How do you build field marketing events that truly stand out from the rest?
That's exactly what we asked three event marketing experts - Nick Bennett, CCO & Co-Founder at TACK, Rebecca Martins, Revenue Marketing Leader at Jellyfish, and Arthur Castillo, Head of Dark Social & Evangelism at Chili Piper, in our recent edition of Events About Events.
Today, we're excited to share five sharp insights from their conversation, offering a glimpse into the future of field marketing events in 2024
1. Embrace differentiation
In a landscape brimming with similar messages, standing out becomes more crucial than ever. This means thinking beyond the standard pre-event meeting requests.
A more effective strategy involves creating offsite activations. These events offer a refreshing alternative to the usual field marketing event experience, providing an opportunity for attendees to engage in a more relaxed and enjoyable setting. This approach not only differentiates a company from its competitors but also fosters a more personal connection with potential customers.
Arthur suggests that hosting an event with intriguing acts, keynotes, or activities relevant to the attendees' interests can create a more inviting atmosphere by shifting the focus from a direct sales pitch to a valuable and enjoyable experience, which can leave a lasting impression.
Additionally, incorporating unique and fun elements at the booth itself, like offering branded items that start conversations (In Arthur's case with Chili Piper - custom hot sauce :)), can draw people in and spark interest in a more organic way.
2. Sales alignment - a strategic imperative
Aligning with sales teams for field marketing events is essential for several key reasons.
Firstly, it leverages the unique insights and creative mindsets of sales representatives, who often have a deep understanding of customer needs and preferences. Their involvement in marketing initiatives can bring a fresh perspective that enhances the effectiveness of these events.
Secondly, field marketing events like dinners provide an ideal platform for facilitating direct interactions between a company's best customers and their most promising prospects. This setup creates an environment conducive to organic and meaningful conversations, which can significantly influence decision-making processes.
Thirdly, these events can play a pivotal role in advancing deals that are stuck in the pipeline. By providing an informal yet focused setting for discussions, field marketing events can help overcome barriers that might be difficult to address in more formal business contexts.
3. Measuring success - a deeper dive
The importance of quality over quantity in lead generation at field marketing events is a key takeaway.
Relying solely on badge scans at events for lead generation can be ineffective, as it often provides little context or qualification information about the prospects. This approach can result in sales teams receiving a list of contacts without any insight into their relevance or potential interest, making follow-up efforts less efficient and potentially unproductive.
A more effective strategy involves engaging in meaningful conversations with attendees to understand their specific needs and interests. This approach ensures that any follow-up is tailored and relevant, increasing the likelihood of successful engagement. It's crucial to understand the role and challenges of the person you're speaking with, whether they're a marketer, VP of Sales, or Head of Customer Success, to make the interaction as relevant and impactful as possible.
Focusing on booked demos rather than badge scans is a more targeted and meaningful metric for measuring success at trade shows and other events.
4. Creativity over budget
Effective event planning and marketing don't necessarily require a large budget; creativity and resourcefulness can often lead to significant impact. Utilizing available resources can be a cost-effective starting point. Rebecca shares an instance where resourceful and creativity outweighed the budget factor: "I remember my super scrappy days - we just happened to have this like event space in our office building and I think I had like $1,000 dollars to do something in Boston that quarter and I just like scrappily got some drizzly drinks delivered hired a bartender just had some cool music playing and I think I got Whole Foods delivered as well was like under a thousand bucks - we had 50 people there and it was great."
5. The power of collective brainstorming
Collaborative brainstorming sessions are a powerful tool for generating innovative ideas, as they bring together diverse perspectives and experiences. These sessions, which Nick refers to as "Inspo Sessions", involve members from various teams, not just those directly related to the project at hand. This inclusivity is key, as individuals from different backgrounds can offer fresh insights and approaches that might not be considered in a more homogenous group.
Typically, these brainstorming sessions might start slowly, but as ideas begin to flow and participants become more engaged, the quality and creativity of the suggestions improve significantly. Through his years of carrying out such activities, Nick points out that the most productive part of the session occurs after an initial period of warming up, around 35 to 40 minutes in. The outcome of such sessions can be surprisingly effective, with teams frequently finding themselves impressed by the innovative and diverse ideas generated.
Field marketing in the B2B world is evolving, and staying ahead requires a blend of creativity, strategic alignment with sales, thoughtful measurement of success, budget savvy, and collaborative planning. By integrating these insights into your strategy, your field marketing efforts can move beyond the conventional, creating memorable experiences that resonate with your audience and drive tangible business results.