How to get it right
Planning your event objectives
Who do you want to talk to and what do you want to say?
Planning your objectives
Whilst it may seem simple, there are some fundamental questions that must be answered prior to any event planning.
Perhaps the biggest questions are 'what do you want to achieve?' and 'who do you want to talk to?'
To get you going, here are a few things to define right at the beginning. What is your target company or industry type? Who do you want to talk to? What are the range of job titles you are interested in? You may then want to consider aiming at a level above and below this job function to attract a wider audience but also to invite influencers and those who may be the decision makers within a medium-term time-frame.
Then consider your geography. Where is your key heartland? Should you step out for a wider reach and what is the best way to target within new areas of business?
Returning in more detail to your target audience, you may want to consider intelligent targeting of some of your key accounts and key prospects and also your competitors. There is power in being connected with others in the industry plus current competitors could turn into future allies, partners or even customers.
I found it invaluable involving my sales team. Through proper planning, we worked together on targeting key accounts with key messages at the right time.
Once the parameters of your objectives have been selected, it's important to then look at the landscape of events open to you.
Do the variety of speakers and the topics of presentations fit with your key messages and selling points? Is the tone of voice suitable to your brand? Does the agenda align with your objectives?
Sponsorship packages vary immensely and again the options available to you need to be fit for purpose. Will the sponsorship package chosen allow for the inclusion of any of your supporting marketing collateral? What level of engagement with delegates will be included? Do you need a level of exclusivity or are you happy to sit within a family of sponsors?
How EI can amplify your selection
Through detailed mapping, we know what success looks like based upon event objectives and planning.
Our value added services include analysis of post event delegate lists, speaking slots and brand placement. Bespoke packages go one step further to offer ring-fencing, inclusion in event or post event surveys to name a few options.
We can offer discounts depending upon organiser and media planner.
Which event is right for you?
The events space is growing at an impressive rate on an annual basis and doesn't look to be slowing down at any point soon.
The Choice is Huge
There now exist around 8,340 events suppliers. Just suppliers! To give a further sense of scale, last year there were 986 global events just in the private equity space, a very niche market. There were 148 cyber security events in the UK alone. So trying to find the right event for your messages and to satisfy your objectives can be challenging.
So Embrace the Choice!
The beauty of a growing events space means that with help, finding the right event will mean it's easier to achieve your objectives. From large expos to smaller thought leadership forums, having such a wide variety of themes and topics within an industry events space does mean it is easier to find the right platform to spread your messages and warm up new targets.
Number of attendees in 2017 at major technology events
The Different Stages of Event Involvement
DEMONSTRATING A NICHE PRESENCE THROUGH THOUGHT LEADERSHIP CONTENT
These could be hand-picked major industry events, conferences or forums which should be designed to show you are present in this space and provide the opportunity to engage key figures that you normally struggle to reach.
DEMONSTRATING A NICHE RELEVANCE THROUGH SPEAKING AT NICHE FOCUSED INDUSTRY FORUMS AND GATHERINGS
Such events are designed to demonstrate thought leadership on key hot topics. Figure out your point of view and share it in the right place!
MEETING DECISION MAKERS AT EXCLUSIVELY TAILORED EDITORIAL ROUNDTABLES
These small intimate events are the perfect opportunity to invite key non-client targets to external industry sessions.
Proprietary client event activity, hospitality or partner events - an opportunity to really cement existing and future client relationships.
Responding to business requests for events not 'in the plan'
The best marketing plans and strategies are the ones that can fluidly respond and react positively to changes in positioning, outside influences and needs for a divergence to strategic direction.
When considering an 'off plan' event, the same questions of objectives and audience need to be challenged. A secondary question should also be asked to understand the motivation behind the request. Does it come from the sales team keen to target a specific account through a sponsorship deal? Alternatively, it could be a request from the board in order to align the company with a specific partner. Knowing the motivation behind a request will result in a more effective outcome.
If the event has been previously researched and dismissed then it is vital to ensure that initial reservations are fully understood by all involved. If it is an event that hadn't previously been considered, then perhaps the way you are scheduling and reviewing future events needs to take place.
Are your sponsored events within your marketing plan or a result of a spontaneous request?
