successful. In high-value sales there is the thrill of the chase and the euphoria of winning ‘the mega deal’. Product launches can involve months of planning and preparation then frantic activity at the launch time. Annual trade exhibitions are a similar example.
However they can have a tendency to have a distorting effect on a business. The resource going into the preparation and execution of the event may well deplete other areas of the business. The lumpy business resulting, from a flood of new names at an exhibition, the project resource needed to start an unusually big project with a new client, or the famine if it’s not a success can have serious implications.
Would your business benefit from doing more, or fewer, large events?
b. A series of activities or events.
A series of events creates a much smoother call on resources and business flowing through, in a more manageable and controllable manner. Here are some examples to give you ideas for your marketing and sales plans.
- Quarterly trade-shows rather than, or maybe in addition to, annual conferences and exhibitions.
- Monthly user-groups – run online as a virtual events – to build loyalty with customers.
- Regular scheduled webinars to attract and nurture prospects and move some of them to ‘the next step’.
- Monthly email newsletter – a main-stay for many businesses, but maybe it’s a tired format in need of spicing up
- Weekly activities – which is what Funnel Friday was created to provide.
Are you making the most of ‘event series’ and extending the way you use them in your business?
c. Buyer triggered events
The trigger events can occur in the personal lives of your prospects or customers, in their relationship with your business, and with the way they interact with your business. To give some examples, Birthdays, signing an order and registering for an email.
For each of these triggers, and many others, there may be a marketing or sales response that is appropriate. A Birthday card or a phone call, an on-boarding process for a new customer, a welcome sequence for a new website registration or business network contact.
d. Vendor triggered events
Taking the initiative to create one-off or a series of events that enhance your value proposition, leadership position, reduce time and cost can be enormously beneficial.
Vendor initiated events on a large scale have the potential to disrupt the market. Launching a new product, entering a new market, delivering a category of solution in an entirely different way, and generally being innovative all have potential to make a big impact. Software as a Service (SaaS) and Cloud Computing is one that I am very familiar with.
On a smaller scale, and in your niche, you may have the ability to create market disruption. Maybe there’s a subset of customers in a category who want to do business in a different way.
e. Compelling events
For a buyer to make a purchase decision, or even to invest time into the purchase process, there needs to be a motivating force. This might be that they want to move towards a gain, or to move away from pain.
Market research includes understanding and looking for gain or pain that you can satisfy. Necessities and legislation are one unavoidable compelling event that buyers may face. A current supplier going out of business is another. New technology per-se is probably not a necessity, but offers the hope of a gain in the future.
Offers and promotions, bonuses, incentives and more are part of the vendors armory to create a compelling reason to choose something, rather than defer a purchase. They also help to make one supplier look more attractive than another.
Have you reviewed the compelling events in your market and with your customers recently. There may be new opportunities to tap into, or ways you can create a more compelling event at each stage in your marketing and sales process.
The infrastructure to execute event-based marketing and sales
On a micro-level, having more events happening and doing things on a more granular basis can also have a big impact, one small step at a time. Making communications more personal, more intimate, more targeted and focused can make a noticeable difference. Timing makes a huge difference here, doing something ‘by return’, while your customer or prospect has you front-of-mind can make a huge connection and impact.
Doing this all manually is becoming impossible, as people are prone to errors and are distracted by other actions.
Doing this with the support of technology and applications is a significant step forward. There is a set-up process so that systems can do the low level repetitive tasks that are time sensitive, and generate alerts for when a marketing or sales person should take an action. This goes under the umbrella of Marketing Automation. This is a topic for another day though.
Aligning your event-base marketing and sales activities with your buyers
In terms of specific actions and next steps, try these today:
1. Identify 20 ‘events’:- list them side by side on a piece of paper
- 10 that happen in your buyers buying process,
- 10 that happen in your selling process.
2. Now look at them side-by-side.
- Are you as a vendor doing things that don’t map to your buyers activity steps?
- And are your buyers taking steps and events that you’re not covering?
3. And now consider what you could be improving, doing new or stopping.
- Take a look back at the earlier event ideas in this article for suggestions.
B2B Sales is changing. Are you at the cutting edge?
If you’d like to talk through some of these points, and see how they fit with your LinkedIn and Lead Generation activities, then why not set up a Skype call with me, Mark Stonham. Just click on the image and use the online booking system on the next page. I look forward to talking with you soon.