Looking to build a corporate event management plan but not sure where to begin? Check out this article to learn the top best practices that lead to a strong corporate event management strategy—in 2019 and beyond.
Live events have become a key part of marketing efforts for both B2B and B2C companies. According to Event Marketing 2019: Benchmarks and Trends Report, events are the single most effective channel for achieving business goals. However, the amount of moving pieces with an event is significantly greater than those in an email marketing campaign or social media campaign.
The key to any successful marketing campaign is to make the process repeatable so that campaign success is always attainable. The process must be converted into a scalable plan that can be reapplied to future marketing initiatives. The same goes for events.
In the following section, we’ll review the best practices for launching a corporate event strategy.
For more information on the latest trends and best practices in corporate event management, read the Event Marketing 2019: Benchmarks and Trends Report.
Set Overarching Goals
Diving straight into an event strategy without properly defining the goals of the event can lead to poor results. That’s why it’s essential to set aside ample time to articulate the objectives for an event. This process can also give your team the opportunity to come up with other creative corporate event ideas.
Be thorough with this initial goal-setting process so that each successive step falls in line with the bigger picture.
- Define Your Audience: Whether you are launching a B2C or B2B event marketing campaign, targeting a large group of individuals as part of a general brand awareness strategy or a small ring of executives as part of a focused multi-touch marketing strategy will determine the ultimate aims of your event.
- Make it all measurable – Setting goals that are not measurable will make it difficult to understand the impact of your event. With each main objective, attach a relevant event KPI to keep track of its progress and measure performance over time.
- Standardize metrics across events – Establishing metrics isn’t always enough. If your event strategy consists of a portfolio of different events, you’ll want to ensure consistent metrics across all event campaigns. This significantly assists with the post-event data analysis because a colorized view of all event data will yield the most insightful and actionable results.
- Align goals across teams – Perhaps the most important aspect of the goal-setting process is to ensure alignment across the marketing and sales teams. Having a shared objective and tethering that KPI to the performance of each team will incentivize both groups to work together. Cari Goodrich, Senior Events Director at Looker, also emphasizes the importance of marketing-sales alignment for event strategy:
Manage Your Contacts Database
Once the goals have been solidified, the next step is to organize and define the audience you’ll want to target. Having a clean and reliable contact database is important for not only the event at hand but for all future event marketing campaigns.
- Integrate with your CRM – Firstly, make sure to sync your event software with your customer relationship management platform. This provides a central location for all contact info and makes running your campaigns much easier as you won’t have to hop in and out of platforms to target different audiences. You may also be interested in exploring other event software integrations.
- Segment audiences – Once all of your contact data in one place, use filtering capabilities to segment the audience based on different properties such as job type or industry. This will help you keep an inventory of the number of contacts you have for each category as well as assist you in executing targeted marketing campaigns, which we’ll discuss in the next section.
- Ensure GDPR compliance – All of these contact management best practices should be prefaced with the fact that GDPR will largely influence your handling of this info. Although enacted in the European Union, the General Data Protection Regulation applies to all companies who interact with EU citizens. This means that nearly every corporation must be thorough and transparent with their data handling. Event data security should be of the highest priority and outlining how your company is GDPR compliant will be important to maintain a trusting relationship with your audience.
Promote The Event
Event promotion is how you spread awareness, build anticipation and ultimately drive registrations. Because there are many ways to market your event, using a multi-channel event marketing approach for event promotion will ensure that you are taking advantage of all resources.
- Website – Given that the event website will be the primary touch point for potential attendees, it should encompass all of the strengths of your event while being packaged neatly into your brand aesthetic. Articulate how your event stands out from the rest and makes sure to maintain visual brand consistency throughout. Check out this example of a strong event website by Namely:The simple, on-brand colors and clear value propositions of Namely’s annual user conference make it memorable for the website visitor. For more inspiration, check out this list of event websites that drive registration.
- Email marketing – As mentioned in the previous section, segmentation is crucial for effective campaigns and this especially rings true for email marketing. Segmenting emails based on industry, location, industry, and other contact properties will yield higher open and click-through rates. Each segment should have its own triggered workflow that sends an email after a certain action, such as opening the previous email or visiting a certain page on the event website. Having a series of emails based on behavior will make the experience much more personalized and relevant for the recipient.
- Social media – The key to social media campaigns for events is to maintain uniformity. Use the same hashtag and handle across platforms so people know how to refer to your event on social media. Additionally, devise a social media content calendar at least one month in advance to make sure people have posts to engage with, keeping your social media buzz healthy leading up to the event.
- Content marketing – Whether it be blog posts, video series or a combination of both, content marketing is always a great way to spread awareness about your event. Serial content works well because it gives your audience a reason to continually come back to your page for new content. The example below shows a video compilation promoting the annual Dreamforce conference:
This behind-the-scenes video series makes people want to know more about the event while also keeping it top-of-mind as the registration deadline gets closer.
Drive Online Event Registration
Event promotion is all about spreading awareness for your event. Moving further down the corporate event marketing funnel, you’ll want to have specific campaigns dedicated to driving people to register for your event. Whether your goal is generating revenue from ticket sales or building relationships with prospects and customers, you need people to register for your event.
- Early bird tickets – Let potential attendees know that there is only a limited time to purchase discounted tickets. Create campaigns around unique ticket types like early bird pricing to further the feeling of urgency and to spur action on their part. The following example shows how HubSpot brilliantly reminded people of their limited time offering through a humorous and timely email and gif. (More tips on increasing event ticket sales here.)
- Promo codes – Once a person has registered for your event, generate a promo code they can share on their social media channels. If someone else completes registration with the code, the person who shared the code will receive a discount. You can also make it so that the person who uses the code also receives the discount. These are known as one-sided and double-sided incentives.
This type of referral marketing has the potential to go viral so make sure your corporate event management software has such a feature. Below you can see how the Bizzabo platform facilitates this kind of marketing through a feature called Ticket Boost.
- Remarketing campaigns – One strategy that complements the aforementioned event promotion strategies is remarketing (otherwise known as retargeting) ads. Remarketing can be done in many ways. One way is to serve ads to those who have visited your page using cookies on your event website.