B2B events are often centred on a common goal to achieve business goals. The target audience defines these events. You are likely planning an event for clients or employees. These are the dos and don’ts for planning your next B2B event.
Why are B2B events important?
B2B marketing has the same importance as B2C events. They bring together people who wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to do so. But they also build the interpersonal relationships that are the foundation of any successful organization. Events like these are important because structured work environments don’t allow much socializing between employees and customers.
Corporate events are designed to help companies find creative ways to reward employees, provide entertainment, or showcase new products or services. They also aim to deepen or strengthen business relationships. Each event has a different purpose, so it is important to consider your objectives when choosing the right type of event.
The Most In-demand Event Types
A great conference aims to bring together people who share a common interest and give them useful information about important topics. Conferences often schedule many sessions over days, weekends or even weeks.
Because they are affordable, conferences can be a great addition to any Event Strategy. These conferences can be held in small conference rooms or large convention halls. Common conference activities include breakout sessions, guest speakers, and networking opportunities.
The World Wide Developer Conference by Apple is an example of a large-scale event. This conference is geared towards developers and users. The program includes a highly sought-after speaker and sessions that help customers get the most from their products.
You are likely to have the same goal if you host a seminar: to reach an audience and provide valuable information. For seminars, event ROI can be determined by factors other than net profit from ticket sales.
Seminars are usually smaller than conferences and last for one hour. Seminars are used most often to train managers and employees. However, they can be very effective and emphasize interaction over lecturing.
Wednesday Relations is hosting a seminar titled “Building B2B Marketing Excellence”. Sales and marketing professionals will show attendees how to effectively market within the SaaS B2B space to their customers. The 90-minute event starts with a catered breakfast and ends with a recap.
Intercompany Meetings/Periodic Business Gatherings
These events are used to discuss selected topics, facilitate project kickoffs, evaluate progress, or solve a particular problem. These events are most common for companies with more than 25 employees, but they can also benefit smaller businesses.
This type of event usually includes a schedule, booking or coordinating facilities, organizing audiovisual equipment for presentations and planning lunch for attendees depending on the time. All of this can be done using advanced event management software. It depends on how formal or sensitive the topic is; the preparations for such an event can take several months to a few hours.
Plum Organics, a baby-food company, has added a creative activity to their company meetings: colouring books. Employees can colour with markers and crayons during creative brainstorming sessions, which fits their brand. Their staff can colour, talk, and decompress simultaneously with this fun activity.
Expos and Trade Shows
Expos and trade shows are designed to showcase new products and services from related brands professionally. These types of events usually have a theme to tie the booths together.
Expos and trade shows are particularly useful for prospects not yet familiar with your product or looking to get more information in person. This event is great for companies who want to increase their in-person interaction with customers.
Bright Agrotech uses its trade show booth to showcase its product (quite literally). The vertical farming startup showcases a wall full of fresh produce and greenery. It stands out from the rest with laminated flyers, tv screens and other promotional materials. The attractive booth showcases their software as well as services.
Thought Leadership and Networking Events
A thought leader events or network events are intended to establish a brand’s authority within a specific domain and provide opportunities for people with similar business interests to interact and meet one another. You can have VIPs, or you can focus on general admission.
Thought leadership and networking events can be used to establish a product’s position in the market, no matter how intimate or grand. This type of event is best if you include speakers and hosts from your company. Also, make sure to include multitouch event marketing strategies in your plan.
Bozeman Business Exchange Happy Hour is hosted by BizX and celebrates the community each month with drinks and appetizers. They host the event in various venues, including historic theatres and hot tub showrooms.
Ceremonies / Galas
Galas have many purposes, but they all serve one purpose: to present a brand’s product or service elegantly. Galas and ceremonies are a great way to mark a special occasion, whether it’s a black-tie fundraising event at a rented museum or an opening ceremony for an annual conference meeting.
Every ceremony and gala provides entertainment, from live music to guest speakers. Regardless of the topic, these events are fun and encourage people to have fun.
The ANA B2 Awards gala recognizes prestigious business-to-business agencies in various roles, including new media strategy, global brand strategy, and product launches. The awards are held in conjunction with the conference. Guests can upgrade their conference tickets to include this event.
