Over the past year, Banzai has seen and supported some incredible events (more than 900 to be exact). We’ve worked with a variety of companies, event types, and multiple different target audience profiles, leading us to learn a few things along the way. Using our own event data, conversations with our customers, and great third party research, we have found that:
- Understanding your target audience is essential
- Time and place matters
- Don’t overlook optimization
- Event type influences attendance
- Events are a top marketing channel
1.Understand your Target Audience
Knowing who your target audience is for your B2B event (or any event) impacts every aspect of your planning and production. When creating your perfect prospect profile, ask yourself:
- Who are they?
- What motivates them?
- Why should they attend your event?
It can be easy to fall into the trap of producing an event that makes more sense for your company than it does for your prospects. Maybe it’s an event that your organization has always produced, or it worked well in one city, so you decide to replicate it across the country. Before committing to an event, ask yourself the three W’s above and think like your prospects. Does this type of event, location, and content make sense for them?
Knowing who your prospective audience is and what motivates them can help you tailor your event to make sure you get butts in seats. The right incentive can go a long way in attracting the right audience. Some of the incentives we’ve seen include CPE credits, free ride share codes, and personalized memorabilia. The key is to make sure your incentives are clear and obvious to all potential attendees.
2. Time and Place Matters
When reviewing the 900+ events we supported over the past year, we found that the most popular time to host events is during the months of March, April, and May. There is also a significant uptick in October and November. This can be attributed to a variety of things such as not competing with the holidays, summer vacation, or end of year planning. Knowing when the event busy season is, allows you to plan accordingly. Are you willing and able to compete with other events trying to get your prospect's attention or is there a way to host an event that attracts your target audience during the “off-season”?
We also reviewed the 50 most successful events Banzai supported last year and found that the majority of events were hosted in California or Texas. When looking at the successful events that targeted c-level executives, we found that the majority were hosted in the afternoon or the evening.
When determining the time and place of your event, understanding your target audience is key. It is also essential to understand the potential logistics and what your asking your attendees to commit to. What is the parking like that time of day? What about traffic? How far are you asking them to travel? Asking your attendees to travel 10 miles during morning rush hour is a much different ask in New York City than it is in Phoenix, Arizona.
3. Don’t Overlook Optimization
As marketers, we understand that optimization is key to an effective digital strategy, but it also plays a huge role in your event marketing strategy. The goal is to create an event that has a high chance of converting to registrants. This means that your landing page, emails, event content, and overall messaging needs to be created with conversion top-of-mind. Some of the best practices we have seen work well are:
- Keep it simple and short
- Personalization is important
- Keep it conversational
- Stay above the fold
Banzai utilized these best practices for our latest webinar and saw a 78% conversion rate.
4. Event Type Influences Attendance
The five events that we see with the most frequency are:
- Workshop: Hands-on tutorial
- Conference: 8+ hours with multiple content tracks
- Demo + Activity: Brief product overview accompanied by a fun group activity
- Forum: Thought-leadership focused content
- Roadshow: Repeatable event held in cities around the country
When reviewing the top 50 successful events list, we found that Forums and Demo + Activity were the most frequently used event types. Forums take the shape of roundtables, panel discussions, fireside chats, and more. They work well because they showcase your organization and product as leaders in the industry working to solve the problems of your prospects. Demo + Activity events are more product and sales-focused but offer your guests a chance to try something new while getting to know your brand. Great examples include sports games, wine tasting, movie screenings, and TopGolf.
When determining your event format, consider the 3 W’s mentioned above and make sure your event is answering a specific need of your prospect (even if it’s a fun evening at a baseball game).
5. Events are a Top Marketing Channel
As an event and field marketer, you know that events are a powerful lead generation channel. B2B events drive quality leads at every stage of the funnel. Over the past year, research has found that events are viewed by those at the highest levels of business as a necessary tool. The Harvard Business Review, in partnership with Splash, surveyed marketing leaders and found that 93% of the respondents say their organizations place a priority on hosting events. Events are fast becoming a core component of a well-rounded and successful marketing strategy.
In the end, a successful event is all about understanding your target audience. Knowing who your prospects and customers are, the challenges they face, and what motivates them, influences every aspect of your planning and allows you to produce an impactful event.