event marketing

There is something so peaceful and calming when we put things in terms of our ancestral biology and instincts. It’s funny to think that although humans have adapted and evolved our instincts are still very much a part of us. Let’s take a look into this concept of explore, gather, bucket in terms of sales and marketing and how it can drastically increase brand awareness and ultimately revenue for your organization and events.

 

We have always been wanderers since the beginning of time. The yearning and wanting to see what else is in the beyond. This is why so many of us are enamored by space and ultimately the multi-verse. But in terms of how we can approach this instinct of ours, explore, in terms of sales and marketing we must understand what it is that drives us to explore.

An excerpt from the University of Rochester states:

“So what drives humans to such lengths? For Weaver, the answer lies in human nature. “For all the different forms it takes in different historical periods, for all the worthy and unworthy motives that lie behind it, exploration—travel for the sake of discovery and adventure—is it seems a human compulsion, a human obsession even (as the paleontologist Maeve Leakey says); it is a defining element of a distinctly human identity, and it will never rest at any frontier, whether terrestrial or extra-terrestrial.” 

 

“Exploration typically grows out of the cultural exchange of goods and ideas when two populations meet, explains Weaver. Native peoples, who often served as unsung guides, are essential to success. According to Weaver, these individuals embody “what exploration is often fundamentally about: mediation, intercession, cultural negotiation and sometimes, even, symbiosis.”

https://www.rochester.edu/newscenter/journeys-into-the-unknown-91212/

Understanding that this is a part of us that will never truly go away, it goes to show you how a piece of us wants to find new leads to exchange goods and ideas for in other words your organizations products and services.

How to explore for your organization

This goes back to data. Understanding the behavior behind your customers journey or your events verticals. It’s no longer enough to understand your target audience, we need to build different verticals with customized or tailored products and services to these verticals.

Of course this does not mean you have to develop new products and services, it means taking what you already offer and correctly packaging and messaging it to these new verticals. The interesting aspect you will find once you analyze your data is that your messaging is at least somewhat resonating within these verticals already. What needs to be done is to find the prime messaging that’s going to get them to convert.

Once you have tested this, you can then go out and seek similar organizations within this new vertical. In doing so you can utilize technology to help you and there are a few different tools out there that can help you prospect or build your new lists. The worst thing you can possibly do at this time is to purchase a list. The reason for this is there could be too many false information within these purchased lists.

At Victory, we utilize a combination of technologies to help our clients build their lists within these new verticals. We also have a proprietary report, called PowerFuze, in which we delve deep into the behavioral analytics behind their organization and events. This helps us to define these additional target audiences in which to grow their organization and events.

Here is another reason why purchasing lists is the incorrect route. It is better to find 25 to 50 new leads each week or each month so you can test your messaging and get it to the point it is resonating with all of the organizations within that specific vertical.

How to gather for your organization

Now that we have utilized our data and have begun to explore these new verticals, it’s time to understand how we can gather these new leads from these new verticals.

 

Competitive events

One way in which we are all very used to, is to attend competitive events and find their exhibitor directory and breakdown their verticals and categories to the new ones we are seeking.

This works however there is a much more effective way to accomplish this by utilizing online directories and even looking at smaller niche events rather than the main larger ones within the vertical.

There are a ton of online directories either specifically for the event or for the specific vertical you are looking to grow your organization or event. Getting your hands on this directory is key to breaking down the data from the directory and “gathering“ the correct leads you need from the online directory.

We are after all in the face-to-face event industry, so attending some competitive events does make sense in order to gather new leads within a vertical. What, to me, does not make sense is going to the main event in which that vertical is already saturated. In my opinion a better route to take is to find the smaller niche events and gather leads from

Why?

You may have crossover from exhibitors at the niche event to the larger event, but exhibitors exhibit at niche events because there is extreme value and their exact target audience will be there. So if you are trying to grow a specific vertical go to the event that is offering only that vertical not one that is offering 10 different verticals where your new vertical is part of it.

Partnering

This flows nicely into our next Point which is partnering. As organizations or events, there are multiple ways in which we can partner with potentially competing events or events Who is verticals we are looking to break into.

Sometimes offering co-marketing opportunities can help both organizations. Sometimes even having your events co-located can be the best option. Ultimately you and your organization and events need to decide what route you would like to take.

Technology

We mentioned before, at Victory, we utilize a combination of technologies to help us explore and gather new leads within new verticals. We do this because it is the most cost-effective way in which to require new leads. There are tons of tools out there that can help you accomplish finding new leads and similar look like audiences for your new verticals. We, here at Victory, are more than happy to speak with you about which technologies we use.

How to bucket for your organization

Often times organizations and events stop at the explore and gather part of this equation. The reason for stopping is because at the moment they believe they have all the information needed in order to grow within that new vertical.

Here is where I believe many fail. The next part of the equation is to bucket the new leads into sub segments in order to deliver the correct marketing and sales messaging that will ultimately drive them to convert.

We have heard this before by other names, segments or personas, and ideally it’s a way to help personalize the messaging. But I’m talking about those will be on the traditional main stream personas. It’s going to take a bit more personalization in order to accomplish and to check the box off the bucket list, no pun intended.

In order to do this you really have to define your target audience and break that target audience down. Many people think that all of their categories of their membership and/or events are their target audience, and they would be mistaken. The reason for this is if you dig deep into your event you’ll realize that the core categories that make up your events are your true target audience, at least for the exhibitor side.

On the other end the attendee spectrum is defined hopefully by the categories and verticals of your exhibiting companies. If this is misaligned then your event is in serious trouble.

Once you have these target audiences defined, you can really take them and break them down into some segments.

Here is how we accomplish this at Victory:

Say your target audience for exhibitors is anyone who sells staplers. That is the main category that represents your show floor by number of companies as well as square feet sold on your show floor. We then take that category and break it down into four sub segments, two being title related for example event organizer and marketing manager. The next two subsegments break down the actual category into subcategories.

The reason we do this is we are attempting to define which subcategory is truly what makes up the main category. By doing this we can then explore and gather more from the main subcategory and once we have the messaging correct we can really hone in and convert them.

Wrapping it up

If you had stopped at gather you wouldn’t have the proper opportunity to build the correct messaging, one that is personalized, that will help you grow your target audience. Data plays a huge focus point in gathering this information as a starting point. It is then up to you the marketing and/or sales professional to break it down a bit further to find your perfect target audience.

Gone are the days of email blasting out to the world and what we so eloquently call spray and pray, and delivering the value and conversions you so desire.

We have entered the era of hyper personalization and Covid-19 has only sped that process up. I believe this is for the better of the event industry. It will help us truly become the sales and marketing professionals we were designed to be and will help us deliver immense value beyond our face-to-face interactions at our events for our exhibitors and attendees.

As you begin to put together your marketing and sales plans and budgets, remember understanding your core instincts and what drives you, will help to motivate you in the execution of your plans and ultimately will help lead you to success.