Launch of Product
Product launches, which are sales-oriented events, increase interest in new products, services or features and generate media coverage. They are a crucial part of the marketing of a product. If done correctly, they can dramatically increase brand visibility before the public even has the chance to use it.
Invited media guests are often invited to product launches. They report on the product being introduced. The success of these events is often determined by the timing, attention to detail, and level of satisfaction among your guests.
Namely’s HR-Redefined product launch used account-based event marketing to personalize each attendee’s experience. Each person received a personalized nameplate created by a New York-based design firm specializing in typography. Even if you don’t intend to give out swag, the moral of the story is that product launches should still be focused on the consumer as much or more than your company.
VIP events, or Sales Acceleration Events, are designed to provide the most powerful shareholders, customers, and honoured guests with an exceptional (and impressive!) experience. Any VIP event aims to increase revenue by maintaining loyalty with key figures.
These events are usually catered and offer complimentary entry for guests from out-of-town. You must get to know your audience to create an enjoyable experience that appeals to their interests.
The Chief Wine Officer Financial Services Industry Headline dinner features two of their biggest resources: wine expertise and a group of financial industry VIPs. Over 50 executives attend their invitation-only event, where they can enjoy fine wine tastings and facilitate discussion on industry hot topics.
Job Fairs/Recruiting Events
Most job fairs and recruitment events aim to recruit talent across many departments. This type of event is most popular with startups and companies looking for fresh talent to expand their businesses.
This type of event provides a chance for potential recruits to have a personal connection. Potential recruits can meet with actual employees to learn more about their ideal candidate’s workplace, benefits, and details. It could be a long-lasting investment to make a good impression at a job fair or other recruiting events.
For potential job applicants who are interested in designing, building, and testing self-driving cars, the Department of Defense hosts a Grand Challenge. They are looking to find the best talent and promote the advancement of the entire industry. There are many ways to make competitions that relate to the subject matter your audience and brand cares about, even if you don’t have the funds to tackle a major technology project.
These team-building events allow employees to have fun and build relationships. The purpose of these events is to foster relationships so that employees can be better leaders and collaborators. It is also a great way to bring people together from different departments.
Team building events can be educational, motivating, or inspirational, depending on how they are planned. Obstacle courses and other challenges indoors or out are classic examples of team-building events. Events like hackathons and offsites are also eligible. Events that promote trust and build morale should build trust and increase productivity.
Glassdoor organizes a board-game tournament that brings together employees for some friendly competition. The games were chosen based on the participants’ goals, which included facilitating play, developing skill sets and encouraging team collaboration. Event planners can replicate this event with any teamwork-based activity that is both challenging and entertaining.
Most brand activation events aim to strengthen emotional bonds between companies and their audience. Since relationship-building is the primary focus of this event type, it’s especially important to know which audiences you target to plan the activities accordingly.
Field marketing events are usually held offsite in areas where prospects and relevant audiences can be found. These events are often a catalyst for sales and offer various opportunities for collaboration in marketing and sales.
JetBlue’s Ultimate Ice Breaker Challenge, which featured a 6-foot cube of frozen summer accessories in New York City, is both an example of experiential marketing and a clever way of promoting activations. Passersby were invited to chip away on the ice to reveal prizes like flip-flops, beach attire and golf clubs. The event was about promoting the new partnership between the airline, the tourist bureau of Palm Springs and highlighting their additional flight routes.
The Key Takeaways: Choosing the Right Event Type
There are many great examples, but how can you decide which type of event is best for your brand? Event Marketing isn’t for everyone. Here are some things to think about before you host your next event.
- Think about what you want to accomplish. Not all events listed here will meet your goals. Determine your ROIs and benchmarks before deciding on the type of event you want to plan.
- Look back at what you’ve seen in the past. What can you do to make the experience your own?
- Determine which option is the most appealing to your attendees. Use surveys and polls to get their opinions. Please make sure they are excited about the idea, no matter what you do.
The key to choosing the right type of event for your B2B soirée is what you want to accomplish and the flavour you and your brand can bring. It’s all about connecting people.