Events have long been an important part of a well-rounded marketing strategy, especially in the B2B space.
But as technology has evolved, and the global trend of remote working has emerged, B2B events have changed a great deal over the last few years.
So with this change and the emergence of hybrid events, how should you tackle event attribution?
In this week’s podcast episode, Jon Kazarian shares valuable guidance on how to tackle event attribution to help you achieve your marketing and sales goals, and grow your business.
Who they are: Jon Kazarian, Founder and CEO of Accelevents.
A bit of background: Jon founded Accelevents in January 2015, creating an event management platform that helps businesses facilitate in-person, virtual, and hybrid events. Accelevents was recently recognised by Inc. 5000 as one of the top 200 fastest-growing private companies in America.
Where you can find him:
Here you’ll find some of the best advice from the podcast that you can easily digest and learn from.
According to Jon, events typically make up around 25% of B2B marketing budgets, clearly playing an important role in most marketing strategies.
Even through the challenges of the COVID-19 lockdowns, event marketers were able to adapt and continue to reach their audiences by shifting from in-person to virtual events with plenty of success. However, measuring the tangible metrics that relate to the success of an event is always difficult, regardless of whether it’s happening in-person or online.
Jon said, “Events are a huge segment of modern B2B marketing, but one of the challenges of this segment is that it’s really hard to understand the impact events have made because the attribution is just so tricky.”
“We’ve come to know this world of digital marketing, where attribution becomes a lot easier. In the world of events, though, that’s just often not the case. That said, there are some ways to make that a little bit more accessible, and we can certainly chat about that later.”
Interestingly, due to a number of trends in digital marketing currently taking shape, events could become even more valuable because they allow you to capture data and insights from your target audiences.
Jon continued, “In terms of the opportunity here, I think that event segment has actually become a lot more prevalent over the past couple of years. A big part of that is the way that digital marketing has been flipped on its head. We’ve seen what Apple, Google, and some of the other major tech platforms are doing with the reduction in third-party cookie tracking, and that’s just making the digital marketing mechanisms that we’ve historically known less functional.”
“That is driving up the cost of customer acquisition, driving down ROI, and it’s also driving an increased focus on first-party data. Thankfully, events are one of the best mechanisms for capturing first-party data.”
If you’re aiming to host any B2B events for the first time, it’s often best to start with a virtual event first before you move into hosting events in-person.
According to Jon, there are several benefits to this approach. The main two are:
Jon added, “Another part of this is that you start to build some credibility with the audience quicker and easier. You use it as a mechanism to bring in those attendees, to bring in the sponsors, to build relationships with speakers. Then, when you’re ready to go and host your first in-person event, you’ve already got this group, this plethora of people that are ready to come and participate, and there’s actually a lot of data out there that speaks to how successful that motion can be.”
Once you’ve made your decision about what type of event you’re going to run, your next step should be to focus on the data you’ll capture. A good starting point for that is the registration information.
From there, Jon had the following advice: “As you’re planning to capture audience data, you want to be segmenting it as well. Now that’s obviously specific to your business and your industry, but beyond that you should start thinking about what other information throughout that event experience that you’ll be able to capture.”
Jon suggested paying close attention to things like:
Jon continued, “Say you’re hosting a product launch event, and you’re a company like HubSpot where you have different product lines. Maybe you’ve got customers already using your marketing cloud product, but those customers seem to be checking a lot of your CRM functionality.”
“You want to dig through that data to understand that, because that’s an opportunity for your account managers to reach out to those folks. It’s a very clear signal that they may be considering switching CRMs. So, using information like that to really fire up the conversation and understand your audience can go a long way.”
If you need help navigating the current B2B events landscape for your own marketing strategy, Jon explained that he sees two very clear trends having an impact at the moment.
He said, “There’s two things that are obvious right now. Firstly, there’s massive competition in almost every industry out there. Secondly, there’s massive competition for an individual’s attention, be it on social media platforms, television, Netflix, and even marketing and advertising.”
“A good way to run a successful event is to put together great content with great production value.”
“You need to be able to keep people’s attention, you need to be polished, you need to be prepared. You also need to do speaker preparation beforehand, and make sure that your speakers are running you through their agendas. Make sure there’s Q and A opportunities set up to keep people engaged throughout as well.”
It’s also important to ensure your events are promoted well in advance, and not just through your own channels but also by your speakers and partners. Leverage the wider exposure available to you by encouraging the people involved with your events to share any pre-event content with their own networks.
Jon said, “Make sure that you’re properly promoting the speakers, and help them promote the fact that they’re going to be participating in your event. And, of course, ensure that the polish of that experience is going to be worthwhile.”
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