Participation in large industry events often comes with a hefty price tag – between ticket prices and sponsorship costs, budget for a booth and marketing materials, all in addition to the manpower supporting your company onsite. Yet, these events continue to boom because the investment can reap a far greater return, particularly in the form of lead generation, acceleration and customer engagement.
One way to increase demand generation and ultimately maximize event ROI is to focus on event partnerships. Partnering with other like-minded organizations – in terms of hosting joint events or combining your sponsorships to gain great reach – gives way to power in numbers. This can be incredibly impactful at overcrowded events. Businesses that join forces to achieve an agreed upon, mutually beneficial objective can easily maximize their participation in and results from their event investments.
We spoke with several marketers who utilize partnerships at events as a tactic for demand generation, to offer their best advice on where to find them, how to maximize exposure and what works:
Gain more visibility with strategic event partnerships.
Deirdre Pelrin, Senior Manager of Demand Generation, SmashFly
When exhibiting at an industry event, I always look for opportunities to leverage partner relationships to gain more exposure and strengthen the partnership. Several months prior to an event, when most companies are still in the planning stages, I identify partners that are exhibiting or sponsoring and reach out to coordinate co-marketing opportunities. Early outreach is key to ensure you don’t miss the boat – I suggest at least three to six months in advance.
When working with a partner on event co-marketing, it’s important to understand their goals and figure out how you can support them while still being mindful of your own objectives. A good partner will do the same for you. For example, if lead generation is a key objective, I would coordinate a lead-share initiative or offer to organize co-led meetings with our respective customers and prospects.
Prime your partner pump with pre-event engagement.
Christina Bauer, Marketing Manager, Zerto
The majority of Zerto’s events are smaller-scale, intimate events hosted in conjunction with company partners. In order to successfully engage prospects, I have developed a three-month campaign format that helps to help drive engagement and event attendance: webinar, webinar, face-to-face event. We execute this event rhythm in a three-month cadence, with the face-to-face event taking place at the last month of every quarter.
With this process, Zerto engages and educates more leads through webinars and can use the in-person events as an opportunity for our sales teams to connect with qualified and engaged prospects face-to-face. The on-site connections become more effective and meaningful, allowing sales reps to discuss specific and previously-developed opportunities with attendees rather than focusing on telling them “who they are.”
Turn conference organizers into event allies.
Jonathan Burg, Senior Director of Marketing and Customer Acquisition, Apperian
One way I like to make the most out of Apperian’s presence at larger industry conferences is to invest in our relationship with the conference organizers. In the months leading up to each conference we sponsor, we make an effort to maintain consistent and thoughtful communication with the conference organizers, offering our time and resources to help them to make the event better for attendees. One way we’ve done this is by partnering with event organizers to create a piece of mutually-beneficial content that is co-launched at the event. This content attaches Apperian to the event host and the conference that every attendee has invested their time and money to attend. This gives our brand a higher level of trust.
For more tips and advice on events, check out Attend’s #EventHacker series.
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