Marketing Strategy

Making it Feel In-Person: Events During COVID

By September 3, 2020No Comments

So we all had our (B2B) marketing plans significantly disrupted when tradeshows were canceled, rescheduled, or put on hold! Many of us have pivoted to virtual events without so much as missing a beat. I recently attended a webinar hosted by Marketing Profs: Strategies for the New Normal. One of the presentations centered on ‘Taking Your Virtual Events to the Next Level’ presented by Adobe – Marketo.

I found their creativity and strategic approach to virtual events energizing, so I thought I would share what they discussed.

Adobe – Marketo’s approach is how we all should be thinking about and pivoting virtually. It’s not just about buying software to host an event and running sessions. It’s about having a thoughtful strategy.

I get it. We wear many hats, and often the strategy gets overlooked because we need to get something done. But I strongly encourage you to step back and rethink events – develop a plan for your target audiences and lead gen goals – then execute on the tactics that will achieve them.

To summarize Adobe – Marketo’s virtual event strategy into 4 points:

  1. The mindset for each event is laser-focused on making it feel in-person. They are so invested in this; they hire vendors who commit to touching on all 5-senses.
  2. The sales team is top of mind, with the goal of each event being relationship building.
  3. They follow a funnel approach to event lead generation with different target audiences for each stage.
    • Brand awareness: Fill up the top of the funnel with leads.
      Tactic: They send direct mail gifts.

      • I know what you are going to think: Do they send direct mail to their house? Yes. How do they get home addresses? The vendor they use offers the recipient an option to accept, exchange, or donate the gift and then ask for their address.
    • Cross/upselling to existing opportunities.
      Tactic: Virtual content such as lunch & learns, and panel events.
    • Retention for current clients at the bottom for the funnel.
      Tactic: Customers receive kits and a known personality/brand hosts the event.

      • For example, a cooking class hosted by a celebrity chef, and the event attendees are sent a kit of all the ingredients to make the meal alongside the chef. Some vendors offer various types of classes, from planting succulents to wine & beer tasting.
  4. Shelve the presentation. Focus on high-touch, VIP experiences. The stat I found most interesting that they shared was that virtual is working. They have 100% attendance at many events!

Outside of having a strategy, these are just solid ideas and good reminders of what to be thinking about when planning events.

Maybe. Just maybe. Virtual events are here to stay, even once in-person makes it a comeback.

Source: How to Take Your Virtual Events to the Next Level [Webinar presented by Adobe – Marketo Engage on August 13, 2020, in partnership with Marketing Profs].

Lindsay Groth

Author Lindsay Groth

Lindsay is a Senior Marketing Consultant at Clarity Quest. She spent 15 years as an in-house marketing leader before joining the agency world. To learn more about Lindsay, please visit our leadership page.

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