In recent times, there has been a rush of global concerns about the novel COVID-19 outbreak that has compelled many organizations to either cancel or postpone their physical meetings. While many shut down the opportunities, some tried to dig for solutions. Yes, organizing virtual events is one of the top things in the mind of B2B marketers these days.
Since there are new challenges every day for companies, this time is also offering valuable opportunities like how to create an impactful virtual event or how to regain the lost spark of a B2B enterprise. Virtual events are the future of B2B marketing, as they are beneficial and convenient all at the same time.
As per Bizzabo, about 80 percent of B2B marketers believe that live events are vital for their campaign’s success. Post survey, B2B marketers rated virtual events as the most-effective marketing mode over digital advertising, email marketing, and content marketing. Apparently, 24 percent of B2B marketing budgets are dedicated to this marketing mode and there is a lot of change in B2B buyer behaviour in this pandemic period. Considering the effect these events have on B2B marketers’ results, and the COVID-19 plight reminds us of how essential it is to be consistently innovative in our efforts to anticipate how global changes will evolve and how to work them out.
Virtual events were started as a trend in the early 2000s with corporate giants like IBM and Microsoft pioneering the unique, tech-savvy phenomenon that everyone couldn’t stop following. Despite being the initiators of technology, these leaders, along with all their followers, delivered digital events with interfaces, and substandard user experience. Many challenges were faced like screens would get stuck or blurry, web pages would take longer to load, event navigation seemed disjointed, and the whole experience was disturbing and far from being a seamless experience. As per Bizzabo, 2020, about 93 percent of event marketers are planning to invest in virtual events.
What Makes Virtual Events A New Face Of The Trend For B2B Marketing Campaigns?
Many B2B marketing agencies support events on virtual platforms for the biggest tech companies in the world. We realize the importance of running an effective event marketing strategy. As an integral part of your marketing strategy, events can build or destroy your brand reputation at large. It can also help deepen your bond with existing customers and prospects at any stage of their purchasing funnel. Therefore, it is essential to keep them at the surface of your priority list.
However, much before the COVID-19 crisis began, hosting in-person events had already begun to fade off. In-person events are expensive and time-taking to organize as well as to attend. Attendees face downtime and lose productivity. According to reports, about 48 percent of marketers are investing at least 21 percent of their marketing budget in live events.
Many employers have subsidized their travel, dining, and hotel costs. As more businesses strive to go economical and promote more budget-friendly policies, attendance at these events may decline to participate.
These are good enough reasons to host virtual events. Soon after the global crisis passes of COVID-19, we expect a strong belief in the culture of virtual events more for B2B marketing campaigns. By developing a seamless virtual event strategy, you can also take forward the trend of working in a productive, time-saving, and much budget-friendly manner than ever.
For example, many companies who provide B2B strategy building services, hire employees who work from home offices around the world. It has made it a priority to lead the future of work initiative for distributed workforces. To live their objectives, these marketing teams hold highly engaging virtual team-building events, including virtual parties. The event preparation is of almost the same kind. It relies on event managing staff, attendees, and other services to send party favors ahead of time to ensure everyone enjoys the same access and the same perks.
While these events are not in the same form as a multiple-day industry physical conference, keeping the spirit of the future work—long-term and wide-approaching benefits as work practices evolve. It is in the mind of employees as they consider the comprehensive approach to a virtual event strategy.
Below are the ways which will help you achieve your goals in a competitive business environment through virtual events:
- Create separate offers: For B2B marketers, virtual events mainly help with the ‘evaluation stage’ in the Sales Funnel. Once your prospective clients have resonated their requirements with your product or services, you can provide the best form of a virtual product launch or an online trade show. It can also help in setting your offerings separately.
- Broadcast your product: Marketers must broadcast the best product or services and features through multiple interactive tools like webinars, discussion forums, product demos, chats, videos, etc.
