Digital marketing has gotten a new infusion of attention and creativity in the past year. We’ve watched B2B marketers push the constraints of the small screen and find new ways to connect with buyers as a stand-in for in-person communication and fill up those pipelines. In the process, we’ve collectively raised the bar.
You could get away with a basic Zoom meet-up in the early months of 2020. No longer. If you haven’t already, it’s time to find new ways to personalize digital experiences that meet the needs (and schedules) of your buyers.
Demand Gen Report explored the topic in a recent report, sponsored by Uberflip and Validity, called What’s Working in Digital Experiences: Marketers Turn to Customized “Live” Experiences, Chat, Podcasts and Other Creative Approaches to Engage Buyers.
Intimate, Relevant Digital Events
While many of us bemoaned the loss of in-person events, we’ve also realized some major advantages from them (beyond the cost savings). Limited travel budgets and busy schedules prevent many targets from attending live events. It can be much easier to make time for a digital event that takes place at your desk.
That goes not just for attendees, but for sponsors and speakers as well. Many organizations are seeing much higher attendance figures for their digital events—particularly early in 2020, before the Zoom fatigue began to set in.
Declining attendance helped inspire some head-turning creative approaches to digital events as lockdowns dragged on—things like bourbon or craft beer tastings and free classes with certification credentials. This kind of creativity helped some events succeed even as enthusiasm for Zoom began to wane.
These kinds of intimate events don’t need to be wildly creative as long as they appeal directly to the people you’re trying to engage. Content4Demand has hosted several regional, invitation-only lunches, with the lunch of their choice delivered by Grubhub. These served as substitutes for the restaurant lunches and dinners we typically host in person to encourage our clients and prospects to share challenges and successes with one another, and they were well received.
Digital Connections to ABM Targets
It’s all well and good to say you’re going to customize content for ABM targets. It can be another thing altogether to scale the content distribution process to deliver consistent experiences across multiple touchpoints. But digital technologies—which fueled the return of this classic strategy in the first place—offer scalable options for customizing content.
Intent and behavioral data, integrated with digital platforms like Ceros and Uberflip, offer a pathway to scaling this kind of content. To begin with, these platforms make it efficient and relatively painless to tailor the copy and design of any particular asset into many customized versions for specific accounts.
The engagement metrics in these platforms allow you to measure what users are clicking and reading—and for how long—to gauge their intent and select which emails to send, which leads to pass on to sales, and so on.
These collaborative processes align marketing with sales in new ways to get everyone working from the same playbook to generate revenue.
An Extended Shelf Life
A big upside to these digital-only events is the ability to capture and reuse them. Your physical trade show can’t be replicated and shared, but your digital events can live on long after everyone exits the Zoom.
It’s a no-brainer to extend the success of a one-time event’s reach by offering it on demand. You may choose to host and promote the on-demand session via your core web pages, or perhaps you’ll want to host them on a devoted landing page with exclusive access for key markets. You might even edit the contents to appeal to a number of specific audiences.
There are even advantages when it comes to marketing an on-demand event, because you already have concrete assets at your disposal. Snippets of an actual panel discussion can be a great way to attract on-demand viewers to watch the rest of the session. So can still photos or event-inspired GIFs.
Just like any repurposing strategy, keep an open mind about reimagining the content into a variety of formats. In-depth discussions could make an effective podcast or blog post series, for example. And be sure to shape the content into meaningful social media posts, including LinkedIn.
Where To Next?
“It’s the quality of digital experiences throughout the customer lifecycle that turns prospects into customers, and customers into advocates,” says Jeff Foley, Senior Director of Product at Validity, in the DGR report. He points to three key elements that determine the quality and effectiveness of digital experiences: the quality of your data, your prospect and customer communications, and how quickly you learn and improve.
People may be ready to flock back to crowded convention centers, but digital events are here for good in one form or another. The hybrid model that includes some digital components alongside in-person events is likely to gain a foothold. Whatever tack you take, we all have the opportunity to move forward with new tools and insights under our belts and an ability to look at event possibilities with a fresh set of eyes.
Is your organization ready with solid event strategies for the coming year? Check out Event Strategy & Content Support for Digital & In-Person Events.
Holly Celeste Fisk is an accomplished marketing pro with 20+ years of experience in B2B and B2C. She’s responsible for Content4Demand’s internal marketing efforts, managing everything from content creation and email marketing to events and sponsorships, blog publishing, website management and social media presence. When she’s not working, you’ll find her sliding into third at softball, buried in a book or practicing her Italian.