One of the key objectives of any event is to meet and engage with target accounts, have meaningful conversations and come away with some decent leads, and hosting your own conference gives you complete control of the agenda, and the invitation list.
It makes sense that if you build your own agenda, offer compelling content and host your event in a good and convenient venue you can attract an audience who are interested in your offering and are at the right stage in their buying cycle.
You have a strong story; they have a requirement – voila!
Sadly, it’s not that easy. All too often companies make considerable investment in building their own events but fail to invest in securing the right delegates to register. The result? A mad rush at the last minute to get ‘bums on seats’, to fill the conference room and avoid the embarrassment of their sponsors and guest speakers talking to an empty room. This serves one purpose – the room is indeed full but there’s a possibility its full of people who want a day out and a free lunch on you.
So how to get the right people on your delegate list?
We support vendors with audience acquisition and management services for all types of events across EMEA, from executive briefings and regional seminars through to large scale conferences with thousands of attendees. Here are our top tips for success:
Articulate the value
It sounds simple, but what value will attendees realise from the event?
We write a value proposition that clearly articulates the ‘why attend’, tailoring the message for each key vertical, market or product focus. This enables us to target specific personas and buying groups with relevant messages.
A clear audience acquisition campaign
Our event experts work alongside the existing events team to design, execute and manage an audience acquisition campaign to drive interest from the right profile of audience. The program is multi-touch, multi-tactic and is designed to raise awareness and drive interest then convert that interest into registrations.
Keep talking to registered delegates
It’s so easy to keep the focus on registrations and lose sight of maintaining a conversation with registered delegates. We build a nurture stream for registered folks, keeping them informed with event news, ancillary events, cool demos and new speakers. We also run a ‘bring a colleague’ program to enlist registrants (and speakers!) as influencers within their networks.
Add value with a concierge service!
To really provide value-add over and above digital communication we offer a concierge service to enable VIP delegates to achieve a bespoke event experience. We advise on session to attend, arrange meetings with senior execs, offer private meeting space and facilitate any travel and logistical support they need. This layer of VIP service ensures your high profile delegates place value on the event and significantly reduces the number of dreaded no-shows.
If you would like to avoid the ‘rent a crowd’ approach to audience acquisition and would like to learn more about the Yellow Spider approach, please get in touch. We’d be delighted to chat through our experience and how we could help you maximise your ROI with the right audience at your next event.
Social media can be key to a successful event. It helps you create interest, stand out in a crowded room and ultimately drive customers to your booth. A few actions taken by the right amount of people can have a significant impact on the success of an event and consequently on your business.
Social media is all about multiplying the outreach and it’s more straightforward than you might think. When we run an event for client’s we follow these five golden rules.
Join the social conversation.
Online conversations are happening in the runup to, and during, all major events. By adding the official event hashtag to your post the event audience becomes your audience – tell them what you are planning, where you are and what to talk to you about. Remember show organisers frequently repost messages that includes their hashtags which increases the reach of your posts!
The power is in the hashtag. Use it, always.
Hashtags not only make any word searchable online, they also group information posted by whoever, wherever, whenever. As well as the event hashtag make sure you identify and use your company keywords for anything you post on social media. The rule is no more than three.
When it comes to social engagement content is king. Be sure you have done your preparation and have relevant content ready to share. Use the show traffic to amplify your digital campaigns and drive audiences to also visit your website and download your assets. If you don’t have your own content most events and tradeshows have apps you can download prior to or during the event which are always a good source of content, so share comment and like.
Post, like, share, engage
Be active and monitor your online activity. Post, like, re-tweet, share and reply! Being on top of what’s going on and being responsive will help you increase your company’s virtual presence at the event and any follow-up actions take less time than the original one. Make the most of each post, after all, social media is all about engaging with your audience. Remember that this part can be done by anybody, so have some help lined up back at the office so your booth team are not spending their time on smartphones!
Embrace the power of video
Video marketing has emerged as one of the best ways to engage your target audience. Events are providing countless opportunities to generate video content that will create a sense of community, drive traffic to your stand and extend your presence. You can record attendees’ opinions, share industry upcoming trends or video the team to give a touch of authenticity.
