30 second summary:
- The alignment between B2B marketing and event marketing has evolved, and event software can finally bridge the gap by speaking the language of marketing through attendee retention and intent data. That can be done
- By using attendee intent data, like any marketing program, marketers can leverage events with the right metrics and measurements to directly depict the impact of events on larger business goals such as customer satisfaction, retention, upselling, or first-time sales.
- Event software can be integrated with a company’s CRM, marketing automation, and ABM solutions so event marketers can work hand-in-hand with the rest of their marketing team and sales reps to achieve the same common results.
- Events are no longer one-time campaigns. Events and B2B marketers stand before 2021 as the start of their journey as a unified sales engine.
In the last ten years, B2B marketing has changed rapidly – as has event marketing. But the two have been on very different paths, both progressing but with little or no overlap … until now.
In 2020, the worlds of B2B marketing and event marketing have finally collided thanks to intent data. Here, you can learn more about this crossbreed and why it’s a really positive change for everyone involved.
Coordination between B2B marketing and event marketing
By 2010 B2B marketing was focused on lead generation. During that time, leads and MMS were the gold standard for success, but that focus on lead-gen eventually gave way to an relentless emphasis on personalization and content marketing.
Then around 2016 account-based marketing (ABM) began, and B2B marketers focused on target accounts and engagement. This sparked a completely different marketing model, avoiding volumes in favor of fewer but more highly qualified buyers.
ABM has since grown widely in the B2B world to its current position as the industry standard.
Today, ABM continues its stronghold as the power of intent data takes center stage. Intent data can be either first party data (e.g. visitor participation on your own website or app) or third party data (e.g. lead or account behavior on websites you don’t own).
In particular, this access to data from third-party providers further strengthens the effectiveness of ABM and provides insight into the interests and intentions of target accounts. For example, you might be notified that people from a company are looking for competitors on your target account list.
In this way, you will receive timely information that you can react to in order to win them over to your solution. Deliberate data makes the insights from ABM accounts really actionable, which is sure to last through 2021 and beyond.
The different way of event marketing
Until now, however, there has been a separation between the progress in B2B marketing we described and the evolution in event marketing. About a decade ago, the focus of events was getting people to the event, with the number of registrations becoming the most important measure of success.
What the attendees did at an event mattered less than the fact that they were just there. That changed a bit over time, and as 2013 rolled around, the focus of events was still on registrations, but with agendas and creating quality participant experiences a priority.
Event technology has also advanced during this period, but it was more about event management than event marketing itself. This marketing subgroup was inconsistent with the state of B2B marketing at the time.
When ABM emerged and gained wide acceptance in 2015, the gap between events and B2B marketing began to close. Instead of aiming for high registration numbers, the organizers realized that engagement is more important. It wasn’t just about leads; It was about what those leads were doing.
Event marketers are using more technology than ever before and have had a desire to put ABM principles into practice. While progress was actually being made, event marketers lacked actionable data and stayed on their own path, still falling short of the big strides that B2B marketing had taken.
B2B marketing and event marketing will be coordinated in 2020
That year everything started to change. Event marketers realized that the ultimate goal of an event should be similar to that of other powerful marketing tactics like podcasts or content syndication. Engage your target audience to take the next step on the buyer’s journey.
This next step can be a consultation, a quote, or something completely different. However, they have embraced the principle of engagement that B2B marketing and ABM promotes, realizing that registrations are not the high point, it matters what someone does at an event.
Event software now has the ability to bypass attendees’ engagement and actionable intent data. Event marketers can check behavior by tapping attendee data before, during, and after the show like it was another digital campaign.
Searching the data for increased interference with surface intent signals is now possible and is the way of thinking of any modern marketer. Event marketers are finally taking their well-deserved seat at the larger marketing table.
Event data has led to unity and agility
At last the era begins when events were dealt with in a silo. Events are recognized as an important part of a larger ecosystem of tactics, and event marketers are seen as an integral part of the marketing team.
Events are no longer one-off campaigns, but a key instrument in the orchestra of B2B marketing. Similarly, event software can now be integrated with corporate CRM, marketing automation, and ABM solutions, giving event marketers the opportunity to work hand-in-hand with the rest of their marketing team.
The result is a unified effort to achieve the same common results.
Make the data tactical
To fully unlock this potential, marketers need to tweak the engagement that drives the intent.
When planning a topic, program, or campaign, look at the relevant metrics and plan an engagement trip for the companies or accounts you want to participate in. When these come to your event, you can segment the audience and encourage additional engagement that will move them towards the next leg of the journey.
For example, suppose a segment of attendees at a Business Growth conference showed interest in a track on financial software. You can then invite this group to an intimate roundtable with corporate finance experts so they can delve deeper into the subject.
If a segment’s engagement indicates an interest in a vendor’s product, you can take it to a dedicated breakout session with a case study presentation from a real customer using that product.
This data gives you the ability to move in an agile manner and provide participants with relevant sessions and opportunities that are most likely to interest them.
The future of modern event marketing is limitless
This year was the year event marketing and B2B marketing finally collided and launched in 2021 as the start of their journey as a unified revenue engine.
As the events industry and B2B marketing generally evolve, coordination among all marketers will support continued growth. Coupled with the power of intent data, it means B2B marketing (including events) is unstoppable.
Michael is a product and design-oriented serial entrepreneur with more than a decade of experience in the software industry. As the founder and visionary of Attendify, he strives to drive the company’s strategic direction and mission to close the gap between digital and event marketing. In his spare time, Michael collects vintage movie posters from the former Soviet Union – he is driven by the desire to learn about the artists and preserve their underrated and largely forgotten work – someone has to do it!