- Improved engagement: Once a prospect visits your virtual conference or event, you can engage with them to identify their requirements. This will aid in providing tailored product demonstrations to deliver the most relevant experience to them in real-time.
- Personalization: The handiest benefit of digital events is the space it allows for real-time customization and conversation. With the help of personalized interaction, marketers develop a superior lead-generating environment that leaves a lasting impression on the participants.
- Maximized outreach: Scalability and approach are two integral factors that help B2B marketers in virtual events to cater to a global audience. It aims to deliver an exclusive event just as they require.
- Tracking power: As an online event record, every detail such as registration, log in details, click-through information, download history, and share. Event tracking has become easier than ever for marketers to approach prospects to post the event smoothly.
- Data-oriented Approach: B2B event marketing campaigns have become more evolved than before. It has started to function around tracking metrics, calculating ROI, and developing data-driven follow-up strategies that elevate upcoming events by enabling decisions backed by hard numbers.
A 6-step Virtual Event Strategy Checklist To Ensure A Seamless Virtual Event Experience
We has attempted to design a 6-step checklist to ensure that your virtual events strategy is set with the right content and technology. Also that it aligns with your overall marketing strategy. Let us discuss these steps in detail below.
- Step 1: Strategy building: Marketers must analyze their target market, current objectives, and KPIs from past events. Post that, they must look at the most beneficial activities and implement them through virtual events. This may take time as your team will need to brainstorm or in-depth research to find how the competitors are doing it. However, by focusing on the activities that have provided the perks, you must aim to align them with your overall goals and integrate them with the marketing approach.
- Step 2: Infrastructure:Assess your present infrastructure and virtual event management tools. The right infrastructure will aid you in running a successful virtual event from beginning to end. It will also nurture the client experience so you can get long-term value from your campaign. This implies that assessing benefits not only your marketing campaigns but also creates the right vibe for the audience. And of course, it also means making sure you have the right-skilled staff to run it.
- Step 3: Operations:Have a gripping discussion with your marketing team of operations and automation early so that they’re equipped and ready to execute all the events accurately, deliver their role seamlessly, and capture engagement data too along the way.
- Step 4: Promotion:Create a targeted promotional strategy for every virtual event, just as you would strategize for any physical event. Remember, branding and promotion is vital.
- Step 5: Virtual experience:Create unique and catchy content for your virtual event. The virtual experience should be educative and engaging for the audiences. You can also use different assets to nurture prospects’ campaign experience.
- Step 6: Analytics Check:One must make sure they have the right tools to manage the data they have captured and track leads after the event. As discussed above, analytics tools need to be in place before the event begins and set to measure the KPIs. They are an integral part of the overall strategy and pre-event setup. Generally, marketers use this data to calculate the success rate.
Benefits of Virtual Events For B2B Marketing Campaigns
Post COVID-19 crisis, there will be an option for big companies and smaller ones, to either host in-person meetings or continue to host virtual events for B2B marketing campaigns. While some companies will be accustomed to the former mode of hosting events, others will choose to eliminate the old method and embrace the latest virtual conferencing and online presence advancements. Let’s see some virtual benefits events bring along for B2B marketers.
- Virtual events undoubtedly improve agility for the hosting company and the participants.
- Virtual events are the new future as they bring convenience at its best.
- Online events reach more target audience than a hall can accommodate.
- Virtual events can be revisited in case you need any information it held along.
- They provide a seamless experience with a time-saving method.
- They offer real-time solutions just as in-person events.
- Companies believe it to be cost-effective and high on the productivity method of marketing.
With the help of thoughtful planning and a well-organized strategy, B2B companies have the potential to engage the participants through virtual events and make it successful. Through virtual events, prospects can find opportunities where they can grasp, network, and even purchase the product or services offered. The quick demonstration of the product or real-time product launch can speak publicity from its mouth. Virtual events reduce costs, broaden your reach, and shape the future of your business. It will also help you derive a better ROI.