As a seasoned marketer I like to think I am forward thinking and don’t spend too much time looking in the metaphorical rear view mirror. That’s indeed the case for most things at Yellow Spider, until it comes to finding out more about partners….. you see, it’s all about the data.
Data really is key to understanding your channel. I spend a lot of time talking about how important it is to have the right partners as opposed to lots of partners, and for me this all starts with understanding partner behaviour and the choices they make. Having a clear picture of partner buying patterns allows you to build a transactional profile of them.
The benefits are obvious; you can immediately see who your biggest customers are, which contribute the most margin and which products are your top sellers. Tracking these buying behaviours over a significant period and introducing a regular cadence of data analysis allows different patterns to emerge, such as seasonal trends and growth in partner types, and partners who used to buy but for some reason no longer do.
That’s all great information but nothing ground breaking. It starts to get interesting when you take this analysis to the next level.
Overlaying external data from other sources - such as associations with competitive and alliance vendors, paid profiling and company information - adds another dimension to the transactional profile we’re starting to build and starts to produce some really interesting ways to view a partner.
What has this got to do with marketing I hear you say……? At Yellow Spider we use this insight to build out tailored nurture streams and targeted partner journeys to ensure our client’s partners are interested, fully enabled and motivated to sell. Aimed at driving specific behaviours we carry out advanced data analytics and over lay our channel experience to identify partners groups for:
Yes, you can go out and write generic ‘one size fits all’ nurture streams but channel partners are savvy, they are bombarded with vendor messaging every day. To stand out from the crowd you need to communicate a message that resonates, provides a solution to a specific requirement and shows you understand the partner’s goals and market position.
Advanced data analysis could be the missing link in your partner marketing, if you’d like to learn more, get in touch with Yellow Spider, we’d be happy to chat through our methodology with you and highlight the potential value to your organisation.
A few ways to create extraordinary business impact, punch above your budget and stay sane
Fulfilling a Field Marketing role, especially in a region far from HQ and in a different language than the corporate one can be both a daunting and amazing task. You are the person who “just makes it happen” locally, at the same time as you provide feedback and guidance around media, messages and more to the organisation. Not seldom is this a position that requires the personality of a cheerleader, a coach and a referee at the same time. And that’s also what makes it so rewarding!
We are sharing a few of our lessons learned here, in the form of tricks to this role, when you want to make sure Field Marketing is fulfilling both for the organisation, and for you!
Become a market expert
Make it your business to understand the local market and the local business beyond the traditional marketing scope. We have all collected, read and analysed public data about the market, reports about competition and found them useful. But there is also a real value in ensuring visibility of sales and pipeline data and taking part in sales calls, updates and reviews. Build relationships with sales, create a regular dialogue and build your insights into your plans pro-actively. Combine this with analysis of your database, and you can start a segmentation and targeted campaigns. It will seem a bit like magic, and you might also pick up on some customer references at the same time.
Create a virtual team of contributors and stakeholders
How many times have we asked a technical expert for “a favour” when it comes to reviewing marketing material with short notice? That might still happen… but there is great benefit in pro-actively creating a small virtual marketing team of people from different parts of the business around you. In addition to those who are trained spokes people, recognised speakers etc, invite colleagues who can provide feedback from clients. Formalise it with short monthly update calls, ensure that recognition is given and dialogue is encouraged. You might be amazed by how willing others are to contribute, given some notice.
Pick a few, integrated campaigns
It might sound obvious, but if you are in a region, or just a team of one or two, the importance of sticking to a few focused integrated campaigns can hardly be exaggerated. Make sure you are plugged in and collaborate with centralised functions across the organisation, leverage platforms and test automation tools. Review the impact of your campaigns against objectives on a regular basis and share the results internally. If you are part of the central team, or leading a group across regions, ensure that there are KPIs and campaigns goals related to local achievements.Raise your hand to be an early-adopter as long as it aligns with your chosen message and is based on your market knowledge. That extra support and structure might give you some room for flexibility to support a last-minute request or two and “make it happen”.
