We recently chatted with Greg Schneider, Marketing Director, Global Events at Dell and member of the Event Marketer B-to-B Dream Team. Greg shared his perspective on bringing the Dell brand to life at events, the changing nature of audiences, and the future of brand experiences. Check out what he had to say:
Q: What role does brand experience play in your overall marketing efforts?
GS: It’s a critical component because events and brand experiences are a unique way to engage with your customer. They allow us to work to deliver what can be a very complicated story in a more meaningful and simpler way. Technology is not usually simple, and our customers are making very tough decisions. Since Dell has always used a direct approach, events allow direct engagement with our customers. And, at the end of the day, nothing beats hands-on interaction and the capability to demonstrate the power of the integrated solutions we provide.
Q: Tell us about your brand and how you bring your brand strategy to life at your events.
GS: It’s really the customers who define a brand. As a customer, I see Dell has grown and evolved through the years and continues to innovate its approach to the global market. Dell is a purpose-driven brand that aims to provide technology that helps people grow, thrive, and reach their full potential. To that end, we are rallying around the message of being “Future Ready” and how Dell is the singular provider of true integrated solutions for the enterprise customer. It comes to life through our people, products, and displays. But I have to say, the people at Dell are fantastic, and there isn’t anything that can replace the passion you see when engaging with the folks at an event. They are awesome!
Q: Who are your most important audiences and whom are you trying to reach? Is that changing?
GS: The most important audience is the one that is truly influencing as well as driving buying decisions. Ultimatey, marketing’s #1 role is to build and drive qualified sales leads to our sales team. I don’t think the core objectives change, but the methods and approach must evolve as the way buying decision-making evolves. Heck, 10 years ago hardly anybody bought online.
Q: What are your biggest business challenges?
GS: Due to the breadth of our offerings, the biggest challenge is to bring the right story, products, and engagement strategy to an event. That is why it is imperative we have an event-scoring methodology that allows us to gauge success as well as opportunities when we approach an event. This proprietary methodology integrates qualitative and quantitative metrics to ensure we have a balanced view on the effectiveness of an event. The team here has done a phenomenal job innovating on top of traditional pipeline and event-scoring metrics.
Q: Where do you see the future of our industry heading?
GS: It is human nature to value and want to attend events. However, as we are all working from the same marketing budgets, I expect companies will continue to really scrutinize spend at a portfolio level, ensuring highest ROI. What’s more, businesses are working more consistently to tie an action or “so what” to the experiential space. In the past (and this may be a generalization), we went for the wow or cool factor. That was missing the point of the story and the opportunity to truly drive action from the customer and measure that action. Thus, I think you will see more targeted events based on targeted customer acquisition strategies than spending funds just to be seen in the market.