Event Marketing Works, but ONLY if Vendors Add Value

Posted by Michael Damphousse

B2B appointment settingI've recently been on the conference circuit, speaking and tweeting whatever sales and marketing goodness I can find.  One topic that came up at each conference was the quality of the content presented by the various speakers. Some sessions were brilliant; some were nothing more than veiled commercials.  

  • The key as an attendee is to be able to pull the brilliant content out of the commercials.  
  • The key as a presenter is to avoid the commercials and present brilliant content. 

Simple, right?

Let's face it. It doesn't matter if you're at an analyst-sponsored event or an industrywide event with multiple sponsors, the companies buying the hors d'oeuvres and beer want to deliver their messages.  And as attendees, we kind of owe it to them to listen. That said, we want to hear value.

Vendors can deliver their message themselves, or they can put customers or industry experts on stage to do it for them.  Either way, as we b2b demand gen folks know, it's all about the content, so let's provide it.  I challenge all the vendors -- bring value to the audience.

Tips for earning respect as a vendor:

  • Consider using industry experts and/or customers to present your message.
  • If you're going to use one of your own executives, make them tell a compelling story.
  • Keep the commercials to a minimum.  Talk about real issues and real solutions. 
  • Invite conversation, questions and provocative thought. Engage the audience.
  • Entertain a tiny bit.  Conferences are hard to sit through.  So while delivering valuable content, make the crowd smile.
  • Carry the conversation to other mediums. Tweet and blog, record videos, post your slides on slideshare.

Just remember -- when someone is done listening to your 45 minutes of fame, do they walk away thinking, "I got some great nuggets from this appointment setting tips session.  And hmmm ... he uses Green Leads, I might check them out" ?