By Kathryn Kosmides
As the year comes to an end, planning and budgeting for next year’s event marketing strategy is on the top of many marketing to-do lists.
With over $512 billion being spent on B2B events every year, knowing which events actually drove revenue is critical to deciding where to invest in attending or sponsoring next. But, there’s another often overlooked question when preparing an event marketing strategy – who should attend events?
Whether your team is five or fifty, this decision should not be blanketed across every event or based on individual performance KPIs. Focus on answering the three questions below to determine who should attend every event.
Who Else is Attending?
Understanding who else is attending an event should be the foundation in deciding if that event if right for you in the first place. Don’t set your company up as a conference hopper that attends useless events where ROE goes down the drain.
A tentpole event like Dreamforce draws a much different crowd than say ANA Masters of Marketing. Whether you should send more marketers, account executives, or even more technical people depends on the type and title of prospects you expect will be there. Decision makers like to talk to decision makers, product people want to talk to product people, etc, etc, etc…
Knowing the type of attendees is the starting point to understanding who comprises your best event team for that specific event. To figure out who is attending, companies used to have to purchase event sponsorships to obtain the attendee lists. With predictive event intelligence, companies can know which events their leads are attending while discovering new prospects at every event.
What Are Your Event Goals?
We at SummitSync preach creating a before, during, and after strategy that aligns your sales and marketing teams to an expected return on event. While there should be some sort of dollar value attached to return on event (ROE), there are many intangible goals at events including brand awareness, education and networking. These top-level business goals will contribute to the choices you make regarding a successful event team.
If your goal is to get the word out about a new product, send more product people than account executives or field marketers. Not only will your product people be able to answer technical questions, they’ll also get to experience feedback and who the real target audience is in person.
Khadim Batti, CEO of Whatfix, agrees.
“We have been sending our product and solutions teams to participate in events for quite sometime now. Events provide a very good forum to bounce off new feature ideas, showcase beta features and elicit feedback from existing as well as prospective customers.”
Who Delivers the Best Story?
“When I consider who to send to a conference, I consider who is going to tell the best story and be the best evangelist for the product. It isn’t always the account executive or the technical person.” says Amy Lummus of eClerx.
Attending events are like going on a first date. You’re not looking to get married, but to see if a second date is worth it. Approaching events with this mindset will help determine who you should send. The best account executive might crush it every month, but they might not be so great at the softer side of sales that events require.
Focus on who can tell the best story to that specific event audience and you’ll have another check on who should be getting on the plane.
So…Who Are You Sending to Your Next Event?
While you plan out next year’s (or quarter’s) event strategy, take the time to consider who you are sending to events and why. Create a personalized, successful event team by understanding the other attendees, honing in on your event goals, and deciding who can tell the best story at every single event.