Enterprise Event Marketing: The Definitive Guide
As businesses scale, their needs do as well. In this guide, we will review how enterprise organizations can approach event marketing with actionable tips and concrete examples.
What is Enterprise Event Marketing?
Enterprise event marketing is an experiential-focused marketing strategy that is executed by enterprise class organizations, which may be B2B-focused, B2C-focused or a hybrid of the two. Specifically, enterprise event marketing enables these organizations to unify their goals, analyze their processes and optimize these processes on a cross-team basis. In order to accomplish this task, enterprise organizations frequently adopt a rigorous event technology stack.
How an Event Technology Stack Enables Enterprise Event Marketing
As mentioned above, enterprise organizations have unique needs that must be met for an event marketing strategy to be considered a success. These needs include but are not limited to:
- Cross-event analytics for monitoring the success of campaigns
- Advanced reporting for proving event ROI
- Contacts database management for segmenting, tracking and messaging
- Complex software integrations for cross-team communication
- End-to-end event management systems that consolidate the variety of software used
- Advanced customization for clear and consistent communication of the company brand
Each of these needs can be addressed by an event technology stack: a bundle of systems that work hand-in-hand. The base of the event technology stack is event management software, followed by customer relationship management systems (CRMs), marketing automation software and a number of other potential tools.
5 Enterprise Event Marketing Examples
Now that you have an understanding of enterprise event marketing and how it can be supported with an event technology stack, let’s take a look at some examples from leading brands. Note that each of the below enterprise organizations utilize an event technology stack to build, measure and grow their event marketing plans.
1) Bank of Ireland - Founded in 1783, Bank of Ireland is one of the “Big Four” Irish banks. This enterprise organization primarily runs events for lead generation, sales acceleration and customer appreciation. The Enterprise Town event series, in which Bank of Ireland teams up with business communities to support local enterprise, is one way that this organization drives customer satisfaction through events.
2) CoinDesk - While the full-time team at CoinDesk may be much smaller than the teams that one would typically associate with an enterprise company, this cryptocurrency publisher organizes what is the largest cryptocurrency event in the world. Their annual flagship event Consensus was estimated to host more than 8,000 attendees in 2018—an exemplary case of how a publisher can use events to grow their event brand.
You can learn more about how CoinDesk leverages technology to drive their event marketing strategy by watching the below video.
3) Electronic Arts - B2B event marketing is often customer-facing, but it doesn’t need to be. Consider Electronic Arts (EA). With over 300 million game players, EA is one of the largest gaming companies in the world. To satisfy a global customer base, it takes a global team. EA hosts a number of internal events across the world to share best practices, trends and the company vision with its thousands of employees.
4) Gainsight - Growing B2B companies need a way to maximize customer satisfaction and, in turn, retention. Since 2009, Gainsight’s customer success software has enabled organizations to do just that. Supporting this vision, Gainsight annually holds Pulse, a conference that goes beyond satisfying current customers to serve as a universally reputed event in the customer success industry at large.
5) SolarWinds - Sometimes you need to bring the event to them. SolarWinds enables managed service providers (MSPs) to work more efficiently and profitably with the company’s proprietary software. In addition to producing an annual conference for their customers, SolarWinds also organizes an event roadshow series that brings the latest product updates and best practices to customers and prospects around the world.
10 Enterprise Event Marketing Best Practices
1) Determine Your Goals
Enterprise event marketing campaigns generally require a heavy investment and opportunity cost. In order to commit to a new campaign, a marketer will need to clearly define the goals of the event and how those goals will be achieved. Common enterprise event marketing goals include:
- Increasing Brand Awareness
- Generating Leads
- Generating Sales Pipeline
- Building Industry Relations
- Building Partner Relations
- Building Investor Relations
- Establishing Thought Leadership
- Increasing Customer Retention
- Increasing Employee Satisfaction
The more specific a goal is, the more helpful it will be in guiding the outcome of your event. For this reason, we recommend choosing SMART goals - specific, measurable, achievable, results-oriented, and timely.
2) Align with Your Teams
Some enterprise organizations may have a dedicate events team, others may place events under the domain of the marketing or operations team. Regardless of which team is overseeing the execution of an event campaign, other teams (sales, product, customer success) will need to be involved, as well.
At a sales acceleration event, the sales team will be engaging with prospects. At a user conference, the product team may be involved with how the product is discussed.
