While videoconferences are a modern marvel—minus the occasional screen-freeze that inevitably catches you mid-yawn—nothing beats an in-the-flesh event.
Whether it’s a major conference like TechWeek and South by Southwest, a niche trade show that zeroes in on your industry, an instructive workshop, illuminating panel discussion, or celebratory gala, events are one of the best parts of doing business.
For B2B professionals, that’s nothing revolutionary; we’re preaching to the choir: events are the single biggest line items in B2B marketing budgets, taking up a hearty 20% of the pie, according to a recent report from Forrester.
Why do companies feel compelled to spend so much on live events? Put simply, they work. Events enable both brands and individuals to raise their profiles, attract new business, and extend their network.
Though online interactions are stock-and-trade nowadays, there are too many digital distractions to totally capture your audience’s attention. A face-to-face event gives you to opportunity to actively engage your clients, consumers, and partners, showcasing your brand in living color.
Perhaps the greatest reason events are so important is that they allow us to forge relationships. As much as business is about figures, margins, and efficiency, it’s also about connections, respect, and trust. Events give us a chance to meet, great, and entertain outside of our everyday confines.
How to Ensure Your Event’s a Success
Attending events is a blast, but planning events? Not so much. They’re difficult, complex, and, yes, expensive. If your event’s a dud, that’s a big chunk of change down the drain. Here are three simple essentials your event needs to make it worth your while.
1. Deliver Value. You’ve got to give your attendees of real value—and we don’t just mean a goodie bag of branded swag. Your presentations shouldn’t just be a sales pitch—it should be framed as useful information to make your attendees’ lives easier. Provide plenty of opportunities for them to make their own strategic connections, even if it doesn’t directly benefit you. Let them actively participate and say a little about their own offerings.
2. Develop a Plan. Yes, your event shouldn’t just be a blatant sales pitch, but the purpose still is to generate interest, close sales, and bump up your bottom line. Have a clear plan in place that dictates how you’ll collect leads, convert prospects, and—to put it bluntly—make your money back.
3. Invite the Right Crowd. An animal rights non-profit might not be the best audience to invite to your leather and fur expo. Don’t just extend invitations to everyone you know; target your most receptive audience as much as possible. It’s far better to get third-, forth-, and fifth-degree connections right up your alley than your immediate network without as much interest. Think scalpel, not shotgun.