Build and maintain partnerships
To create impact and scale, partner with the best, the strategic and those that have as much to benefit from collaboration as you do locally. If you work for a vendor, expectations are usually high for Channel Partners to be main contributors to demand and pipeline. Whilst managing the channel engagement is someone else’s fulltime job, we can plug in and ensure marketing is included in sales plans, that channel partners are supporting our messages to market on websites, in newsletters to their database and via events. Communicate, communicate and communicate is the name of the game.
Just as impactful as channel, let’s not forget alliances where marketing can play a significant role especially early in the sales cycle, as part of account based work and for branding. Alliances can play a significant role in marketing objectives and achieving targets – and the benefit is usually mutual. Everybody wins!
Be selective about content localisation
You’re the expert on communicating in your region. You understand the mentality, know the suitable tone and see what competitors and partners are saying. If your local language is not English, you are both in a good and a tricky situation. Spending too much time on localisation is an easy trap to fall into – as well as an opportunity to get the content “just right”. We need to consider the true local impact, especially in regions where English is accepted and sometimes even preferred. Having a landing page translated to local language can be important, but put this into comparison to taking that time for a discussion with clients or prospects. Thinking twice can help even when we are experts.
Read more about content localisation
Change the way you perceive your role, and your role in the business might change
Field Marketing can sometimes feel like being at the receiving end of content, campaigns, reporting requests and a “long list of implementations” to get done. When we represent an organisation in a region we can really use this to our advantage and turn this on the head – become a contributor of content, customer references and feedback on activities, a subject matter expert in specialised parts of the marketing portfolio and provide business impact by aligning with sales locally and be bold as an early-adaptor within the organisation.
This might sound more like hard work than magic, but we believe the results make it very worthwhile. And at Yellow Spider we welcome hard work for the right results, and will be happy to provide some magic to your organisation too. Contact us to find out more about how we can support you in shaping your team, establish and hone your processes or fulfilling roles in the field.
For vendors new to the market, the first two years of building a successful channel are the most difficult. It is likely you already have some established competitors with an established channel and a ‘partner program’ being executed with varying levels of success, all have shiny incentives to grab channel attention. If you’re the new kids on the block and you want to attract and retain new partners, you need to stand out from the crowd.
Our advice is don’t run before you can walk. Take time to build your strategy, value proposition and support network before you start recruiting partners, this way you ensure your initial investment in channel development provides a return.
Using our experience of working with leading Global IT vendors, we’ve developed our own recipe to channel success. This article outlines the building blocks you should think about before you even start a conversation with a channel partner.
It’s all about profile. Knowing the profile of partner that you want to target and how you can attract their attention will focus your marketing efforts on the right people (we advise quality here, not quantity). Don’t fall into the trap of simply buddying up with the biggest names, spend time understanding who is best suited to your business; it could be the ones you least expect!
Have a plan. I know, it sounds simple but so many people forget it! Having a clearly defined marketing plan aligned with sales goals is the first step on the road to sustainable revenue for both you and your channel partners.
Structure. Be clear on what your channel engagement looks like. That includes knowing how you’re going to work with your distributors as well as understanding what type, and how many, partners you need to join forces with to deliver your strategy.
Be attractive. What makes your proposition valuable? Ensure you have a well-defined process for articulating and delivering value to your channel. This could be through a programmatic engagement or a range of benefits delivered via joint marketing arrangements. You can have the best program in the world but unless you communicate product and solution value and offer your channel an opportunity you’ll struggle to grab your partners attention.
Support. Establish your support mechanism from the get go. This includes the tools, processes and people you’ll need to manage your channel relationships as well as any training and certification required to sell and support your products. Consider language requirements and how you will support joint marketing initiatives, lead gen activities and market development funds. In the early days, successful vendors support partners with joint marketing planning and campaigns; until you’ve got an established channel it’s a more effective than giving them marketing funds.
Easy does it. In a competitive market partners are going to work with vendors who are easy to do business with and ones who make it easy for them to grow their own revenue. Make the onboarding as simple as possible for partners, with plenty of onboarding milestones and clear lines of communication back into your organisation. Partners have access to several different vendor portals so make yours simple with clear training modules and fund management tools that allow partners to track their success and download sales and marketing support materials.