In this article, you’ll learn…
- How changing buyer behavior, waning customer loyalty, and the explosion of channels challenge the revenue goals of today’s CMOs.
- How well-designed and executed events can help marketers combat these challenges to accelerate revenue.
- The role of technology in bringing events into the revenue cycle.
It’s no secret the role of marketing has evolved. CMOs are being challenged to shape the trajectory of business and align with sales to generate revenue. This challenge must be met while operating in an era where customers are driving the buying process, brand loyalty is low, and how we engage customers is more complex than ever.
The CMO’s Challenge
Customers at the Wheel
A customer’s journey through the buying cycle (and marketing’s role in the process)has transformed. Customers are empowered, using an increasing mix of channels and devices to discover, research, review, and compare products and services. These self-educated buyers are smart, resourceful, and well-connected. They forge their own path to purchase, completing their own research before entering the sales cycle—often only reaching out to a sales rep at the final steps.
Forrester Research reports, today’s buyers might be up to 90% of the way through their buying journey before they reach out to a vendor.
Customer Experience is Key
Customers expect more. They expect better. If one brand fails to deliver, it’s easy to go elsewhere. For these reasons, it’s easy to see why in this digital era, CMOs regard enhancing customer loyalty as their top priority. IBM’s 2012 CMO study found B-to-B customers are “buying more carefully, haggling harder over prices, demanding greater customization, and looking for opportunities to pass risk back to their suppliers.”
How Smart CMOs Are Accelerating Revenue with Events
Events engage prospects, leads, and customers in a high-touch, face-to-face environment. By putting the right ingredients in place marketers can successfully use events to actively contribute to key organizational goals – increase promoters, improve brand loyalty, and drive top-line revenue. Here’s how:
Personalizing the Event Experience
Through events, marketers can deliver real value to customers and prospects as they strive to make stronger connections and educate themselves on products and best practices. Events can be used to accelerate revenue when they clearly meet the individual needs and preferences of attendees. By understanding, from first touch, an attendee’s interests and preferences, marketers can pinpoint where each individual stands in their buying process and get closer to knowing what needs to be done in order to win their business. The most successful events allow attendees to tailor the experience to their ideals, access meaningful content, and engage with others who share similar interests.
Connecting Participants 1:1
Brand loyalty has always been based on building personal connections. These connections are more important than ever before. Smart CMOs are using events to get their own brands closer to customers, but they’re also using events to bring participants closer to one another. Use event management technology, with self-selected or automated appointment matching, to maximize the value of each participant’s investment to and improve the overall event experience.
Integrating with Marketing Automation and CRM
Accelerating the revenue cycle requires marketers to help prospects make their way through a set of activities that ultimately lead them to buy. These activities cross channels and can span a few weeks to many months. As prospects self-educate, it’s important for them to experience a consistent flow of information and connections across their preferred channels throughout this process; for marketers to track and facilitate these interactions; and for sales to step in at the right moment.
Smart CMOs are using event management technology to gather more intelligent insight on attendees. But they’re not stopping there. These deeper profiles are being fed directly into marketing automation and CRM platforms to give marketers and sales people more meaningful information from which to take action and tailor additional nurturing activities to increase loyalty and drive sales. This data integration is also delivering a much clearer picture of the ROI of each event and how events fit in the overall revenue cycle.
The ability to capture and tie rich attendee profiles directly into a closed-loop marketing automation cycle enhances the role of events in generating leads and sales. Event management technology collects a greater level of intelligence on customers. When integrated with marketing automation (MA) and CRM systems these rich profiles provide better scoring of event leads, put participants in the correct nurturing campaigns, and deliver to sales more highly qualified leads.
Events deliver connections and experiences that simply cannot be replicated by other marketing programs. And now CMOs have the tools to efficiently plan, implement, promote, and bring events into the revenue cycle.
With event management software, organizations have access to all of the essentials to drive revenue. Technology can simplify and automate processes around event planning, venue sourcing, qualification, registration, personalization, appointment matching, reporting, and more. Complete with design tools for consistent branding and delivery across desktop and mobile devices, event technology empowers CMOs to get closer to customers, reinforce their brand, and accelerate sales cycles.
How will your events light up the revenue dashboard this year?