Introducing Event-led Growth: The Only Way to Fix Broken Event Strategies

Mark Kilens
• April 19, 2022

(5 min read)

Organizations need a new way to discover new prospects and accounts, engage buyers and customers, and grow customers and advocates. They need a new approach to create immersive and integrated events across the entire customer journey.

We’re calling it Event-led Growth (ELG).

It starts by rethinking what you mean by event.

The past two years have fast-forwarded social, cultural, and economic change.

We learned to socialize online and swapped physical offices for cloud collaboration. We swapped in-store shopping for online browsing and replaced in-person concerts with virtual experiences. We transitioned to a digital-first world. That won’t change anytime soon.

Beneath this transformation are three undeniable truths.

First, convenience is everything today.

Consumer technology like Netflix and Amazon raised the bar for customer experience. One-click purchases, lightning-fast delivery, effortless signups, the list goes on. Each new innovation drove up consumer expectations, which quickly became buyer expectations, too.

There are no second chances for inconvenient businesses, either. An astounding 97% of consumers have already backed out of a purchase because the process was clunky or unintuitive.

Second, having choices is our default expectation.

Never before have consumers had access to so many tools, services, and experiences. Rapid digital transformation unlocked once-offline businesses and virtual pivots brought in-person experiences online.

Faced with so much choice, brand loyalty is waning. Since the start of the pandemic, three-quarters of consumers report trying new buying behaviors with one in three trying new brands or providers. 

And third, delivering customized experiences and products are more important than ever.

One-size-fits-all products are a thing of the past. Today’s consumers demand experiences tailored to their unique needs and goals. Although 95% of marketers believe in the power of personalization, just 6% of organizations are equipped to deliver it.

The world has undeniably changed, but our event strategies haven’t. Sure we’ve done some virtual events, but they felt empty and boring. 

Now in 2022, many organizations are planning to invest most of their events budget into “Old World” events. They fixate on large, infrequent, in-person events, spending many months and millions of dollars planning the show. But these large, in-person conferences and tradeshows reach a relatively small audience once a year. They struggle to personalize experiences and lack real-time attendee data, too. On top of that, you now need to have a really compelling reason to get people to show up. 

It’s an outdated approach for the new world. And it’s hurting organizations.

You’re leaving money on the table

Sticking with Old World events through an era of transformation is misguided at best and foolish at worst. Marketing must respond to changes in human behavior and preferences. If it doesn’t, it’ll become a source of friction rather than an opportunity for delight.

When companies stick with the status quo, they risk hurting their business on three levels.

Less differentiation

Competition is higher than it’s ever been. If a buyer wants a new merchandising system or healthcare plan, they have crowds of vendors shouting for their attention and jostling for position. It’s chaotic and cacophonous.

Standing out in a brutally competitive market by doing what everyone else is doing is impossible. You’ll blend into the crowd, ignored by your prospects. 

Weaker relationships

Today’s buyers are independent and self-directed. They spend just 17% of their buying journey talking to potential vendors. That’s all vendors, too. Each individual sales rep gets just 5 or 6% of their time.

With dwindling face-to-face interaction, relationships are growing weaker. Sellers are struggling to develop rapport and commitment. Buyers are less likely to see your business as a trusted partner. Without trust, deals slow down and conversions drop. 

Shrinking impact

Businesses don’t run events for the sake of it. They’re brand builders and pipeline generators. They use events to connect with customers and grow their business. But here’s the thing, Old World events are growing less effective at achieving those aims. 

Event attendees now need a reason to travel. Why do I want days of travel instead of logging on for an hour or two at the place of my choice?

And if you can’t consistently engage buyers, they’ll not have your product and your business top of mind. They’ll take their budget to your competitor’s pipeline. And with weaker relationships, you stand a lesser chance with the prospects who do stick around. 

The truth is, Old World events have a waning impact. If you rely solely on monolithic in-person events, you’ll achieve less while working even harder to execute a sold out event.

But Old World events are not your only option. Marketing evolves alongside buyer behavior and preferences. Today, we’re revealing a new event ideology for the modern buyer and business.

Event-led growth is the future

Organizations need a new way to discover new prospects and accounts, engage buyers and customers, and grow customers and advocates. They need a new approach to create immersive and integrated events across the entire customer journey.

We’re calling it event-led growth (ELG).

It starts by rethinking what you mean by event.

Events aren’t solely monolithic conferences that take a year to plan. They’re not single spikes on a calendar. An event is any moment when you bring people together. Events encompass an enormous range of formats. They’re thought leadership webinars and VIP events. They’re product workshops and annual conferences. They’re product training sessions and self-directed user groups.

But event-led growth is much more than a redefinition.

It empowers you to create real connections and unforgettable moments with your buyers, customers, and community. It gives event attendees the power of choosing how they want to attend and where they want to attend from. It turns isolated calendar spikes into a string of interconnected experiences.

It breaks events out of their departmental silo and turns them into marketing’s new center of gravity, ushering in a new era of marketing cohesion, collaboration, and impact.

Unlock the potential of events

The Old World approach has many faults and drawbacks. Event-led growth doesn’t just solve what’s broken. Businesses of all sizes haven’t yet come close to realizing the full power of events. Event-led growth is about unleashing their full potential.

Deeper connections

Event-led growth creates time and opportunity for relationship building. It turns monolithic events into complex, multitouch journeys where consumers and relationships are key. Deliver engaging, personalized, and immersive experiences to create moments worth remembering and sharing.

Interconnected experiences

Events once lived in an isolated silo. But with event-led growth, they act as a new center of gravity, uniting demand generation, customer marketing, brand, and content marketing. It empowers marketers to build digitally native events and integrate those experiences across a buyer’s entire lifecycle.

Impact amplification

Turn the tide of waning impact. By uniting different marketing disciplines, events act as a force multiplier. Enhance your brand and enrich your customer experience. Generate, recut, and amplify your content marketing. Learn about your customers’ challenges, wants, and needs. Event-led growth allows you to do more with less.

Explore event-led growth

Shantanu Narayen, CEO at Adobe, once said: “All businesses must redefine how we engage with customers and deliver digital experiences at unprecedented scale.”

It’s time we bring real, immersive engagement and a sense of belonging to all events. It’s time we host in-person, virtual, and hybrid events throughout the entire year for different audiences and different outcomes. It’s time that event content is amplified and gets seen by more people after the event ends.

Rethink the way you host events. Watch marketing leaders getting down to the nitty-gritty of Event-led growth.

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