Upgrading event strategies to drive commercial success

Author: Toby Lewis, CEO of Live Group

 

Events are a great way for a company to develop a positive relationship with its target audience. Recently, the sector has seen rapid developments and new formats have emerged that are redefining how events are designed and delivered. This has meant that there are more ways than ever to ensure that engagement is meaningful and maximum results are achieved. 

As a result, B2B engagement strategies need to be updated so that companies can capitalise on the new strengths of different event formats – whether in-person, hybrid or virtual. This can help to kickstart post-pandemic growth and drive commercial success.

 

Maximising meaningful engagement 

Hybrid and virtual events are able to amplify a company’s offering to the widest possible audience. Attendees have the option of joining the event in whichever way they prefer – either in-person or online – and there are no geographical restrictions. This expands and diversifies the pool of people who will be engaging with a company.

These events also offer unparalleled insights into what content is resonating most with this increased audience. Data tools provide a constant flow of analytics that show which ‘areas’ of an event are seeing the most dwell time. This data can inform a constant cycle of event improvement, giving a strong foundation to future business strategies and driving long-term commercial success.

 

Maximising returns

2021 research found that 33% of event organisers were not monetising their virtual events. However, there are now many different ways to price tickets. Taking advantage of these pricing structures could be key to increasing event revenue.

Flexible, tiered price models can meet the varying needs of different delegates. While some may just want to watch speaker presentations, others may wish to access networking areas. Alternatively, an in-person pass might have more overhead costs attached than a virtual ticket. Prices can be adjusted to reflect this. 

This doesn’t need to mean that prices see a dramatic increase, therefore preventing people from attending at all. It just means that, where possible and reasonable, events can offer higher returns to organisers. These can then be reinvested to constantly improve events in the future.  

 

Maximising sponsor experience

Sponsorship is a central element of driving commercial results at events. As we go back to in-person events, organisers should take full advantage of how technology can help sponsors to determine their return on investment – something that was previously difficult to judge or wasn’t used enough to paint the full picture. 

With the rise of virtual events, we have become used to having access to a constant stream of data. Technology like Bluetooth Beacons or near-field communication devices can replicate this at in-person events, providing insights that help to map sales journeys, analyse effectiveness of sponsor placement and track leads through a sales funnel. They can also generate footfall heat maps around a large venue, allowing companies to make informed decisions about the most impactful placement of their brand. This will improve the experience for sponsors and attendees – thus driving results for both.

Meanwhile, data analytics on virtual platforms will continue to provide detailed insights into delegate behaviour, showing clear evidence of where delegates are spending the most time, including points of engagement and preferences. They will likely show a high level of traffic on home pages, networking portals and speaker videos. Each of these places can host consistent sponsor branding.

Before COVID, we found that organisers were reluctant to engage with data tracking technology. However, it is now clear that the future of effective sponsorship will rely on these insights, whether the event is virtual or in-person. These data points need to be combined to generate a more accurate map of the buyer journey. This will be key to monitoring and reporting ROI for sponsors and can help to inform future sponsorship and engagement strategies. 

 

Maximising content usage

Thanks in part to the development of virtual platforms that can accompany in-person engagement, events now have a longer life span than ever before. Session recordings can be made available on-demand, whilst networking forums can be kept open for weeks – if not months – either side of the peak of activity. 

Access to these resources can be offered at a discounted price, or alternatively compiled into a library of content that can be sold via a subscription model. This not only generates an extended arc of engagement between a brand and potential new clients, but it also ensures that content is used efficiently to its full potential.  

 

Maximising impact 

Events have seen rapid evolution throughout the pandemic. Content is more tailored; platforms are more sophisticated and audience insights are more detailed. 

Each of these improvements offer real benefit to businesses across sectors. Marketers and organisers who redefine their event strategies to take advantage of these changes will be well on their way to achieving meaningful engagement and driving commercial success.