How Digital Marketing Can Elevate Event Marketing
Event Marketing Hero: Bianca Hu, Account Director, Digital Marketing Strategy Delightful Communications
Banzai’s Event Marketing Hero series profiles leaders in the event, demand generation, and field marketing fields who are changing the marketing game through B2B events and webinars.
Bianca Hu is a modern international marketer. After attending Columbia University, Bianca helped run special events at the UN and amplify talks for TedXSeattle before bringing her unique skill set to the world of digital marketing. Check out Banzai’s latest profile to read how she now uses this wide array of knowledge to help her clients at Delightful Communications adapt to markets and generate demand and leads via events and marketing campaigns all over the world.
Tell us a little bit more about you and what you do with Delightful Communications.
Bianca: I'm currently the account director of digital marketing strategy at Delightful Communications. We're a Seattle based B2B Technology marketing agency that specializes in digital marketing, social media, content creation and personal branding.
I work with our account teams to develop and execute integrated marketing strategies to make our client's brand discoverable, shareable and memorable. I primarily work with our Microsoft clients.
For more than three years, I've been focusing on Microsoft IoT with IoT in Action, which consists of a series of global in-person events and webinars, as well as other initiatives.
In your experience, how do events and digital marketing work together?
Bianca: I think everything is digital right now. In-person events are offline, but there are definitely tons of elements that we need a digital strategy behind.
In demand generation, you need to use digital channels to promote the event and drive people to your event. [For] PR, in the traditional way, we invite journalists and reporters to attend, but all the media activities are digital right now. You need to have a digital strategy behind your PR as well.
[Regarding] event day engagement, a lot of the event managers really focus on all the people at the event, but there are tons of opportunities around digital that you can do, like using social media to make sure people who registered for the event but don't have the time or chance to attend can still engage with your event content, as well as people that didn't register, but might still be your target audience.
We don't think the event just ends when it ends. After the event wraps up, we are constantly creating content based out of the information we gathered from the event itself and we use it to further extend the impact of the event to help you reach the business goal you’re trying to achieve. I think digital is everywhere, even if the event is offline.
Do you apply the same digital strategies for both large events and smaller, more targeted events?
Bianca: I'd say both. for example, the IoT in Action Event Series is a public facing large event that we want to drive a lot of Microsoft partners and customers to attend, but it's definitely targeted. The goal for the event is to win both partners and customers by showcasing the latest technology, help them build partnerships, and sell solutions. So we use tactics to drive very specific audience from some key industries.
The organic approach is very important for targeting the right people you want to reach because your field team usually has connections with the right people who are already interested in this space and are likely to attend. The partners and sponsors that are participating have good connections with their customers or their own partners who are likely to attend the event as well.
People are not just pixels. We need to use this people-power to really build the trusted relationship with the target audience you want to talk to. Compared to the paid channels that we use, these organic registrations are always of a better quality because they are from the people who are in the network already.
As an agency partner, what's your measurement for success when it comes to event demand gen and amplification?
I think most of the events have two big categories of goals. One is really the marketing goals - generating leads. For a lot of the events, how many leads you can generate from the event is the key KPI, and another aspect is brand awareness. So besides generating leads - actual numbers you can count - are you amplifying the messaging? A few metrics that we've been using to measure include social media impressions, social media reach, and PR articles generated. It's always a mixture of hard metrics like registrations, attendees, leads, as well as the brand awareness KPIs.
What are the lessons you learned from working on event marketing?
A lesson I learned is that events are very different across different regions. And a lot of the best practices we’ve learned from one place are not applicable if you are targeting another region.
We run a lot of events in APAC with different languages and cultures. From a demand gen perspective, you need to understand what marketing channels they're using there. For example, with China we can't provide social media and creative assets for the regular social platforms we use here - Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn - to local team to share, as they can't use those platforms there.
Another interesting learning is that the demand gen window is very different across regions. Like for APAC, people tend to start promoting the event minus four weeks or so. Our best practices start minus 10, just to prepare early and test out all the channels, and make sure you have time to optimize based on your learnings.
Just some interesting findings that I noticed during managing events across different regions. It’s pretty fun to notice.
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