Five rock star event professionals. Forty-five minutes. One stage.
Last week, members of the Event Marketer B-to-B Dream Team formed a power panel at the Experiential Marketing Summit in Denver — basically offering a crash course in brand experience for everyone in the audience. From measurement and social media to technology and partnerships, the only thing the session was lacking was more time with these innovators.
Here are the top lessons learned straight from the Dream Team live at EMS:
Lesson 1: Make It Human
This was the top takeaway from EMS, and no surprise — this was a hot topic among the Dream Team members as well. Shantel Gascoigne of Microsoft approached this from the social media perspective. For example, she said that B-to-B event social media marketing needs to be individualized. Why? We all have a low tolerance for bad content and inauthenticity. We know how to have a conversation over coffee — that needs to translate to our social media. Heather Henderson Thomas agreed, and noted that personalization is a priority for Cisco because it leads to higher satisfaction and more customer loyalty. It lets her audiences know that she is paying attention and that she and the rest of the Cisco team care.
Lesson 2: Say Yes to the Tech
Ahh, technology. What once was viewed as a challenging add-on is now integral to the event experience. In fact, Colleen Bisconti of IBM explained that technology is changing the event experience all the way through. It’s now our job as marketers not only to show our audiences the technology, but to help them engage with it as well. In other words, we need to educate and enable them to get the enriched experience they want. Through data and insights, we can bring an event to life using technology in a personalized, coherent manner.
Lesson 3: Do Your Math
Greg Schneider of Dell explained that his team uses a “baseball scorecard” of sort to measure how they are performing in key areas at an event. This enables him to have important dialogue with executives and ultimately leads to more strategic events. He uses the scorecard to prove that just because the brand has always done something, that does not mean they should continue to do it — and ultimately drives value back into the brand.
Lesson 4: P is for Partnership
One thing the Dream Team members agreed upon is that their partners are integral to their success. Heather explained that Cisco can work with any number of partners and expect to be able to collaborate with one another for the greater common good. Colleen and Greg agreed, explaining that the more closely they work with their partners, the more teamwork, innovation, and strategic recommendations can flourish. Finally, Jonas Tornqvist of Sony Mobile shared his secret to partnership success: preparing internal and external teams separately, according to expertise and role, and then bringing them together to collaborate with one another.
Lesson 5: Why Experience?
Last, the Dream Team members explained why experience will continue to be a crucial player within the marketing mix. Shantel said that events are an accelerator for Microsoft — an opportunity for her audiences to get hands-on with the brand. Colleen has been able to tie her event portfolio to sales peaks and dips, proving that when people meet face-to-face, more sales happen. And Greg explained that events let brands tell a complicated story in a simple way. In short, they are simply more effective than any other marketing channel.