How to Use Live Events in Your ABM Strategy

Although account-based marketing, or ABM, is gaining steam, it’s still widely considered a less traditional marketing approach. And if you’re going to go non-traditional—why not think a little further outside the box?

When it comes to content creation for ABM, there are many “go-tos” that come to mind. Think white paper, think infographic—think the many assets that form a solid content foundation. These assets are necessary and do a ton of heavy lifting in an account-based marketing program—but they often need extra support to keep campaigns engaging enough for the target audience.

Once you’ve done your research and gotten your ABM program up and running, we suggest adding a non-traditional content element into the mix.

Giving a tangible gift by way of a direct mail kit is a great strategy that connects you directly with your audience. But what if you took it one step further, and gave those kits away at a live event, whether in-person or virtual?

Hosting a live event is a daunting proposition—no matter how seasoned an event marketer you may be. We’ve been there—so we’ve compiled our top four tips for launching a successful event that will boost the success of your ABM campaigns—and lead to more closed deals.

Step One: Get Your Sales and Marketing Teams on the Same Page

No matter what type of content you’re creating for your ABM program, it should begin with a meeting of the minds. Before putting anything on paper, bring your marketing and sales teams together in one room—and prepare to brainstorm.

During that meeting, sales can share with marketing the accounts that they’re targeting, and marketing will take that information and build it into their research. Here, you’ll decide when the best time to set up a live event might be, what kinds of content would need to be created to support it, and what team members will be on-site to host and provide follow-up to attendees.

Together, you’ll need to decide on a guest list, and determine the goals of hosting an event. Are you launching a new product and want to create awareness? Is there an industry webinar happening that’s buzzworthy and could inspire great conversations by watching together?

Once you’re aligned, the “homework” phase of your event begins.

Step Two: Planning—the Earlier, the Better

When you’re hosting a live event—or any event, for that matter—it pays to be early. Especially when there are venues and catering to be considered, you cannot begin planning too soon. If  your live event will be hosted virtually, you can eliminate steps like these, but there will still be plenty of elements to consider, like securing moderators and picking out the right tool to use for hosting.

To tackle planning efficiently, set up a spreadsheet where you’ll track important deadlines, assemble content pieces that need to be planned and executed before the event, and store contact information for everyone who will be working on the event. Representatives from sales and marketing should host weekly check-ins to monitor the progress of pre-event planning, to ensure those dotted i’s and crossed t’s.

Step Three: Consider the Content of the Event

Even though you’ll be hosting a live event that will have a natural flow, you’ll still need to put some structure in place. To do this, take an inventory of supportive content that will fit the theme of your event.

If the event is on the topic of AI, for example, gather together what you’ve created on AI thus far, and identify any gaps.

Lacking statistics and research? Consider weaving updated facts into an existing infographic that reps can send to attendees or give a physical print-out of.

Looking for a way to engage users at a virtual event? Consider creating a short introductory video to the topic at hand that can be played before discussions begin.

When you’re creating your content plan for the event, take a step back and consider the experience of the attendee. Would you engage? Would you be moved to ask questions and participate?

Ensure that your attendees will be gaining value from attending. Whether you bring in a respected speaker from your industry, or give shoutouts to projects your attendees have worked on, the event takeaway should be readily apparent.

And have some fun. Attendees are taking time away from busy schedules to participate. So whether it’s a giveaway or a cool venue—think of the guests’ experience and add a dose of fun to the basic structure of the event.

Step Four: Provide Personalized Follow-Ups

If your event is in-person, physical print-outs of assets like white papers or infographics will make a lasting impression, particularly when they’re paired with things that might go in your direct mail kits, like personalized notebooks or fun (not corny!) trinkets.

When people have attended your event, their hand has been raised to indicate interest, and it’s crucial to follow up with them appropriately and thank them for their time. At the event, you’ll need to ask targeted questions and record your interactions, as this information will be priceless for following up.

We’ve all received the generic “thank you” email upon visiting a booth or attending an event—but when you’re hosting an event specific to ABM, your communications approach can make or break your follow-up success.

Consider sending a direct mail “thank you” that includes a personalized, handwritten note after the event—including as much detail as possible.

Measuring ABM Success and Moving Ahead

So, you’ve done it! You’ve hosted your first live event for ABM. As you gather insights from the event, be sure to take note of everything—from conversations on non-relevant topics to feedback received from attendees. With ABM, “quantity” is truly in the quantity of details, and “quality” is in the success gained from executing on the details and insights you receive.

Set up a survey post-virtual event, or send an email survey to those who attended an event in-person. Giving attendees a space to voice what they liked can provide an invaluable feedback loop.

Need more tips for launching an effective ABM program? Check out our webinar

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