By Lara Pryor
When I ask partners about their marketing campaign strategies, the No. 1 response is, “We have an event planned.” I cringe a little every time I hear that because of a simple truth I’ve learned over the years: An event is not a campaign.
While events are often seen as a sure answer to all marketing and lead-generating needs, they do not represent a sound, comprehensive marketing strategy. There is much, much more involved.
Don’t get me wrong — events are a great way to meet customers, share your message, introduce solutions and demonstrate value to both prospects and current customers. But ensuring investments pay off and goals are realized requires a lot of advance preparation prior to kickoff.
My advice: Start well before game day or risk spending a lot of time, money and effort for naught. This is where campaign planning comes into play.
As a longtime channel-partner marketer, I’ve come to realize that a sound strategy encompasses many elements that often go overlooked. Such oversights inevitably lead to teams that are frustrated because the hefty price tag for an event yielded little ROI.
Before planning another event, here are three best practices to consider:
Bottom line: Your objective should always be uncovering leads that can be nurtured into closed deals. Define a number. Set it high enough to make you a little uncomfortable, and then make it happen!
After these three aspects have been determined, it’s time to turn to messaging. Consistency is essential across all mediums, whether online, in person or print. When preparing your outreach, consider the following:
When It’s the Big Day
The moment you have been planning for has finally arrived! You have your registered guests, the venue lined up, the AV, catering, agenda, speakers, content, giveaways and name tags squared away. The day goes exactly as planned, not a single hiccup. Best-case scenario is that everyone shows up – this is a dream of every marketer – but most likely you have 50 percent turnout, which is typical, so don’t fret.
Now that it’s over, you take a deep breath, and the sales team congratulates you for a well-thought-out event, even though you know much more went into making this day a reality than ordering lunch. You then work with your sales team to have every registrant/attendee uploaded into your CRM/Salesforce tool.
Next steps are to start again from the very beginning of your campaign, only this time with follow-up messaging to each and every person, whether they attended or not. Of course, there should be different messaging for those who couldn’t make it. Also, include a social media and email note, as well as a personal call to solidify new relationships.
With a little bit of TLC and diligent cultivation, the fruits of all of your labors will start to flourish in a big way.
Lara Pryor is director of partner marketing at Armor, a cybersecurity company that keeps sensitive, regulated data safe and compliant in the cloud.