How to get audience at B2B events

Events are the mainstay of marketing activity mix in B2B businesses, to generate opportunities. Hence they need to be carefully planned and executed. The key consideration is the quality of audience that comes to attend an event. The following ten factors need focus to get there.

The first factor is the why. Why would a target customer attend your event? These days information about your product and competing products are readily available on the net. Customers will not come just to listen to your sales pitch. It is then imperative we add general interest sessions about the technology or field that you are in. Preferably this session should be conducted by a neutral, respected person of authority on the subject.  Alternatively, people want to hear celebrities, senior policymakers and leaders. These sessions should form the core of the event.

The second factor is networking. People like to meet others in similar situations and discuss how they are addressing similar challenges. People also like to network to scout for talent or find jobs. It is therefore important to highlight the profile of attendees in all communication.

Location: In large metros, with current traffic scenario, event location becomes an important factor. Centrally located venue (or located close to where a majority of your target audience resides) that is well connected and with parking will ensure fewer dropouts.

Timing:  The timing of your event matters a lot.  It is difficult to draw senior people to day events as it interferes with their office work. Evening events or events which start after 4 Pm will usually get better attended. Even dates and days matter. Events closer to month end are less popular. Monday events are shunned. Events that start at the beginning of a long weekend will see less attendance.

Building Hype: It helps to build hype around your event. This can be done by sending a series of communications each highlighting a particular aspect of an event. Having quality speakers, celebrities in attendance, out-of-the-box content helps.

Reminders.: All registrants must be reminded on phone and email one day prior to the event. This ensures reduction in dropouts.

Venue Quality: Quality of revenue reflects on the perceived quality of the event. Choose good hotels or respectable institutions to host your event.

Multiple databases: No one agency can guarantee you 100% coverage of your potential audience. Use multiple databases to reach out to them.

Multiple Platforms: No one platform can reach out to all the potential attendees. Use a combination of emails, telecalling, social media advertising and digital advertising. Depending on the budget you may consider print, radio, outdoor and TV advertising too, but here targeting is difficult hence are expensive per unit of the result. Event listing websites like also increase event’s reach.

Brand association: Big and respected brands draw attendees. If you are a big brand great, if not try to piggyback at events where big brands are present.

We at Channel Technologies manage hundreds of events annually, all the above pointers are based on our experience and may or may not guarantee success in a particular event. So use these guidelines intelligently as you think they would apply to your event.


Confront the Vital Question-Why will my target audience come?

As an IT company, with a range of cloud-based solutions, you are anxious about the need to expand your sales funnel. This quarter is going fine, but for the next quarter, things look quite hazy. There are thus visible worry lines on your brow!

Enter-Agency X: You decide it’s time to reach out to your target audience pan India through a series of events. You choose Agency X for this purpose and give them a brief on the profile of audience you require and the numbers and tell them to get started.

You are now hoping to get the right audience in a hall and get your ace speakers or partners to expound on the great features of your products. After that leads will follow and this will get you your expected revenues. So far so good. But as they say the best-laid plans of men and mice…!

In the heated frenzy to get started and log in more business, even the agency doesn’t confront the vital questions which are:

Why would people attend my event?

Like my solutions, does my event have a USP?

The Event Differentiator: Consider this in a scenario where this same audience gets invited by so many companies all the time. And this includes most market leaders.

Let’s face it-with traffic hazards and the need for family time, any such activity is seen as an infringement on private space. Serious audiences have had enough of cocktails, dinners, and freebies to be excited by such reasons.

The nightmare of empty seats or paying five-star rates for irrelevant people could be staring at you!

Confront and get the answers: To avoid this expensive learning, its best to keep this why-will-people-come question uppermost in mind and also commend the agency which insists on a satisfactory response.

What is the newness in my topics? Do I have content to offer which goes beyond a sales pitch? Do my speakers carry credibility? Is the perceived pull for my event being communicated effectively? And the clincher. Does my event have a digital backbone?

Do my events carry a brick and mortar image or does my software manage registrations, feedback, networking, and polling?

The Jigsaw Fits Now: Answers to these questions and more that will come up when you deal with the right agency, will ensure that all vital links that go to ensure a successful event from database to invitation process to registration to event management to leads – are sorted.

The right questions, as they say, are as important as the answers!

We are moving towards a better Customer Experience ! (Or are we?)

My FIVE personal examples that debunk the myth

1.      A market leader in hotel booking

Three years back I booked a hotel in Dublin for a holiday through their site. Till today they inundate me with mailers offering special hotel deals in Dublin. The surmise seems to be that I am a person who would only like to go to Dublin for a holiday! Recently I used them to book a hotel in Vegas. Now the deluge of mailers for Vegas has begun.

2.      A leading ERP software company

We bought their cloud-based ERP software and gave up after two years of struggle –the package just didn’t cater to our needs. We still continue to receive updates as if we are customers even though we terminated our agreement four years ago! Would have expected a company with their technology edge to be smarter!

3.      A market leader in Satellite TV (DTH) in India

Navigating their IVR is a harrowing experience. I asked for a particular package and was given a cost after a 10-minute wait. Paid the amount as asked. Soon got a call saying the amount was less. Was the second time this had happened. Asked to be connected to a supervisor and was promised a revert. As usual, no one called..

4.      A Leading Private Bank

I have made three futile trips to the branch I deal with to collect a document. There’s only one person authorized to sign that document in that branch and she continues to extend her leave. Of course, the concept of calling and informing about the extended leave doesn’t exist!

5.      A Leading E-Commerce company

I have stopped dealing with them because of their utter disregard for the carbon footprint. Order a paperback and it comes in a carton big enough for a large oven. Order a pen set and it will also be delivered in a mammoth carton. All with endless amount of plastic stuffing.

Amidst all the increased consciousness about improving Customer Experience, enriching the Customer Journey, Personalisation, and with all the investments on expensive CRM software, a lot has been achieved but something serious is still amiss and needs to be addressed.