- Planned well in advance and form part of an overall marketing strategy
- A mixture of planned sponsorship deals and ad hoc requests
- Our sponsored events are rarely planned
Executing Successful Events
And how to amplify that success
Before the Event
Now that your event is booked there are definitely measures to take to ensure that you and your brand get the optimum exposure from the event. There are some key points to follow to help you get the most of your sponsorship package.
Getting your message right is crucial. It obviously needs to resonate with your service offering and brand positioning but does it also strike the right tone with the event audience? At this stage, it's important that your sales team have had input into your messaging. Have they seen the delegate list and highlighted key accounts? Together, you can ensure that your messaging is going to reach the best targets to meet your criteria.
The beauty of social media is its timing. You can communicate in an instant, live from an event. But it does help to have a social media plan up your sleeve to help structure your feed and to ensure key messages that you plan to put out are shared. Have a few pre-prepared tweets ready and ensure that your hashtags are used consistently. It's also a good idea to carry out some LinkedIn research before the event; are there delegates attending that you aren't aware of? Are their profiles of interest?
Nothing can beat face to face conversation. A vital part of your presence and positioning at the event is your exposure to key delegates so make sure you can plan for how this should happen. Can the supplier offer you intro sessions? Is there space for 1-2-1 meetings? What about VIP lunch tables? If you intend to hold demos on your stand, how will this be publicised? Can you organise wrap around activity for special clients or prospects?
Despite ensuring you've aligned your brand with the right event and been organised with your preparation, there are still things you can do on the day to make your event run to your advantage.
• Arrive early, ensure your speaker adjusts presentation to take into account previous content.
• Get speaker to encourage engagement – is there content available onsite?
• Liaise with colleagues that are attending to ensure any meeting room / stand / booth is manned at all times for unplanned prospects that wish to meet you
• For each scheduled meeting, prepare your own proposed agenda with questions to ask / latest news / case studies to share that will create value for them
• During each meeting, make notes and agree post-event follow-up action (including timelines) with your customers & prospects. It can be useful to photo these notes and email to yourself at the end of each meeting to ensure you have a soft copy.
• If you are unhappy, complain early – Give them a chance to fix the issue! (Or pre-event if possible.)
Now that your event has finished, there is some important follow-up activity that needs to be carried out to ensure you are still benefiting from your involvement.
1. Carry out an immediate de-brief to identify specific activities and ensure details are sent to the responsible account manager to follow up.
2. Have you organised and prepared your follow-up activity? Follow-up should commence within two days of the event - LinkedIn requests, personal follow-up by email or phone.
3. What did you learn from the event? Can it be packaged to engage other prospects? Post event whitepapers and briefs are useful here.
4. How can information be fed back internally to support service development, sales activity, future marketing activities and future presentations?
5. Remember to follow-up with supplier – consider either a call or a written event evaluation.
6. Leverage any event organiser post-event reporting
Look at renewal or dropping the event next year based on performance, bearing in mind how objectives shift year on year…
Sample Feedback Questions
What were the impressions on organisation, the logistics and how well it ran?
Was the agenda content engaging and did the format work?
How many delegates attended the event overall and what was your perception on their seniority?
How many meetings did you secure on the day (after any no-shows / drop-outs of walk ins?)
Did any meetings result in immediate follow-up appointments? / Do you have any pipeline forecasted as a result of any meetings?
Did you monitor perception shift of your brand's awareness awareness at this event?
Is this information shared internally?
How we can help
What is unique about EI Advisory?
- Primary research
- Media supplier mapping
- Independent opinion
- Detailed reporting
- Negotiate and support for integrated B2B sponsorships
EI Advisory offers B2B media intelligence services to global organisations, giving independent analysis and insight to clients, based on primary research and years of expertise in media markets.
EI has clients both in the UK and overseas, and specialises in, but is not limited to, financial services, professional services and tech firms.
Since its inception in 2007, EI has built extensive research capabilities across a number of media markets. Using its database of over 8000 international suppliers, EI tracks activities including events, broad business media, trade media, associations, institutions and business schools within a particular media space, identifying the leading opportunities for clients
We focus on creating integrated target audience engagement plans through:
•Face to Face opportunities
EI always works to identify the best opportunities for B2B marketers to achieve their goals, be it thought leadership, brand awareness or lead generation.
A small selection of the companies we work for