Events are an important part of most B2B marketer’s bag of tricks. In fact, according to BtoB Magazine*, event marketing accounts for one fifth of the marketing budget. (*State of Event Marketing, July 2011). If you are looking to take your marketing international by opening up offices in other countries, they can form a core part of your strategy.

There are basically three main reasons why companies do events:

  • To Generate Leads
  • To Interact with Customers and Prospects
  • To Build your Brand

Trade Shows generally meet these goals, but we know, from our own program analysis that they are a very expensive way to meet the first one i.e. generate leads (check out our 7 things to avoid at Trade Shows)

We also know that if we can run our own event, we can meet the second goal i.e. interact with customers and prospects, a lot more cost effectively and captivate their attention for a longer period of time. So our reasons for hosting our own events were two fold:

  • Interact with our customers, contacts and leads
  • “The Human Touch” – so much of what we do these days is online, we want to have a forum to meet and engage with our community in person

Here is the 8 step guide we used to make our first local event a big success

1. Goals: We set up the following goals:

  • Registration and attendance
  • Not just any registrations and attendees, but the right ones.
  • Revenue impact

2. Format: We picked the right format, with relevance being the key. We wanted to give our audience the content they needed

  • Customer session in the morning, which included Q&A with our CEO and co-founder
  • Broader afternoon gathering, featuring presentations from local thought leaders
  • Customer speakers throughout because successful customers bring the Marketo story to life
  • Happy hour at the end of the day gave attendees the opportunity to connect with peers and meet friends
  • The #RockTheRev got everyone tweeting and following speakers

3. Theme: We created a really strong theme to generate a buzz. We called the event “Revenue Rockstar Tour” (because who doesn’t want to be a Rockstar, right?), and continued the theme throughout the event:

  • Rockstar icons promoted the theme but the important piece “Revenue” was also in the title, in line with our company messaging
  • We gave away concert style “Revenue Rockstar” t-shirts
  • We selected a venue that had the cool factor – Altitude London with amazing views over the city – somewhere customers really wanted to go to. Lighting and music continued the theme.

4. Multi-Touch Promotional Plan:

  • A “Big Bang” launch with a press release promoting the Rockstar tour globally created a feel that this was a big cool thing that people wanted to be part of
  • Individual city invitations were carefully planned to ensure they generated the most impact (3 weeks out, 1 week out and 2 days out)
  • Reminders by phone and email, 2 days out

5. Segmenting the data:

  • We used demographic and behavior scoring available in Marketo to create a list of the right people to invite
  • Location based information. Very often, an individual’s location (and mailing address) will differ from their company’s location (and billing address). It’s important to factor that into your list building. We also messaged our invitation to encourage people to share by adding social share icons
  • We invited people in our database that had attended other events in the same city e.g. Cloudforce London, two months earlier

6. Quick-follow up:

  • At the end people got CDs with content but not the presentation slides
  • We sent out the slides the next day to continue the engagement
  • We made sure Sales knew who had attended
  • We send a follow up survey asking prospects if they would like a demo and customers if they would like to be part of the reference program

7. Scale, Leverage and Automate

  • We were able to leverage the US revenue Rockstar Tour, cloning and localising programs, templates and follow up

8. Measured Everything

We measure to prove ROI using metrics like:

  • Numbers invited, registered and attended
  • Who were the attendees and when are they in the funnel
  • Opportunities that did not exist before the event

Get the full eBook

If you’d like to learn more about how we used event marketing and other tactics to make our international expansion a success, you can download the full ebook: The Marketo Handbook for International Marketing: Five Essential Steps for the First 100 Days