Before committing to a theme for her organizations annual flagship event, Cathy McPhillips of Content Marketing Institute will check in with her PR team, her operations team, her event manager and other team members to see if that theme is a good fit.
(Source: Content Marketing Institute)
3) Understand Buyer Personas
For many enterprise organizations, buyer personas are a requisite pillar of the marketing processes in place. However, when buyer personas are applied to event marketing campaigns they can result in increased event registrations, additional sales pipeline and higher attendee satisfaction. After all, if an attendee aligns with an organization’s buyer personas, they are likely to find an event by that company to be more relevant.
A great place to start is with your organization’s current buyer personas. This data can then be combined with data from your event technology stack to identify the best attendees for your events.
4) Create a Promotional Plan
When an organization is running an external or internal event, they will need to send out a steady stream of communications in order to drive awareness, registrations and anticipation. When creating an event promotion plan, there are several tactics to keep in mind:
- See how you can leverage existing channels like your organization’s blog, main website and social media networks
- Repurpose content from previous events—such as testimonials, wrap-up videos, or session live streams.
- Coordinate with partners, sponsors and other key stakeholders
- Turn your attendees into event ambassadors with social referral tools, like Ticket Boost
5) Leverage Event Software
As mentioned above, the event technology stack is the cornerstone of any enterprise event marketing campaign and event software forms the cornerstone of any event technology stack.
As Amy Rosenberg, Field Marketing Manager at Namely puts it: “Working with Bizzabo has transformed Namely’s events. Building local communities across the country is a key part of our marketing strategy. With Bizzabo’s technology, we can scale quickly while giving our attendees a seamless and on-brand experience. Plus, the ROI of each event is no longer a mystery.”
Whether you are using Bizzabo or an alternative, event software is quickly becoming a must for the enterprise event marketer.
Learn about the top event software providers in the Event Software Buyer’s Guide.
6) Drive Engagement with Event Apps
Another component of the event technology stack is the event app. Whereas event software serves as the backend of an event, the event app is attendee-facing. Modern event apps enable attendees to network with other attendees, navigate the event agenda, receive push notifications from event organizers, quickly post to social networks, participate in live polls, rate sessions and speakers, and easily surface important event information.
7) Ensure Clear and Consistent Branding
When it comes to planning an event there are multiple touch-points that event marketers should be mindful of. These include:
- The event website
- The event app
- The event agenda
- Event email marketing communications
- Social media
- Event design
- Booths and exhibition spaces
Given the sheer amount of touch-points involved in the attendee journey, it’s essential for organizers to closely work with their designers to maintain a consistent event brand. Using an all-in-one event management software can also help address this need.
Consider Branch's beautifully branded event website featured below:
8) Maintain Data Compliance
One of the benefits of modern enterprise event marketing is the ability to track and measure data through an event technology stack. While this data can be used to optimize event and prove event ROI, it also presents a challenge for the organizations that are managing it.
Fortunately, a number of regulations (like GDPR) and certifications (PCI compliance) are now available to help organizations better manage and protect the data that they are responsible for. You can learn more about this topic in the Event Data Security Guide.
9) Listen to Your Stakeholders
At the center of any event marketing campaign are the attendees. While it may not be the primary KPI for an event, high customer satisfaction is what will enable an enterprise event strategy to scale. The same can also be extended to event partners and sponsors.
If an event’s partners and sponsors are satisfied, they will likely continue support. If they are not satisfied, event organizers can identify specific areas for mending the relationship.
Some event management systems even enables attendees to provide feedback on speakers and sessions directly from within the event app or digital agenda. Sharing this data with you stakeholders and then receiving their feedback on how to proceed is a good way to maintain a transparent relationship with your event partners and sponsors.
10) Measure, Learn and Grow
The feedback of stakeholders is a valuable indicator of an event’s success, but it’s not the only one. Successful enterprise event marketers will revisit an event's original goals and then compare how the event performed in relation to them. Again, an event technology stack will streamline this process.
Wrapping Up: Your Enterprise Event Marketing Plan
When it comes to scaling an event strategy, it takes an organized process that is supported by a suite of technology systems.
- Before you do anything else, outline your event goals and create a promotional plan that aligns with them.
- For the best event outcome, align with all relevant teams. This may open up additional opportunities and will prevent data from slipping through the cracks.
- Target the optimal attendees using buyer personas and incorporate your event branding at all touch points when communicating with them.
- Collect data throughout your event marketing campaign and optimize your strategy based off your findings.
- While doing so, be mindful of data management best practices.
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