A big topic of discussion among event marketing teams right now is what to do with in-person events now that digital is taking a bigger role in our marketing activities.
Budgets are getting smaller every year and often we are asked to do more with less.
Events are very expensive.
You need a booth…you need to have a sponsorship. And you need to pay for the travel to have sales and marketing teams attend.
At the same time more demand is coming from within the organization to “go digital” meaning more money for digital lead generation and brand awareness. Digital offers a better way to track success throughout the customer journey and you can launch them on your schedule.
It’s reasonable to react to that situation by saying
“Well let’s cut back on physical events and do more online event like webinars…they are cheaper and we can manage them easier in-house.
So how do you decide between the two?
Let’s start with looking out what’s working. Regalix Research came out with a study recently, that found the 54% of marketers said in person events were very significant in generating leads and growing the sales pipeline and 44% said they invest in or conduct at least 10 events per year.
That same study identified 13 different types of events either in person or virtual that help generate business. All of those 13 marketers identified only four that were virtual like webinars and online events. The rest were in person like conferences tradeshows and exhibitions
What that says to me is that In-person events work, and should be an important part of your marketing mix. The answer, baed on my experience is not either events or digital, but how do we both to help each other. How do we get digital to help produce better results at events. and how do we use events to help grow our digital presence.
The reason j think this is important is that People want to make personal connections.
They want to meet with the people at the company that will be part of the buying and implementation process.
Who they work with is more important than what they are buying.
Also, doing away with in person events removes that energy and impetus to do something and meet with people , and get moving on projects that you are ready to see momentum behind. It’s harder to get get from an online event
What digital can do is help connect with people before, during, and after events. This way you gain more traffic to your booth, you connect with more people who aren’t ready to buy but might be ready by the next trade show or later on in the year, and you have a way to keep them as warm leads well past the event with drip campaigns via email, video messages, and social media updates.
Events can help you grow your digital presence. You can grow your email list by offering contests at your booth. Attract new LinkedIn followers by having signups on iPads at your booth, and you can gain awareness for your key executives who might be speaking at the event by mentioning their social channels. This is a great place to be creative and allow people to subscribe or follow your company in ways they think are appropriate.
In an upcoming video I’m gonna talk specifically around how do you use digital to drive registrations to your event or both traffic.
I hope this video has helped to highlight the ways digital and events can help each other and your business. I’d love to hear from you about your thoughts on this area.
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