We live in a digital marketing world. The average US citizen spends almost seven hours a day looking at a screen, so their chances of seeing your brand’s digital ads are very high. But even in this moment of digitally-driven marketing initiatives, a surprising trend is re-emerging: in-person event marketing.
Marketing today is driven by online reputation, social media community management, SEO, and digital media. But that doesn’t mean in-person marketing has become a thing of the past — quite the contrary. People crave real human connections now more than ever, which is why event marketing offers huge opportunities, especially for tech and martech B2B brands.
Why even consider event marketing?
Tech companies, including those in the marketing technology space, are always innovating, and the only way consumers can keep up is by relying on experts to tell them about trends and changes in the market. This means that the more people you want to attend your event, the more thought you must put into your marketing strategy.
Any marketing strategy aims to generate enough interest in a brand and guide consumers toward brand-related resources to learn more about what it offers. Of course, we know event marketing is resource-intensive and can be a real hit or miss. That’s why we have much to learn from Calian IT & Cyber Solutions, an IT solutions company doing event marketing the right way.
Calian VP of marketing and alliances, Salim Gheewalla, is passionate about story-driven tech event marketing and creating meaningful and memorable experiences for viewers and attendees. The foundation for almost everything he does in the events landscape is his marketing motto: “Know me. Like me. Trust me. Pay me.”
Salim’s methodologies target not only public events but internal events too. He created storytelling moments at an internal Sales Kickoff event that many employees posted about on their personal LinkedIn profiles. However, Salim believes that the key to successful events is like a perfect cocktail: a mix of the right people in the room, a topic that interests the attendees, and an attractive and convenient experience.
Here are tips we’re learning from Calian for successful tech and martech event marketing in today’s world:
Develop your story
What’s the goal for promoting this event in the first place? Whether generating more leads or increasing brand recognition, identifying your goals and objectives is the first step to achieving them. Another question marketers must ask themselves is how they relate to the audience.
After nailing down your goals, it’s essential to start sharing a creative narrative to engage the audience. Brand storytelling helps resonate with the target audience rather than just focusing on a sale. Calian, for example, wants to continuously advocate for women in the technology industry, a significantly underrepresented demographic. Last year, they hosted a Leading Ladies in Tech event, in partnership with Lululemon, to provide a collaborative environment for female tech leaders, encouraging aspiring women to continue their tech careers. Calian is already preparing for a similar event this fall.
Learn who’s in the room.
Customers want to know they’re in a room full of like-minded individuals, not a room with a CXO and system admins. Knowing who’s in attendance is helpful for both guests and us hosts. We should ensure that similar-level people from our organization are involved, so if there are CIOs in the room, then a VP or SVP+ must also be there (like Salim.)
It’s also important to ensure knowledgeable people who can be asked any question freely are present — trust me, it makes a difference. Additionally, influencers who are probably already sold on your solutions can help validate your brand to others in the room and boost reputability.
You also don’t just want anyone there either — the audience size matters. If there are too many people, the experience dilutes, and you can’t track who’s asking what questions. It’s important to attract attendees who actually want to be present, so your interactions will be meaningful and relevant to the event.
Create content-worthy moments.
Once you know your story and audience, the content you create for your event marketing must be engaging yet informative. You want to capture the audience’s attention and encourage them to learn more about your event. It’s here you can start using technology to create shareable moments people want to remember — if you haven’t been already.
Think about event marketing like a trailer for a movie; you want to get people excited to go in person instead of hearing about it from someone else. Give your audience an incentive to attend — and then deliver.
There are numerous ways to ensure guests have a good time, even before they show. The live stream feature on some social media channels allows marketers to interact directly with their audience and provide a sneak peek into what they can expect from the event. Calian used a skylight drone show where people took pics of the Calian logo and shared them on their personal social channels.
Amplify your event.
Social media channels offer many opportunities to boost your event’s success rate. You can post about your event when you want as many times as you want, which is ideal if your goal is getting as many eyes on your brand as possible. Calian ITCS recently hosted a Fireside Chat with Dilawar Syed, Federal Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs, at a local Houston cafe, where attendees took videos and photos throughout the event.
Special Representative Syed and Calian’s SVP of Cloud and Cybersecurity, Faisal Bhutto, discussed entrepreneurship, cybersecurity, and inclusion for the Houston business community. To ensure people still knew what happened, Calian amplified the event on social media.
You don’t have to limit your reach to just social media. To maximize your results, capture event content to amplify on your social media channels, blog, email marketing, and future PR outreach. And remember – marketing goes hand-in-hand with your sales group.
We must support sales team members by providing as much event content as possible so they can continuously amplify through their relationships and contacts. This proves your event’s success and gives people who didn’t attend a reason not to miss out on the next one.
Following up with attendees after the event is also important to maintain a good relationship. Thank them for coming and gather feedback so you know what to do next time.
In a world where experiences surpass everything, event marketing just makes sense. A well-thought-out marketing strategy for your event is the determining factor for its success.
People are ready to have face-to-face interactions. Take advantage and create an event experience they won’t forget.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.