The Strategic Guide to B2B Event Marketing

From small-scale seminars to large corporate conferences, B2B event marketing allows businesses to strengthen relationships, showcase their products or services, and establish themselves as thought leaders.

In today’s fast-paced and digitally-driven business landscape, understanding the nuances of event marketing can be a game-changer for B2B companies. Read on to learn the industry insights and strategies to make your event marketing efforts more effective, memorable, and profitable.

What is B2B event marketing? #

Business-to-business marketing involves companies marketing their products or services to other businesses rather than individual consumers.

B2B marketing focuses on meeting the needs, interests, and challenges of individuals purchasing on behalf of, or for, their organisation. Such a strategy requires a different approach compared to consumer-focused marketing, often involving longer sales cycles, larger transactions, and more decision-makers.

Why is B2B event marketing important?
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The event marketing industry is projected to reach $36.31 billion by 2026, with the B2B industry holding the most significant segment share of 40%. This signifies the increasing interest and investments in hosting events to grow business bottom lines.

With B2B event marketing, you are not just organising an event; you are creating a pivotal platform for your business’s growth and sustainability. The section below explores how this is crucial for your strategy.

Networking
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As a B2B marketer, the relationships you build at these events are not fleeting encounters. They are opportunities to connect with industry leaders, potential partners, and peers. This networking lays the foundation for collaborations and partnerships that can propel your business forward.

Lead generation
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B2B event guests often gauge the success of an event by the amount of business opportunities generated. Events provide a unique venue for directly engaging with a concentrated audience interested in your niche. By effectively showcasing your solutions, you can capture high-quality leads that are more likely to convert than leads generated through other channels.

Marketing qualified leads

Marketing qualified leads, or MQLs, have shown interest in your company’s products or services based on your marketing efforts but have yet to be ready to buy. Although they have engaged with your brand, MQLs require further nurturing by the marketing team to move down the funnel toward becoming sales opportunities.

Sales qualified leads

If you’re marketing to resellers, it’s important to emphasise the profit potential and market demand for your products. Resellers primarily focus on turnover and margins, so demonstrating how your products can drive sales and attract customers is critical. 

Highly qualified leads

HQLs are high-intent leads that represent the leads most likely to close a sale in your sales funnel. They have shown interest in your product or service and met specific criteria that indicate a high likelihood of becoming a customer.

Brand visibility #

A study discusses that 81% of clients only engage with brands they know and trust. Event marketing puts your brand under the spotlight, not just for the attendees but often in the broader industry through media and digital channels. This enhanced visibility establishes your brand presence, making your business known in the industry circles.

Thought leadership
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Hosting or participating in B2B events positions your company as a thought leader who shares insights, innovative ideas, and industry trends. Doing so adds value to your audience, builds trust and credibility, and cements your reputation as an authority in your field. The 2024 Event Marketer’s Playbook iterates the notion of B2B executives that collaborating with industry experts is amplifying the effectiveness of event marketing strategies. Read more about it below:

event marketer's playbook

Download the 2024 Event Marketer's Playbook here

Content creation
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From live-tweeting sessions to post-event blog posts, webinars, and podcasts, the engagement opportunities for content possibilities are endless. Content created and gathered from events not only engages those who attended the event but also extends your reach to those who couldn’t attend, amplifying your event’s impact.

How to build a successful B2B event marketing strategy
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Building a successful B2B event marketing strategy is pivotal in steering your business towards its goals. Learn how you can effectively craft a strategy with the section below.

Identify your target audience and goals
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Pinpoint who your target audience is by asking the following questions:

    • What sectors are most likely to benefit from our products/services?
    • What are the specific business goals or objectives of our potential clients?
    • Where are our potential clients located?
    • What is the financial capability of our potential clients?
    • What industry trends or regulatory changes could affect our potential clients?

 

32% of marketers said attracting the right attendees is vital for running a successful event. Understanding their needs, interests, and pain points is crucial. Alongside this, clearly define your goals. Are you aiming for lead generation, brand awareness, or establishing thought leadership? Your audience and goals will guide your B2B event marketing strategy.

Choose the right event format
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Each format has its strengths, and you need to align them with what you want to achieve. Will it be a seminar, workshop, or a virtual event? The choice depends on your audience’s preferences and the nature of your goals. For instance, a workshop might be more suitable for a hands-on experience with your product, while a seminar could be ideal for thought leadership.

Create a compelling agenda
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An agenda that promises value and excitement will draw in more attendees and keep them engaged throughout the event. Creating a compelling agenda balances informative sessions with engaging and interactive elements. Consider inviting industry experts as speakers, planning panel discussions, or incorporating live demonstrations

Measure and analyse metrics
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Define key performance indicators (KPIs) such as attendance rates, engagement levels, leads generated, or social media buzz before the event. By analysing these metrics post-event, you gain insights into what worked and what didn’t to help you understand your event’s ROI.

Leverage data-driven improvements
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Maximise data collected to drive improvements for your future event marketing efforts to ensure that each event is more successful than the last. For instance, if the data shows high engagement in specific sessions, consider focusing more on similar topics in the future. Or, if feedback indicates logistical issues, you know where to focus your efforts next time.

Types of events
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Each event type listed below offers unique benefits and can be leveraged depending on your marketing goals, audience preferences, and industry trends. Incorporating a mix of these events into your B2B event marketing strategy can lead to increased engagement, stronger relationships, and significant growth opportunities.

Networking events
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Networking events are the social powerhouse of the B2B world as they provide a relaxed atmosphere where professionals can connect, share ideas, and build relationships. These vents can range from informal meetups to more structured networking sessions for fostering connections and can lead to fruitful collaborations and partnerships.

