B2B marketing has changed so much to meet the needs of the modern buyer. Responsive design, online retargeting, social selling and more, all tap into the B2B buyer’s everyday behaviour and digital preferences to maximise engagement and grow leads. But when it comes to B2B events, are businesses quite so up to speed? Are event marketers taking full advantage of all the digital opportunities available?
Let’s start with the number one reason for event spend amongst marketers: lead generation. Why, in a digital world, does lead gen activity so often start and end at the physical venue?
If you’re serious about lead generation, there’s a way to vastly extend your reach – but you may need to reset your mindset. It’s time to embrace the digital delegate. In fact, it’s time to actively court them .
Delegates attend your event because they want to learn new things, connect with like-minded people and share their knowledge. For today’s delegate, that means sharing online. Digital delegates are the quickest and most effective means of getting your message to a far broader audience. Whether they are attending in person, or tracking your event online, you should be doing everything you can to engage them and facilitate that process. Engage the right digital delegates, and their influence and following means the reach and credibility of your brand could skyrocket.
Reset your mindset: 6 ways to court the digital delegate
- Have a content strategy that defines how you’ll capture content and how you’ll use it both during and after the event. Make content easy to digest and to share – 2-minute video takeaways from each session are a great idea.
- Live stream your key presentations to access and engage with a new digital audience. The no.1 shared link at Oracle Openworld was the keynote live stream
- Use digital technologies to distribute timely, relevant content during the event, and engage with audiences (iBeacons, apps), or to create immersive and memorable experiences. You’ll get increased brand recall and a stronger propensity to engage during, and long after, your event (see Oracle’s bike race to digital transformation below)
- Build a digital timeline – a scroll-friendly site that curates event content, insights and comment, allowing the wider community to experience and share your event from anywhere at any time. See this timeline from Oracle’s Digital Bootcamp for inspiration.
- Set up a social command centre and post real-time insights, findings and delegate feedback through your earned and owned channels. This will immediately extend your reach beyond the physical space and amplify your message.
- Invite influencers to attend your event –whether in person, or via the livestream and social media. When influencers share your content, it extends the reach, trust and credibility of your messages.
Engaging the digital delegate at the Modern Business Experience
This ambitious 2-day, 2,000-delegate, 5-stream conference, presented by Oracle, smashed its lead-generation targets with an immersive, customer-focused experience, with record levels of engagement, reach and advocacy. One of the most popular features of this digital transformation-themed event was a stationary bike race (yes, you read that correctly!). With imaginative use of technology, delegates competed against each other to pedal their way to digital transformation. Social posts and shares from the conference contributed to a total event reach of 69-million, via almost 8,000 tweets. Overall the conference delivered 115% of its attendance target, over 20% of which were net new leads.