Setting the Stage: Optimising Event Marketing Strategy in Hong Kong for 2024

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In the ever-evolving landscape of event marketing, understanding its intricacies isn’t just the forte of marketing executives. Marketers seated at discussion roundtables, too, have a unique vantage point.

In an exclusive invite-only virtual roundtable held on the 18th of January 2024, marketing leaders in B2B SaaS companies discussed the exploration of innovative strategies and emerging trends that are shaping the future of event marketing in 2024 and beyond.

Heading into 2024, event marketing remains a dynamic force in shaping business growth. It stands at the crossroads of traditional marketing practices and future-forward strategy, evolving through diverse events, from trade shows to intimate roundtables.

Driving this evolution are key elements like AI-driven personalisation, innovative experiences, and an increasing emphasis on personalisation. How these factors will blend with traditional marketing principles and what new opportunities they might unveil remains a topic ripe for exploration and discussion. As the landscape evolves, the balance between approaches and strategies presents a fascinating area for debate and creative thinking in the marketing world.

  • What new event marketing challenges have arisen recently, and what innovative strategies are marketers employing in response?
  • In the current climate, how can companies optimise their event marketing mix? Should they lean towards physical, virtual, or hybrid models?
  • What does the future hold for event marketing in terms of integrating global trends that are expected to rise in 2024?

The Challenges

The initial focus of the roundtable discussion was on identifying new marketing challenges and innovative strategies being employed in response. The moderator referenced survey results indicating the top challenges faced by marketers: difficulty in measuring Return on Investment (ROI), the high cost of physical events, and insufficient post-event lead tracking. These results, derived from the experiences of the majority of the survey respondents, set the stage for an in-depth exploration of these issues.

One participant commenced the discussion by reflecting on their experiences with large-scale events in the previous year. They highlighted the challenges faced in engaging attendees at these events, particularly in sectors not traditionally aligned with advanced technology.

Despite the company’s long-standing presence in the industry, they found that traditional methods of engagement, like QR codes and digital presentations, were less effective than anticipated. This led to a strategic pivot towards smaller, more focused events tailored to specific audiences. They emphasised the importance of simple, relatable language and intimate settings to facilitate deeper connections and understanding.

Another speaker shifted the focus to the realm of online marketing, particularly the use of social media platforms and virtual ‘ask me anything’ sessions. They shared insights from organising a major offline event, underlining the significant expenses involved and the challenges in securing genuine engagement and lasting customer relationships. The speaker noted the ineffectiveness of large investments in events where attendees were more attracted to peripheral benefits like free food rather than engaging with the core content of the event. They suggested more intimate and focused events, such as breakfast sessions, as a more effective strategy in busy hubs like Hong Kong. By offering meals during difficult-to-book times like lunch hours, they found it easier to engage attendees in meaningful conversations and gather valuable client information.

A representative from a team experienced in web three events then shared their approach. They described their strategy of not seeking immediate business returns from events, acknowledging the long-term nature of building relationships in the B2B sector. The speaker shared a creative example of partnering with a coffee shop to create a branded experience, which facilitated interactions with Web3 companies. However, they echoed the common challenge of measuring the ROI of offline events, particularly when compared to the more straightforward metrics available for online activities.

 

 

“We either do fully physical or fully virtual. In-person is quite resource-heavy, so we are relying heavily on virtual, and we can connect people without logistical restrictions.”

 

Furthering the conversation, another marketing head discussed the challenges associated with monetising free event registrants. They explored the potential of offering premium options at events and aligning them with training courses to convert free participants into revenue sources. This strategy aimed to leverage the sponsor-engagement potential of these attendees into more direct revenue generation.

Subsequently, a participant highlighted the post-COVID landscape’s impact on event marketing. They noted the significant increase in venue costs and the challenge of balancing between costly physical events and virtual events, which now faced the hurdle of digital fatigue. The speaker stressed the importance of strategically selecting event formats and outlined their approach of avoiding hybrid models to ensure better participation and cost-effectiveness.

The discussion then turned to the effectiveness of virtual roundtables for regional engagement and the implementation of account-based marketing (ABM) for targeted approaches. The moderator highlighted how these strategies could help in reaching specific leadership groups, thereby optimising marketing efforts.

As the conversation evolved, participants delved into optimising the event marketing mix in the current climate, debating the merits of physical, virtual, or hybrid models. One speaker emphasised tailoring the event format to its objectives, suggesting that the nature of the event’s goals should dictate whether it should be held online, offline, or as a mix.

They shared success stories of recording in-person events for post-event viewing, enhancing attendee engagement and offering valuable content to those who could not attend.

Another participant echoed the preference for distinct virtual or physical events over hybrid models, citing similar challenges with attendee commitment and turnout. They also discussed strategies for utilising post-event recordings as a tool for engagement and lead nurturing.

One participant elaborated on hosting different types of events for various client categories, highlighting the distinction between institutional and retail clients in the Web3 industry. They noted the importance of tailoring event types to specific audiences, with high-end offline events being more suitable for institutional clients. The speaker also discussed how they incentivised participation in retail-focused events, emphasising the importance of offering tangible value to attendees, such as educational sessions on cryptocurrency investment.

The moderator reflected on the necessity of creating unique or experiential events to engage attendees effectively. They cited an example of a retreat that combined health and wellness with professional workshops, demonstrating how integrating unique experiences can attract different leaders to participate actively.

“In 2023, our learning was that what we had was not working. We’ve got to go old school. So now, we’re switching to much smaller events in 2024.”

Another speaker shared their preference for physical events, particularly in industries where the product is central to the business, such as heavy equipment. They observed that in such industries, traditional methods of engagement, like emails or phone calls, are more effective. They also noted exploring webinars for safety training in industries like warehousing, which rely less on physical products.

A participant shared past experiences with both virtual and physical events in the B2C space, particularly in gaming and content creation. They discussed how they used virtual events as a lead-up to physical events, enhancing brand engagement and providing attendees with unique experiences.

Another speaker focused on the importance of understanding that attendees have different motivations for attending events. They emphasised the need to cater to a variety of attendee personas and the importance of gathering pre-event feedback to tailor the event content and features accordingly.

A participant discussed their company’s approach to event sponsorship and hosting. They observed that sponsoring large conferences had not been as effective as expected, leading to a strategy shift towards more focused educational sessions and speaker events.

Further contributions highlighted the varying effectiveness of event marketing strategies across different industries. One speaker shared that webinars for C-level executives had low attendance rates, leading them to focus on smaller, more intimate events. Another noted that while sponsoring third-party events was still relevant for some industries, it was not effective for others, leading to a preference for hosting smaller-scale events.

In the closing minutes, the moderator asked participants to share their views on the future of event marketing. Responses varied, with some looking forward to advancements in augmented and virtual reality technologies, while others anticipated a continued blend of physical and virtual events and a shift towards smaller, more intimate gatherings.

Marketing Roundtable Discussions With The Ortus Club

The seamless optimisation between traditional marketing practices and future-forward strategies is more critical than ever. In this convergence of ideas, The Ortus Club stands out as a prime example of excellence. With their adept event marketing services, they not only understand the pulse of the market but also craft experiences that resonate deeply with audiences. For those navigating the innovations of marketing, partnering with experts like The Ortus Club can transform potential into profound impact.


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