Even the most innovative products or services need the right demand generation strategy to tap into their true growth potential. With dynamic customer behavior, technical advancements, and multiple avenues for customer engagement, demand marketers are challenged to stand out from the competition. According to Salesforce, only 28% of marketers are satisfied with their ability to engage with customers across channels at scale.
Keeping people at the center of your demand gen strategy is what’ll set you apart. With a customer-centric approach, you’ll deliver the right experiences and help create lasting relationships with your market ICPs and customers.
In this episode of In Any Event, we explore this strategy in more detail and answer some burning demand gen questions. Gloria Zhu (Director of Demand Gen at Hubilo) and Morgan Chaney (a B2B People-First Marketing Veteran) talk about the importance of putting your customers at the heart of everything when it comes to demand gen, and how it delivers long-term value for your brand.
If you’ve missed it, we’ve collected some of our top insights for you. Let’s dive right in.
According to Morgan Chaney, “Customers are real people. We want them to have a great experience. If nothing else, we want them to connect with our brand in a meaningful way so that we can have a continued relationship. We don't want to just treat people who sign up as users or numbers or transactional relationships.”
Buying experiences should be treated as more than just transactional experiences. There is a much-needed human side to it. After all, you create your products and services for people; your buyers are individuals, not company logos.
In a world where each buyer controls their journey, it’s essential for brands and marketers to meet their buyers where they are.
Events give your prospects a front-row seat as you make an impact in your community. They offer a more meaningful way to connect with your target audience and give them the space to experience your company and product at their own pace.
But this begs the question: Should you run virtual/hybrid or in-person events?
This is one of the most challenging choices for businesses. As most of the world is returning to in-person events, there are still a lot of people who aren’t comfortable in large group settings. Furthermore, an interesting study found that 84% of attendees prefer the flexibility to choose what kind of event they want to attend.
That’s where virtual and hybrid events come in.
“Not everyone has the zeal or liberty to attend an in-person event, for whatever reason,” adds Gloria. “Virtual attendees still comprise a huge chunk of your target audience, and it’s not smart for marketers to alienate them. Only having in-person events makes your business lose so many potential opportunities.”
We’re all living incredibly busy and complex lives, juggling family and work responsibilities, all while growing businesses and brands. Through virtual and hybrid events, we can finally meet our buyers where they are with the flexibility they need.
We’ve said it once, and we’ll say it again: Your products and services are for people. It’s essential that your target audience feels that too. If you’re talking about DE&I as a core company value, you need to offer virtual or hybrid options for your attendees in order to give them accessible options.
Imagine arranging an in-person meeting for 100,000 registered customers in a specific area, and something prevents people from attending. Not only does your investment go down the drain, but all your efforts won’t reach your intended audience. Or, imagine that half your attendees are unable to attend due to flight cancellations, COVID, or other scheduling conflicts.
“A virtual platform alongside your in-person event offers cool engagement and networking opportunities, says Morgan. “It helps you expand your reach to the entire world instead of people who can conveniently visit your area.”
“We come from a background where we're familiar with the [paid platform] algorithms. Even a little change on Facebook or LinkedIn impacts our strategy, and we have no choice but to adapt,” Gloria explains. “These modifications impact our reach, and it’s impossible to ensure the same reach as you had earlier. Whereas with virtual and hybrid events, you invite thousands or even millions of attendees to join you for conferences and webinars, and scale as your community grows.”
Customers have become more accustomed to remote setups, and getting them out of their comfort zone takes a lot of work. Emergencies can strike anytime and anywhere, and no one wants to fly for hours or get into traffic for a conference or webinar. Virtual alternatives reduce friction and makes it easy to attend.
Events are just the first step in building a connection with your customers. They offer an easy way to create contacts with additional touch points like sponsored email blasts, webinars, and more. It also helps you garner more profound knowledge about what your customers are looking for and plan further interactions to build deeper relationships and create brand awareness.
Each event has a goal. It can be building brand awareness, creating a community, or delivering MQLs to your sales teams. With in-person events, some of these direct impacts may be hard to attribute back to your original event.
Virtual events make it easier for you to get into real-time analytics and assess if you’re moving in the right direction. You can quickly pinpoint the conversations that you can deliver to your Sales team as a warm lead and better personalize your nurture strategy based on attendee interactions and engagement.
Demand gen may be daunting, but with proper strategy and expert insights, it’s possible to achieve the results you want. Gloria and Morgan helped us solve the puzzle by fitting the pieces of the people-first strategy together as a core part of our efforts. While we cover the key takeaways here, it’s always insightful to hear them directly from the experts. Be sure to head on over to Hubilo Insiders and get the full scoop or connect with our team today!