This post was originally a guest post on the Attend Inc. Blog.
It’s nearly always enjoyable to attend a big industry event. That can’t always be said for planning and managing the execution and success of that event. Our Senior Demand Gen Manager Deirdre Pelrin was featured in a guest blog on Attend Inc., sharing her tips of the trade for event marketing: from boosting awareness to coordinating teams to, most importantly, collecting those key leads.
1. Leverage partnerships to gain more visibility.
When exhibiting at an industry event, Deirdre looks for opportunities to leverage partner relationships to gain more exposure and strengthen the partnership. Several months prior to an event, when most companies are still in the planning stages, Deirdre will identify the partners that are exhibiting or sponsoring and reach out to coordinate co-marketing opportunities. Early outreach is key to ensure you don’t miss the boat. Deirdre suggests collaborating on partner event strategy at least 3 to 6 months in advance.
When working with a partner on event co-marketing, Deirdre says that it’s important to understand their goals and figure out how you can support them while still being mindful of your own objectives. A good partner will do the same for you. For example, if brand awareness is really important to the partner, Deirdre recommends displaying their logo, booth number, co-branded collateral, or even a demo in your booth while having them do the same for you. If lead generation is a key objective, Deirdre suggests coordinating a lead-share initiative or offering to organize co-led meetings with or facilitate in-person introductions to your respective customers and prospects.
Deirdre also found that hosting co-sponsored cocktail receptions or dinners in conjunction with industry events is another way to maximize partner relationships and offset the cost of the event. Recently, SmashFly co-hosted a roof-top clambake at an industry conference with one of their largest partners, Randstad Sourceright. Teaming up with the partner to co-host a fun event allowed the SmashFly team to get to know their partners on a more personal level, and opened access to each company’s network.
2. Keep your teams in the loop.
Events are an integral component of SmashFly’s marketing strategy and a significant investment for the company. To ensure that the sales and marketing teams are optimizing every opportunity at events, Deirdre has found that it is critical to brief the team on event strategy and logistics well in advance.
At least 3 months before an event, Deirdre creates an internal guide that summarizes every aspect, from logistical information to strategy and measurement. She then meets with her team to review the guide in detail. The guide ensures complete buy-in from the teams involved sets expectations for their on-site contributions.
Collaboration with the on-site event team doesn’t end at tear-down. One to two weeks following an event, Deirdre leads a debrief during which the entire team is encouraged to provide their candid feedback in an open forum with the goal of achieving continuous improvement for SmashFly’s event strategy and execution.
3. Turn lead collection into a quality measurement tool.
Deirdre has three objectives when Collecting leads at industry conferences: find the right prospects to engage with, acquire names of employees at target companies, and better understand the quality of event attendees.
By making it a goal for her team to capture as many leads as possible at every industry event, Deirdre is able to measure the effectiveness of the event by providing her sales team with new names at target accounts who frequently make referrals to the right decision makers, generating MQLs for her sales team, and taking a snapshot of the personas engaged at the event.
At the end of every year, Deirdre will review the industry events that SmashFly sponsored and measure the ROI in terms of how many MQLs contributed to the sales pipeline and the net new name acquisition within target accounts. By having a full view into who engaged with SmashFly at each show, Deirdre is able to make better decisions about where to invest marketing dollars based on the event audiences.
In conclusion, Deirdre suggests you employ these three Event Hacks:
- Leverage Partnerships at Conferences: Use your company’s partnerships to boost your event presence by co-marketing and co-hosting receptions.
- Event Bibles: Keep your team involved in the event planning process by providing them with ample resources and information they can use to successfully represent your company on-site.
- Lead Collection Snapshot: Use lead collection as a way to take a snapshot of conferences attendees. Look at the lead information in tandem with your marketing analytics to determine if a conference is worth sponsoring.