Who really drives the B2B event industry — the organizers, attendees, or sponsors?
Without attendees and sponsors, there would be no events to organize. So why do publications seem to gloss over the event marketing trends impacting them?
We’ve also all seen the glitzy headlines promising artificial intelligence-driven solutions or the coolest VR/AR experiences you can imagine. While very exciting and interesting, these event industry trends are intangible to many marketing teams planning their next event sponsorship.
With that in mind, we’ve focused on three simple B2B event marketing trends that are low cost and high-impact. Whatever your next event is, these ideas should inspire you to think outside the budget and find ways to provide immense value with little effort.
1. Live Streaming
Major event organizers started capitalizing on this technology almost as soon as it came out by selling digital tickets. People are paying a sometimes ridiculous amount of money to view keynotes and sessions that will be uploaded to YouTube tomorrow.
But why are people willing to pay for the livestream of an event? Because they’re gaining access to what they deem insider information before anyone else and can be a part of the conversation now, not tomorrow.
Think about how your team can capitalize on this desire. How can you provide an experience for those who couldn’t be there?
Make more revenue at your next B2B event
Unique Ideas on Livestreaming at B2B Events
Big industry events like CES are perfect for introducing livestreaming on social like Instagram Stories or Snapchat. Try filming your team testing out some cool new gadgets or experiencing a sweet new VR game. Your social audience will get an exclusive view of the new technology while experiencing a behind the brand look, thus providing value to both parties.
At a niche industry specific event? Ask other attendees and sponsors their thoughts on a single unifying question and ask live viewers to respond as well. You’ll create a dialogue both at the event and online which begins to unify the offline and online world of events.
Just don’t be like your friend who Snaps the entire concert.
Have a booth? Set up some interviews with top speakers and let your subscribers know when to tune in and how to ask their questions. You can easily film this Q&A session with the technology already in your pocket. This is a great way to entice more booth traffic with a top speaker while feeding your hungry digital audience with exclusive access to information.
Don’t forget to follow up with everyone who interacted and/or viewed your livestream. These folks were interested enough to take the time out of their day to watch your content so take the time out of your day to say thanks!
2. Creating Event Specific Content
If that’s not a reason to implement content marketing into your event marketing strategy, we’re not sure what will convince you.
Events provide the perfect opportunity to create great content around a highly-targeted group of keywords and people. This piece of content should be used to generate a tangible result at the actual event, especially meetings.
Not having any luck coming up with ideas? Keep your eyes and ears on social forums and groups to see what folks are chatting about.
Crafting event-based content is a marketer’s dream as the distribution strategy is built in by design. Most sponsorship packages offer the event attendee list and everyone knows about the event hashtag well in advance so promotion can be easy as pie. We also recommend finding event groups on Facebook and LinkedIn and publishing your content on there.
Unique Ideas on Creating Content Around Events
Ask yourself: Why do teams attend this event? Why is your team attending this event? Is an executive from my company speaking? Are we launching a new product or feature?
Events like Dreamforce or Hubspot’s Inbound are very focused on developing hardcore tactile skills while Cannes is about shaking hands, making deals, and drinking too much rosé.
Needless to say, we’re fans of Cannes.
After seeing about a dozen or so posts asking about all the parties happening at Cannes this year, we decided to create a list of the top parties going down at Cannes Lions. In crafting the piece of content, we reached out to everyone we knew attending to ask if they knew of any additional parties. By being the cool kids who knew where to party and utilizing other attendees to create the blog, the “Top Cannes Parties 2017” generated a ton of viral buzz and is still our #1 blog post to date. Seriously, creating event-based content probably the easiest event marketing trend to implement and it drives some serious results.
Other events have completely different audiences. For example, we also created a list of “Top Spots to Meet Near Moscone Convention Center” which is where Marketo’s Marketing Nation Summit and Mobile World Congress Americas was held. It can be difficult to find places to meet in the venue, so we wanted to help attendees find spots that were more comfortable and conducive to meetings.
Is an executive from your company speaking? Write a blog post highlighting what he’ll be covering and why people should attend the session (or sign up to be sent a recording after the event).
Are you launching a new product or feature? Discuss the feature in a post and why you decided to launch it at this event.
All of these blog posts provide a unique value prop that is constructed exclusively for event attendees. It shows that you’re listening and attuned to every event’s unique characteristics, audiences, and goals. Content marketing is a trend in general with over 89% of B2B marketers using it. Why not translate this trend to your event marketing and generate more meetings?
Seems like a win/win for everyone.
3. Digital Gift Bags
Flashback: You’ve finally made it to the event venue. You’ve stood in line for twenty minutes too long and are finally finished registering. They’re handing you your badge. You’ve almost made it to freedom.
Like these guys.
Then, the woman behind the registration desk exclaims, “don’t forget your gift bag!”
She hands you a (usually) ugly branded tote full of papers you’ll never read and swag you’ll probably end up throwing away.
“Oh, thanks,” you say in the kindest voice you can muster while you throw on your event badge and make your way down the conference hall…
Event attendees and sponsors pay good money to be featured in these gift bags yet can’t really quantify the ROI. That’s why we’re super excited for the rise of digital gift bags as a top B2B event industry trend.
A digital event bag is essentially a landing page full of goodies for your audience. These goodies include content, promos, gifts, a meeting scheduler, or anything else that might be relevant to your audience. Brands can send this out before the event to entice their prospects or after the event as a big thank you to everyone who you interacted with.
Unique Ideas on Digital Gift Bags
There are two main ways to use digital gift bags, either before or after an event.
Creating a digital gift bag campaign targeted towards attendees and sponsors is a great way to book more meetings at the event. If you’re sponsoring an event, chances are you have the attendee list (if you don’t, we can help with that). Craft a digital gift bag full of exciting, valuable resources like event maps, raffle entries (where you give away the prizes at the event), blog posts, and other engaging goodies.
Use raffles and swag to drive more meetings at the event. To pick up their goodies, attendees must come visit your booth and engage with your brand. Take advantage of this time and invite them to have a real meeting with your team.
After an event, digital gift bags can be a great way to say thanks. Use clips from the conference, write a blog post on your learnings from the event, and maybe even send a real thank you gift. We love using Thnks to send all of our digital gifts and they can easily be integrated into your digital gift bag.
Still a little confused on what a digital gift bag looks like? Don’t worry, we were too at first.
Take a look at this example of a digital gift bag.
Shoutout to Active Network / Virtual Event Bags.
Pretty simple, right? It’s definitely an exciting new event marketing trend that we’re just seeing rise in popularity amongst organizers. Organizers are going to charge and arm and a leg for some event sponsorship package featuring a single placement in their digital gift bags.
Make sure you stay ahead of the crowd by creating these on your own to send to everyone you’re looking to meet or after the event to showcase everything your team learned. Use your digital gift bag to drive more meetings at the event by prompting them to come visit your booth. This might be with a free piece of swag or a raffle entry but this will help connect the online to the offline.
Why Stay on Top of Event Industry Trends as Attendees and Sponsors?
Not every event trend is going to impact attendees and sponsors.
Actually…most of them probably won’t — like the death of white label event apps.
But, some event industry trends can (and should) be implemented by marketing and sales teams. If your team is looking to spice things up at your next event, look to trends that are low-cost and high-impact. The team and brand will stand out from the crowd by being hip and trendy while not expending a ton of time, energy, and money on trends that don’t drive ROE.
Speaking of ROE…we invite you to subscribe to updates for even more tips on boosting productivity, driving ROI at events, and crushing your next conference.