Conferences
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These are larger-scale events, often spanning several days, featuring various speakers, panel discussions, and breakout sessions for deep dives into specific topics. Conferences are ideal for showcasing thought leadership, learning about industry trends, and engaging with a broad audience.

Roundtables
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Roundtable discussions are more intimate and focused. They usually involve a small group of industry leaders or experts discussing specific topics. This format encourages open dialogue and is excellent for delving into niche subjects, fostering deep discussions, and sharing expertise.

Roadshows
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Roadshows strategically involve taking your event to multiple locations to reach a broader audience by going directly to them. These event marketing efforts are effective for brand awareness, especially if you’re looking to penetrate new markets or regions.

Workshops
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Workshops are interactive and provide practical value to attendees by focusing on skill development or knowledge sharing. They are perfect for demonstrating your product’s application or educating your audience on specific industry skills or practices.

Product launches
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A well-executed product launch showcases your new offering to generate excitement and buzz in the market. It’s a chance to demonstrate the value and features of your new offering directly to your target audience and key industry players.

Masterclasses
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Like workshops, experts lead masterclasses but are typically more in-depth and focused on advanced topics. They allow attendees to gain high-level knowledge and insights from industry leaders, making them valuable for establishing your brand’s expertise in a specific area.

B2B event marketing metrics
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In B2B event marketing, tracking the right metrics is essential to gauge the success of your events and guide future strategies. Here are some key B2B event marketing metrics you should consider:

Marketing cost per attendee
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This metric reveals the efficiency of your marketing spend in attracting attendees. To calculate it, divide the total marketing costs for the event by the number of attendees. A lower cost per attendee indicates more efficient marketing efforts. Monitoring this metric is crucial to allocating your marketing budget effectively.

Cost per attendee
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Beyond marketing costs, consider the overall cost per attendee. This includes all expenses related to the event, like venue, logistics, speakers, and materials, divided by the number of attendees. Understanding this cost helps evaluate your event’s financial efficiency and can guide budgeting decisions for your future event marketing efforts.

Performance of marketing channels
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Analyse which marketing channels (social media, email marketing, paid ads, etc.) were most effective in promoting your event. Track metrics like click-through rates, conversion rates, and the number of registrations generated through each channel. This analysis will help you understand where to focus your marketing efforts for maximum impact.

Quality of leads
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Not all leads are created equal. Assess the quality of leads generated from the event. How many leads moved further down the sales funnel? How many resulted in meaningful business opportunities or sales? Evaluating the quality of leads, rather than just the quantity, provides a clearer picture of your event’s effectiveness in generating valuable business prospects.

User experience
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The user experience at your event can impact your brand’s reputation and future event attendance. Key evaluation aspects include the registration process, content quality, networking opportunities, and overall event organisation. Positive user experiences can lead to higher attendee retention, more word-of-mouth promotion, and, ultimately, more successful future events.

Before the event

Evaluate the effectiveness of the pre-event communication and registration process. Did your promotional activities create anticipation and engagement among potential attendees? A seamless registration and engaging pre-event communication set a positive tone, impacting the decision to participate and overall expectations for the event.

During the event

Gather post-event feedback to assess attendee satisfaction with content, speakers, and organisation. How effective were your follow-up strategies in providing additional resources and maintaining engagement? Analysing this feedback and the success of post-event engagement offers insights for improving future events and strengthening attendee relationships.

Best practices for B2B event marketing strategies
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It is crucial for you to maximise your event marketing efforts to attract the right audience and leads, as 9 out of 10 B2B marketers believe buyers are suffering from ‘event fatigue’. As you navigate the intricacies of B2B event marketing, it’s crucial to employ strategies to maximise your event’s success. Here are some best practices to consider:

Offer incentives for early registration
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Remember, a successful B2B marketing strategy is not static; it evolves with your market, your audience’s needs, and the overall business environment. The following section lists 5 B2B marketing best practices to remember when crafting your marketing strategy. 

Collaborate with influencers
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Partnering with industry influencers can amplify your event’s reach. These influencers can promote your event to their followers, lending credibility and attracting a wider audience. Choose influencers who align with your brand values and have a significant following among your target audience.

Partner with other organisations
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Collaborating with other organisations, especially those that complement your services, can be mutually beneficial. This partnership can expand your reach, pool resources, and add diverse perspectives to your event, making it more appealing to a broader audience.

Consider creating an event website
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A dedicated event website serves as a central hub for all information. It should be user-friendly, informative, and visually appealing, providing everything from detailed agendas to speaker bios and registration details. A well-designed website enhances the professional image of your event and can be a vital tool for attracting attendees.

Repurpose event content with other campaigns
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Don’t let the value of your event content end with the event itself. Repurpose it in other marketing campaigns. Record sessions to use in webinars, convert key takeaways into blog posts or infographics and use attendee feedback in testimonials. This not only extends the life of your content but also maximises your return on investment.

Build valuable B2B event marketing strategies with The Ortus Club
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In executive networking and knowledge exchange for B2B companies, The Ortus Club is your trusted partner in orchestrating events that resonate with leadership and vision. Our curated events, hosted in elite venues worldwide, are the epitome of sophistication and insight, designed to catalyse professional growth and industry advancement.

With a keen eye for detail and a network of exclusive partnerships, we guarantee an environment that not only meets but exceeds the expectations of discerning executives. Embrace the opportunity to elevate your next event with our expertise, where every detail is a step towards unparalleled success. Thinking of scaling your B2B marketing to a global audience? Message us today to find out more!