How To Improve Event Outcomes With Account Based Marketing

July 15, 2019
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Event marketing technology firm Bizzabo recently won the SIIA CODiE award for best technology company, for the second year in a row. Bizzabo has raised $27M in new funding and more than doubled its revenue in the last year, with clients like Forbes, HubSpot and The Wall Street Journal. And Bizzabo’s Vice President of Marketing, Alon Waks, says it’s all because of account based marketing — an approach that he believes should be integral to event marketing.

For more than a decade, inbound marketing — a methodology designed to draw visitors and potential customers in, rather than pushing a brand, product or service onto prospects — has been touted as the best way to increase conversion rates. And when HubSpot coined the term in 2006, buyers were indeed tired of push marketing tactics. But in today’s heavily digitalized world, Waks says that inbound is now debatable as a conversion approach.

“People are more cynical,” he says. “They no longer want to click on just any ad. Today we have more sophisticated marketing technology that can deliver the intelligence and insights needed for personalization.”

In contrast to inbound, ABM is a business marketing approach that concentrates resources on a set of target accounts. It uses personalized campaigns designed to engage each account, basing the marketing message on the specific attributes and needs of that particular prospect or customer. ABM is often used for upselling and cross-selling — strategies that are common in the world of B2B business events. But these strategies are often overlooked when it comes to events.  

Waks says that events are often perceived as being binary. Either you attended an event, or you didn’t. 

“If someone downloaded a whitepaper from a website or attended a webinar, there would likely be some form of tracking and marketing scoring applied — but at the event, this is overlooked,” he explains.

At any given event, whether that be a user conference, trade show or seminar, Waks says there are likely to be a minimum of 25 interesting touch points. The examples he gives include talking to vendors, attending sessions, ranking sessions, following speakers on social media and simply having conversations with other attendees. Tracking this data for multiple people at multiple events can provide data that can be extremely valuable for marketing.

“ABM at events means figuring out what my target account did,” he says, “It's using the data that we can now get to inform targeted marketing. You can create micro campaigns specifically for that client because now you know who they are, what type of content they're interested in and who the people are within that company to direct the right messages to.”

Waks says this data can also provide real-time agile and proactive marketing capabilities as well. Say you’re planning an event. You can mine the data from previous events to determine what topics may be most appealing to your target account’s representatives and make personalized recommendations.

Sales executives often need proof that an event is worth the time, money and effort spent by their account managers — what Waks calls the “ROE,” or “return on event.”

Using ABM at events can help event marketers provide sales with the data they need, focused around business outcomes. For example, data points such as “Out of 100 target account representatives in Chicago, our 1.5 days roadshow engaged 50 of them. Twenty took significant actions and are now qualified leads.” From there, recommendations can be made, such as hosting a discovery day, reaching out to schedule a product demo, or any other helpful follow-up activity.

Waks says that the modern way of looking at events is about getting the right people in the room and giving them the right content to engage with versus just getting a lot of people in the room. Having the data to be able to personalize offerings allows businesses to take a more consultative approach rather than throwing out a general, generic marketing or sales message — making engagement more likely to happen and more effective when it does.

“Being able to say, ‘Here's what we've seen that has helped businesses like yours, let’s have a conversation’ automatically gives you more credibility,” Waks explains. “It makes sales and marketing much more aligned when you think about live, in-person events this way. It's a good way to help everybody work better together.”

Waks cites Bizzabo research figures, saying that from their yearly conversations with more than 700 event leaders from both B2B and B2C markets, an average of 24 percent of marketing budget is spent on events.

“It’s not just about the logistics and the management of the event, it’s about the success criteria and being strategic with your event marketing, because that’s the only way you’re going to succeed,” he says. “If event marketers can show significant business outcomes from those events, they’ll be the heroes.”

For information on the Bizzabo event success platform, go here.


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