Digital ecosystems provide companies with a wide range of options for reaching and engaging audiences. Once considered rare, virtual and hybrid events have now become integral parts of most marketing strategies, especially for B2B companies.
With the pandemic disrupting the global event industry in 2020, the industry experienced a paradigm shift. Marketers around the globe leveraged virtual event platforms to promote their brands, but with the decline in the covid cases and the introduction of various vaccines, event organizers are now combining ‘in-person’ and ‘virtual’ components to host hybrid events.
Research conducted by Forrester shows that virtual events are here to stay, although in-person events are picking up. The same report also predicts that B2B marketing events will increasingly mix virtual and in-person in the next two years.
The virtual aspect of marketing strategies will remain important in 2022 and in years to come. Don’t take our word for it, check out the numbers below:
- 58% of marketers believe that “most or all flagship B2B marketing events will have to be conducted using hybrid methods in two years.”
- 67% of marketers believe they can overcome the challenge of networking during virtual events by harnessing AI technology. A major focus for virtual events in the future could be the use of artificial intelligence.
- There are many long-term benefits to adding a virtual aspect to events, according to 62% of marketers. As a result, events will be an integral part of B2B marketing strategy in 2022.
What is B2B Event Marketing?
B2B event marketing provides a way to facilitate in-person interactions that result in relationship building, lead generation, sales pipeline generation, customer retention, and brand awareness.
Many people attend B2B conferences for the purpose of sharing knowledge. Knowledge sharing and gaining from peers at other companies in the same industry is invaluable.
Attending these conferences allows vendors to demonstrate that they are thought leaders and can help companies overcome business challenges with their solutions. The ultimate objective is to generate business.
Business-to-business events are aimed at accelerating pipeline generation and shortening sales cycles for a faster and more sustainable return on investment. According to Statista, 79% of US marketers use this strategy to generate revenue.
A recent advancement in technology, coupled with the pandemic, has led to B2B events evolving from strictly offline marketing to online marketing. B2B companies use virtual and hybrid events to grow audience engagement and nurture innovation in their marketing approach.
Let’s examine the benefits of B2B events marketing in a bit more detail.
Businesses can take advantage of marketing events to converse with potential clients about their concerns and challenges and offer solutions, whether it involves promoting their brand directly or indirectly.
Your credibility as a thought leader in the industry can be built solely by sharing your knowledge. This is especially important since gaining knowledge is one of the main reasons businesses attend B2B marketing conferences.
As a result, they will likely rely on your brand for insight and consider your services and products as solutions if you can provide them with additional knowledge.
Moreover, your personal interactions with prospective clients will help them gain a deeper understanding of your brand. Demonstrate how your brand can streamline processes, add value to their business, or solve problems for them.
The purpose of B2B marketing events is to facilitate direct interaction with brand executives, where you can convey information, promote your brand, and answer questions promptly, allowing them to decide more quickly whether or not your brand offers value.
Virtual and hybrid B2B marketing events allow you to get live feedback on what potential clients find valuable about your products and how it has or will benefit them.
Additionally, it provides real-time insight into shortcomings, drawbacks, and improvements that can be made. As a result, you are able to receive current feedback about how to improve your services, and therefore revisit your strategy and reassess your offer.
Understand Competing Brands
B2B events allow you to rub shoulders with high-profile brands in your industry, where you can learn about their engagement tactics, promotion initiatives, management skills, and lead generation programs.
Additionally, you get to explore and learn from their sales pitches, strategies that helped them be successful, other things they do that your brand has yet to implement, and prepare you for your next event.
As a result, you can learn how your brand can grow to their level. Watching, learning, and growing are all possible with it. When you know what other competitors offer, such as free samples, free deliveries, or discounted bundled offers, you’ll be able to upgrade your service accordingly.
A virtual event offers unlimited opportunities for creating touchpoints between attendees and your brand. You can use every element of your event, from your landing page to your stage backdrop, to engage customers and prospects.
Consider event branding, for instance. To get customers and prospects excited about your brand, a generic image with your logo on it is not enough. By using creative branding techniques, such as visually spectacular welcome videos, markers can build a distinctive look and feel that attendees instantly recognize and remember.
Future of Virtual and Hybrid B2B Event Marketing
Business-to-business virtual and hybrid events have become increasingly important to businesses and brands as a means of growth and brand credibility. Today, those who rely on conventional marketing methods must adapt to technological advances to stay competitive. Ultimately, your business must evolve over time.
During the lockdown, organizations relied on B2B virtual meetings to manage both internal and external business processes. Without this technological revolution, work-from-home would not have been possible. This era will be dominated by virtual events and marketing.
Transition from Push Marketing to Pull Marketing
Markets have been dominated by push marketing for a long time. The concept of pull marketing has changed the way we view marketing. Traditionally, marketers force their ads on customers regardless of whether they want to interact with them.
In contrast, pull marketing emphasizes experiential aspects. Customers are more likely to interact with your brand if they do not feel compelled to deal with its marketing tactics. In experiential pull marketing, B2B virtual and hybrid meetings are another feather in the cap.
Those businesses that still use conventional marketing are lagging behind without realizing the negative consequences. Several new brands have adopted the latest advancements in marketing, including business-to-business virtual events.
To drive better engagement, your virtual event content should have the option of interacting with your brand. With this type of marketing, your audience will remember you for a long time and likely come back looking for you in the future.
Business and event marketers will benefit greatly from the trend of B2B virtual events. New brands and existing businesses have so many opportunities here. An organization only needs to be open to new technological advances and adaptable to them.