Remember the first Indiana Jones, “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” where Indie has to find the title-role ark using a long-lost and timeworn medallion? And his rivals, the Nazis, are also trying to get to it? But they only have the imprint of one side of the medallion? Because the archvillain pulled it from a fire, and it left a perfectly legible and detailed scar on his palm? But unfortunately for him, the other side of the medallion holds some critical information about the ark’s true location, and so, without it, the Nazis end up looking for the ark near where they should – but not close enough to get there first? Surely you do.
Anyway, my point is this: to get what you need, you need to get your hands on as many details as possible. Evidently, getting the details on your hand is way too painful and doesn’t work as well. And the more details, or data, you have, the more accurate you can be. Sure, I could have just said that, but I’ll never miss out on an opportunity to talk about everyone’s favorite archeologist.
Why Businesses Treat Data like Royalty
The same rule holds in the business world, where data has many uses. One of these is to personalize the user experience and customer journey. More than 90% of marketers agree that it boosts profitability and 99% feel that it builds stronger relationships with customers. Now stop me if you’ve read it before, but the more data they will have on someone walking through the physical or virtual door of their business, the more personal they can make their experience.
That’s partly why a growing number of businesses use systems designed to monitor and record every interaction people make with them. As these interactions build up, so does the amount of available data on a potential lead. Gradually, a comprehensive profile is assembled. With the power of algorithms and AI, businesses can then cater to their particular interests and needs.
Take a web store, for example. The more purchases someone makes, the better the store owners know them and what they like. And it’s not just purchasing that is tracked. As customers browse around, search, save items, add to cart, or checkout, the systems continue to learn their preferences and behavior. Hopefully, they will create an account, giving the store access to their contact and personal details. Perhaps even their social media account. All this creates a perfect environment for individual retargeting and remarketing.
The Challenge of Personalizing the Funnel
But here’s the catch. Recording data has become easier thanks to digitization but getting people to make recordable interactions hasn’t. In other words, it’s just as challenging as it ever was to get leads genuinely interested, even after we’ve pulled them into our funnel. At that point, while we have their awareness, we also have very little data to work with, so we fall back on general assumptions to try to intrigue them. As a result, we end up with a very impersonal offering, messaging, or recommendation. These often don’t invoke action nor engagement, at least not as much as we would like, and then there’s no new data about the lead.
B2B funnels are complicated and take a long time as it is. Businesses relentlessly try to create engagement with leads using blog posts, white papers, and newsletters. But without sufficient data and no new data made, a lot of time is spent shooting in the dark. Worse, even when they do succeed in getting someone’s to take any action, and then another one, and then maybe their email address, connecting all these events to a single profile could be tricky.
The good news is they only need one event – a virtual event. Plan it right, and you get the ultimate lead-generation mechanism and nurturing ground, where the audience immediately shares information and engages with the brand and service. You could potentially even compress the entire marketing funnel –acquire leads, study them, and make them an offer they can’t refuse – into a single event.
Here’s What to Do in Three Simple Steps
First of all, create an exciting agenda that offers something for everyone. The idea is to drive value for attendees and give them plenty of engagement opportunities. Fill it with different session types – live, simulive, or on-demand – like keynotes, workshops, and Q&A on various topics within your event’s general scope and theme. Using video analytics, you can monitor their behavior and engagement, not only clicks and choices made. Mix in surveys, quizzes, and playful elements to make the whole experience more fun and generate more data.
Ideally, personalization efforts start in real-time. There’ll be plenty of other ways to use the data collected in the event after it ends, but first, it should be processed during the event. After all, the aim is to improve attendees’ experience and move them down the funnel, so why sit on data that can help do just that. Display different content and elements (survey questions and CTAs, for example) to different attendees, based on what the data suggests they are likely to find interesting. It’ll keep them engaged and data flowing, so everybody wins.
Despite your best efforts, not all attendees will convert during or immediately after the event. However, you now have a lot of data to help you refine your remarketing strategies. Better yet, you can keep your event going as a content hub and remarketing platform. Doing that creates your very own marketing channel that leads already know and trust and keeps the momentum going instead of having to re-establish the connection someplace else, such as social media. Eventually, if you commit to investing in it, a brand community will form and grow on it, consisting of leads – both new and old – and customers, where they can ask questions and make suggestions. You’ll help them connect with others and direct them to the right sources for their needs. It doesn’t get more personal than that.
A Few Things to Keep in Mind
- If it isn’t clear enough, we’ll say it now: all this requires careful planning. Nothing will happen by itself, nor if you spend all your time hashing out the event’s logistics, keeping data and personalization as something to worry about after the event.
- Still, don’t focus too much on the marketing funnel, or you’ll lose focus on why people signed up for your event. Reminder: it’s about them getting real value from you rather than you getting a direct response from them.
- After successfully converting leads, offer them speaking opportunities and content creation on your event platform. With that, you’ll have covered all the stages in the funnel.
Virtual events open up a sea of opportunities for their organizers, as well as marketers. Different marketing roles and folks, even those who had nothing to do with events previously, have lots they can do with them now. Hence, they must seize this opportunity to use virtual (and hybrid) event platforms to create a powerful funnel. Not so long ago, when digital channels and PPC emerged, marketing had to learn, adjust and build new methodologies around them. Virtual events may very well be the next marketing revolution.
Planning a Virtual Event? Kaltura is here to help!