With all of the hype over the last several years on new digital channels such as social media, automated email campaigns and content marketing, traditional event marketing has taken a back seat to the shiny new channels that attract the young generation of social and digital marketers. Trade shows, seminars and other physical events have suffered reductions in budgets as more marketing dollars flow to new channels.
With recent advances in integrated event management functions being embedded in marketing automation platforms, event marketing may see its importance and relevance increase.
To most B2B marketers, trade shows are the bane of their existence. They are expensive, logistical nightmares that can give even the most seasoned marketer sleepless nights for a week before. While not the most “sexy” or fun programs to manage, with marketing automation, traditional and online events can be transformed into multichannel, digitally enabled nurture programs that drive a significant amount of social awareness and lead generation.
Marketing automation systems can complement and enhance events in a number of ways and even make events fun and exciting for marketers to manage. Take the notion of nurture-based email campaigns and apply the logic to an event. A nurture program for an event will include a wide variety of components that will challenge skills of marketers in a very positive way.
Think of all of the tools a marketer may use with respect to promoting a lunch and learn event:
- Nurture-based, multi-step email campaigns: From invitations, to reminders to post-event communications, an event gives a marketer a very logical reason to create a sustained flow of email communications to a targeted group of prospects.
- Forms and landing pages: The marketer will use landing pages to not only capture registrations but offer event surveys and other methods for capturing attendee information, which can be used later for segmentation and targeted follow up.
- Social publishing: Share the event, your participation, and any sessions you’re participating on in a variety of social networks. Use the event hashtags and join/participate in any LinkedIn groups or Facebook pages for the event.
- Offer a webinar following the event: Even if it’s a big trade show and you’re not speaking or chairing a session, you can still create a highly compelling webinar showcasing your expertise and point of view.
All of these elements to a campaign are facilitated by an integrated event management solution, which many leading marketing automation platforms now offer.
Think of your events as a golden opportunity to build compelling nurture-based programs over a relatively long period of time (four to eight weeks) leading up to and following the event. Your marketing automation system will capture meaningful interactions by event registrants and attendees, which sales will find highly valuable.
At the end of the day, while a trade show or seminar may not be cutting edge on the surface, putting marketing automation technology behind an event can transform it into a dynamic, multichannel nurture program worthy of most sophisticated marketer.
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