The digital-first era brought new responsibilities onto marketers’ doorstep. Today, marketing professionals manage tasks, procedures, and operations across many different platforms and channels. And it’s particularly true for event marketers taking on more and more functions now that events have moved online.
As studies show, strategizing and goal setting can increase marketers’ success by no less than 376%. To complement these efforts, marketing tools and products must support the tasks and commitments of the teams using them. Virtual event platforms are no exception to that rule.
Marketers Take the Lead
53% of marketers state that at least half of their budget is spent on lead generations. Still, far too often, marketers would generate leads and then hand them over to sales to capitalize on the opportunity. In B2B companies, for example, more than 60% of marketers send every lead to sales. But only 27% of these leads end up qualifying. In other words, a large part, if not most, of these leads aren’t ready to buy.
To improve the chances of completing a purchase, some lead nurturing is needed to strengthen the relationship and build trust with prospective buyers. Once we better understand our buyer’s needs, we can provide further resources and relevant solutions, and ultimately an offer that suits their requirements. If nothing else, the lead nurturing process, including reminder emails, sharing information, phone calls, occasional meetings, and demos, helps keep us in the loop until they are ready to make a decision.
There’s no reason why marketers shouldn’t complete this part of the journey. In fact, 66% of Leading marketers believe that their teams should handle end-to-end experiences. If not that, they could at least own some of these down-funnel experiences and continue the conversation after successfully creating a positive first impression and sparking an initial interest.
In contrast, the event marketer’s role spanned only the actions and interactions leading up to the event or taking place during the big day. Until recently, that is. In the present climate, event marketers are gaining more power, influence, and budget, carving a new, customer-centric role for themselves that demands a more comprehensive approach. It also includes many new touchpoint types that require the right set of tools to handle them.
Giving Marketers Virtually Everything
This holistic approach to event marketing is gradually taking over following technological advancements and the digitalization boom during COVID-19. The transition to digital turns virtual events into a critical marketing channel that goes beyond the specific event’s agenda. Further, Virtual events created a lead-generation and nurturing environment that makes it unrealistic – almost impossible – to separate the event from the rest of the customer journey.
For virtual event platforms designers, this change means certain features are in order, such as:
- Catering to personal experiences: Online events let companies tailor a unique nurturing process from the minute a lead registers and throughout the days leading to the event. By offering content recommendations, further resources, and tailored activities, polls, and quizzes, each lead (soon-to-be participant) can enjoy a personalized experience – before, during, and after the event. For that to happen, the onboarding process must gather (voluntarily, of course) as much information about the user as possible.
- Tracking and recording user behavior: Granular video analytics offer actionable insights. Personalized content should be based on these insights and data points, including participants viewing preferences and engagement level. This data also lets marketers measure their success down the road, communicate their results, and demonstrate a positive ROI.
- The event as an ongoing interaction: Today’s event platforms turn online event into an always-on knowledge platform and networking hub offering viewing on-demand and channels dedicated to specific topics. Since it takes about ten marketing touchpoints for a lead to convert, this new approach makes perfect sense, givingmarketers enough time to capture and nurture the lead until it qualifies to make a purchase.
- Integration with other marketing and sales channels: If your customers are interested in virtual events, chances are they’re using other digital lead management tools. Seamless integration between your platform and other services, such as a CRM, is a must. Your customers and sponsors will want to connect different channels with a click of a button and minimum fuss. They should also offer event sponsors the same options.
The popularity of virtual and hybrid events is juxtaposed by the ongoing evolution of the event marketing role. Right now, the platforms powering these events have an opportunity to be part of that change. They can lead the way towards a new age of event organizing, as well as make a real impact on marketing efforts and sale processes. To do that, it won’t suffice to merely follow participants along. It’s time to give attendees’ experience a complete overhaul.
Building a Virtual Event Platform?