The Post-Event Communication Challenge
I want to state for the record that I am a fan of in-person events as tactics in a Demand Generation Strategy. I am one of the 69% of B2B marketers that rate in-person events as the most effective tactic in demand generation as reported in the 2015 Content Marketing Institute Benchmark Study. I have metrics to prove that in-person events deliver the highest return on investment for ANNUITAS, especially if the event includes a speaking opportunity.
However, events can be challenging to execute as there are a thousand details to be managed, yet when done well, the return on investment can be significant. The challenge post-event is not something most marketers think about. Why? Well, the challenge is usually not for the marketer, but for the buyer and that is why modern marketers need to think about post-event communications.
What’s the challenge from the buyer’s perspective post-event? It is dealing with the onslaught of emails, phone calls, texts and other follow-up activities from the marketers who now have their names. Yes, the attendees did agree to be scanned to enter to win your contest or obtain a new pen, but many of them are not going to Engage with your sales team now, or ever, and that needs to be ok with you as a marketer.
When marketers send out post-event communication, we tend to be relentless in our follow-up, ignoring the level of Engagement by our buyer. The Engagement is what matters, not that you have a new name to add to the database! Events are a marketing tactic, not a strategy and should be part of an integrated demand generation program with ongoing communications to buyers. When we add names to our database post-event and send out dedicated thank you emails or specific follow-up, that is fine and should be done. However, when those prospects don’t immediately respond to our emails or calls, we keep emailing them wondering why they are not responding. It’s counterintuitive to every best-practice we know, yet we keep doing it.
The Lead Management Process is more complicated than this, but the idea is to pay attention to the level of Engagement of your prospects and those that fit the right buyer profile. You cannot make prospects respond, no matter how many emails you send. Focus on sharing relevant content to prospects via well-designed programs and if and when they take action? Bravo- well done! Then, let your Lead Management Process do the rest. Leave the prospects who aren’t Engaging with your content and just wanted the pen…alone.
Marketers need to think about the challenge with standard post-event communications from the buyer’s perspective. Post-event communications are just as important as pre-show communications. It’s about Engagement and then Conversion to close that drives ROI, not just names added to a database. Always think about your buyer.
Author: Erika Goldwater CIPP/US @erikawg is Vice President, Marketing, ANNUITAS