Here at Banzai, we drove quality attendance to more than 1,400 customer events in 2019. As we turn the calendar to 2020, we wanted to highlight a few of our favorites, and some of the ones we felt exemplified the key components of a successful field marketing event.
We saw a few consistent themes throughout our favorite events over the past year that every event marketer should try to incorporate into their plans for 2020.
1. Incentives go a long way.
Contrary to popular belief, an event incentive can encompass more than just, say, raffling of a Google Home once the content presentation concludes, although that’s not to say that’s not an effective way to promote an event. Incentives can be as simple as an activity tied to a venue, like hitting the range at TopGolf or going ice skating. Even quality networking can serve as an incentive. At any rate, incentives are vital to setting your event apart and getting the right people to attend.
2. Don’t be afraid to get creative (while staying on brand).
Your goal with your events is to break through the noise. A surefire, albeit not necessarily easy, way to make your events stand out is to break from the norm and find a clever and interesting way to present your content, perhaps through a significant guest speaker or unique activities.
3. Rinse and repeat.
That said, no need to always reinvent the wheel. If you find an event format that works for you and your target audience, try to replicate it when and where you can.
4. Continue to learn about your target audience.
Still, you always want to stay aware of changes within your target audience. What worked last year might not work this year. As you’re strategizing for 2020, make sure you factor in some time to get reacclimated with your target audience.
5. Develop events around industry best practices and education -- NOT around selling your product.
People will walk away knowing about your product, but you really want them to walk away excited about where the industry is going. You want them to feel like you supplied them with tools to do their job better and grow in their career, and if you can do that, their awareness around your brand will be much more positive.
We featured more than a dozen events in Friday’s webinar, but here are four of our favorites. If you want to see all of our favorites, make sure to watch the full webinar on-demand.
Webinar: ON24 - 10 Common Webinar Mistakes to Avoid in 2019
It should come as no surprise that one of the best webinars we worked with this year came from ON24. ON24 is, after all, in the webinar business. Since they know their medium inside and out, they provided valuable insight into what makes webinars great and how to avoid some common challenges and “oops” moments faced when producing virtual events.
What made it stand out: The event focused on mistakes and bad event experiences, creating the feeling of common cause among it’s attendees. Mark Bornstein, ON24’s VP of Content Marketing, was also an engaging host who frequently interacted with the audience.
Roadshow: RingCentral - VIP Lunch
RingCentral drove home the “rinse and repeat” tactic with their VIP Lunch, hosted in roughly 10 cities across the country. At each event, IT leaders gathered for an afternoon of conversation and best practices around the customer experience over a high-quality meal.
What made it stand out: RingCentral emphasized upscale restaurants like Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse, and Morton’s Steakhouse for the lunches. They also kept all the events to a tight two hours and made sure to tell a customer story as part of the programming at each stop.
Thought Leadership: Saturna Labs FBI Cyber Security Briefing
Saturna Labs, which supports Managed Service Providers (MSPs) in their marketing initiatives, frequently hosts cyber security briefings targeted for small-medium size business owners and leaders. At an event on November 14th at Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Minneapolis, Saturna hosted a special agent from the FBI to provide best practices and insights focused on security threats and incidents.
What made it stand out: Bringing in an expert third party speaker, especially one with the cache of an FBI agent, really elevated the event’s profile. That speaker also helped break down a complex topic for non-security professionals.
Networking: ServiceNow - Houston Holiday Happy Hour
ServiceNow hosted a year-end happy hour event for its Houston-area prospects at Topgolf. Food, drinks, and golf were the only item on the agenda, as ServiceNow wanted an informal, relaxed environment that would authentically promote networking.
What made it stand out: Not having a set agenda isn’t always a great choice; but in this case, it worked perfectly for what ServiceNow wanted to accomplish. The event gave prospects, customers, and their guests a great chance to meet the ServiceNow team while enjoying themselves at a popular entertainment venue.
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