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Urszula Nowak
Urszula Nowak 22 April 2019

How to Leverage Events in your Lead Generation Strategy?

Events are a great source of leads which makes them worth including in your lead generation strategy. But how to make them work in your favor? Read our guide and learn how to truly leverage events in your lead generation strategy!

How to leverage events in your lead generation strategy?

Events are a great source of leads which makes them worth including in your lead generation strategy. But how to make them work in your favor? Read our guide and learn how to truly leverage events in your lead generation strategy!

Events as an excellent source of leads

Events can become a vital part of both inbound and outbound marketing. It’s perfectly understandable. They gather people who are naturally interested in a particular topic, as well as grant opportunity to actively interest attendees in your offer. What’s more important, no other form of marketing activities gives such a large opportunity to present the brand, its values and establish a real face to face relationships with potential buyers. World-class marketers confirm this thesis. In the 2018 Demand Generation Benchmark Survey Report, most of the respondents (68%) indicated in-person events as a most successful tactic for generating qualified leads for the top of the funnel.

An event marketing strategy allows you to:

  • Generate leads

  • Increase brand awareness

  • Support recruitment

  • Develop the company's employer branding

During events, participants have excellent contact with speakers, but also can exchange experiences related to the event's main idea. Regardless of whether:

  • You organize a small event,

  • You organize a large conference,

  • You are a sponsor or partner of someone's event,

  • You participate in an event,

You have the opportunity to meet people potentially interested in your offer. They may, as a result of marketing activities, fall into your sales pipeline later.

During an event you can meet people potentially interested in your offer.

Case study of Inmarsat Aviation

Inmarsat Aviation, the winner of 'Best use of live-event marketing' at the B2B Marketing Awards 2017, is a leading provider of satellite communications solutions to airlines, operators and passengers worldwide. This rather conservative organization wasn't used to invest in marketing to drive sales. As the race to become a provider for airlines’ in-flight wifi begun, Inmarsat Aviation faced the problem of finding enough decision-makers willing to make a business with a rather unknown company. Especially if they wanted to maintain their market position.

Trade shows seemed to be a perfect opportunity to make a big impact to as many decision-makers as possible in a limited time they had, and showcase their brand. This conservative brand with limited reach and the same vintage customer base finally got five minutes of fame in a place full of its prospects. By attending APEX and AIX events they wanted to raise their brand awareness, build an online audience for Inmarsat Aviation’s educational content, as well as to double the number of business meetings.

They used new technologies to achieve their goals. Inmarsat Aviation leveraged augmented reality (AR) in the ‘Connected air’ exhibition. The company presented product's value and benefits on a 12 passenger POV video.

The result was astonishing. "Live events have truly put Inmarsat Aviation on the map. Instead of customers and prospects asking us “who are you?”, they’re now looking to us for thought leadership and partnership. We’ve shifted the conversation and our positioning. We’re now regarded as true industry innovators.” said Dominic Walters, senior director marketing communications and strategy, Inmarsat Aviation.

Five-step guide on how to leverage events in a lead generation strategy

A diversified lead generation strategy is undoubtedly an idea worth considering. The use of different tactics and sources of lead acquisition ensures the inflow of new contacts to the base. It also guarantees the diversity of obtained leads and makes the company resistant to the seasonality and whims of various communication channels and media, like for example:

  • Social media trends related to multiple global events

  • Lower business email usage during the holiday season

  • Dead event seasons in a given industry

As the Inmarsat Aviation example shows, events should be an integral part of this strategy. The question is...

How can you harness the event’s potential in your company?

First, you need to know how many leads (and from which target groups) you need to attract using events and which subjects will attract this particular group of people to the event. When setting these numbers, bear in mind the global marketing goals of the company. Also, consider what part of your marketing budget you can spend on event marketing.
Case Study: The lack of the target group analysis can backfire really bad. Many organizers had to learn the hard way. Take a look at Design Thinking Camp case. The organizers made an extraordinary event that lost its original touch after a few years. It happened only because the audience evolved and the event stood in one place. After a brief adjustment, the event went back to the original track.

On the basis of these calculations, determine in which industry events you should participate. Which of them will provide you with the largest exposure to people in your target group? Which will give you an opportunity to achieve the lead generation goals? When in doubt, try contacting event organizers to help you figure this out.
Thorough tagret grouop analysis is a key to event marketing success.
Case Study: The already-mentioned example of Inmarsat Aviation shows how a company can leverage industry events to generate a satisfying bunch of new leads. The company that wasn’t widely recognized invested in event exposition and innovative new technologies to wow their audience. They decided to attend the industry conferences with the highest density of decision-makers proper for their product. And it brought them tangible results.

Also, set your role in selected events. You can choose to be an organizer, speaker, participant, partner/sponsor or exhibitor. All of them allow you to meet potential clients but offer completely different possibilities. They are also associated with other costs, thus providing different ROI.

  1. As an organizer, you simultaneously incur the largest costs but also get the most financial benefits from the event and the biggest exposure. You also have the greatest impact on its shape and content.

  2. As a speaker, you focus mainly on presenting your knowledge to the audience and contribute to increasing brand awareness. You definitely have fewer opportunities to collect leads but still can attract prospects with your company’s profile.

  3. As an attendee, you have the chance to participate in networking and establish relationships with other participants - potential leads. The organizer can make this a lot easier by using a good event technology to streamline this process. You can also calmly focus on gaining knowledge during lectures.

  4. As a partner/sponsor, you have many opportunities to pitch your prospects and harvest leads. Your privileges will strongly depend on the contract with the organizer and the amount of money you are willing to pay. It applies as well to any other form of barter transaction between the organizer and partner. In the minimum option, you’ll get the exposition of your logo and the social media mention. With the premium package, you can hit the jackpot with a booth, lecture, VIP passes, on-site promotion and so on.

  5. As an exhibitor, you keep the higher ground. This time, you will not be chasing people but they will come to you. Then, your task will be to firstly attract them to your stand and then convert them into leads.

  6. On the basis of selected roles, choose people who will work best on specific events.Choose your event role according to data!

  7. To organize an event, put in charge extremely organized, goal-oriented person with leadership skills. They will also need a team of high-end specialists.

  8. As a speaker, choose a storyteller with a lot of industry knowledge and good presentation skills.

  9. For networking, send out a talkative, people's person. They will most probably come back with a bunch of business cards and new business opportunities.To ease the process, this person should go prepared. They can (and should) check the attendee list and pre-schedule some business conversations with prospects.

  10. To attend lectures pick someone who is genuinely interested in the presented knowledge, but also can pass it forward to their team. After all, this person will be able to ask their questions to the speaker and make some new relations with experts.

  11. When you become a partner, send some representative team members - your crème de la crème. They will be an avatar for a company to the attendees.

  12. As an exhibitor pick a skillful salesperson with a soft spot to aesthetics to represent the company. Remember, that this person will spend most of the time around your booth. This person should make new connections with ease, but also make the best of the limited showcase space.

  13. Remember about your goals and keep track of the leads generated during the events. The real-time check will tell you what part of your goal you have accomplished. With this in mind, you can adjust your actions, to make the event as fruitful as possible. After the event, you can evaluate the leads in terms of their quantity and quality to calmly evaluate the profitability of the investment.

Wrap up

Many companies, including Inmarsat Aviation, learned that events help companies to achieve business and marketing goals, such as lead generation support.

To make this mechanism as effective as possible, you must define and describe (with numbers) the whole process whole process and follow the event marketing strategy of the company.

To make event organization and participation even more beneficial consider using event martech software such as Eventory, that streamlines the event management process and allows you to measure ROI of event marketing.

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