By Paul Davies
Those of you struggling to believe that it’s already November are not alone. I can’t believe how quickly 2022 has flown by. The leaves are falling from the trees, the evenings are drawing in, Christmas is coming, and, before you’re able to say “January Sales,” your LinkedIn newsfeed will be full of noise about CES and the rapid run of events that will follow throughout 2023.
Quick on the heels of CES will come a swathe of other major events, including Mobile World Congress (MWC), NAB Show, and Integrated Systems Europe (ISE). And that’s just the start. Platform will be representing clients at all of these events and more, and our preparations are well under way.
Understandably, many people are questioning whether major events deliver the necessary value in this post-pandemic world. It’s a valid question as it’s essential to get the most out of your budget, now more than ever. But it’s a question you can only ask if you’re maximising your return on investment (ROI) at events in the first place. Otherwise, how can you make an accurate assessment?
Here are 4 areas to focus on to help ensure you’re in that position:
1. Brand narrative
This feeds into all the points below. It is massively important to deliver a consistent, powerful message across all your channels. This requires a precise evaluation of the market to understand what your customers’ opportunities/ pain points so that you can build an effective narrative. This will help you really amplify your voice and drill home your differentiators. And of course in tech the world is evolving all the time, whether through innovation, industry disruption (through M&A activity, for example), or broader market factors, so it’s important to constantly re-evaluate your messaging.
2. Lead generation and development
Major events are great opportunities to meet new people and grow your sales funnel. But to maximise effectiveness, it’s important to do a lot of the leg work beforehand so that you can pre-book meetings with new leads rather than just relying on walk-ons.
Lead generation and development of your sales funnel is something that you’ll be working on 24/7, regardless of whether you have events coming up or not. But to maximise your investment in events, targeted engagement and account-based marketing (ABM) is a great way to ensure you’re meeting the people you need to at events and having high quality conversations with actionable follow-ups. This builds on from the section about messaging: you need to understand customer pain points at any given time. By addressing them in the right way you will create a situation in which they are more likely to seek you out for a meeting because they have a specific problem to discuss. That is what successful customer engagement looks like.
Also, creating high value content such as a report or vision paper is a great way of driving traffic to your website and building your sales funnel. A well-considered report can drive a lot of media coverage and social media engagement, which will help give your sales funnel an extra boost ahead of a major event. But be mindful that reports take time to plan and execute: act now if you’re aiming to make an impact at events in early 2023.
You can read more about Platform’s approach to lead generation in our report, “5 Steps to Lead Generation in Tech.”
3. Maintain visibility
It’s also important to ensure your brand and products remain visible 24/7. This will help you stay front of mind with potential customers and ensure you’re on their list of companies to meet at the next event, which, in turn, will make the booking process much easier as you won’t need to chase them as much to confirm a time. It will also help create higher quality conversations by providing a good base understanding of what your product capabilities and differentiators are ahead of time, meaning you can spend less time doing demos and more time discussing specific project requirements.
Creating a regular drumbeat of content and engaging social media activity will help to ensure visibility in your target markets. Even if you don’t have a lot of news lined up, a regular flow of articles and thought leadership will really help promote the values of your brand. A well-planned content strategy will also ensure you’re adding value to your audience on social media platforms like LinkedIn. This applies to your in-house experts as well as your corporate account. Social influencing is a great way to connect them with industry leaders and, through them, promote your company’s expertise.
4. Don’t forget the analysts!
I could write for hours about the influence that analysts have on your prospective customers. The leading analysts in your field are talking to your customers every day and are often providing consultancy to help them define their strategies. Building strong relationships with analysts means they are more likely to talk about you to customers, write about you in their reports (which are read by your customers), and provide independent and trusted recommendations of your technology to customers.
Another benefit that is often overlooked is the value of the conversations you can have with leading analysts. They’re completely different to media briefings, often lasting longer, and being more conversational two-way discussions that allow you to ask their view on the market and your product offering. But building two-way relationships doesn’t happen overnight. It’s all about planning. If you start engaging with analysts now then they will be well positioned to recommend you to customers ahead of your events in the new year.
If you have any questions or would like to learn more then we’d love to chat. At Platform we’ve been ensuring clients are a success at major events for over 25 years, including many events across the globe in different industries over the last 12 months. We’d be more than happy to share some of our experience and help you plan for a successful year ahead.
Drop me a note here to arrange a chat.