The Future of Engagement and Growth Starts with Event-led Growth

Virgil Wadhwa
• June 24, 2022

(5 min read)

Discovering new accounts, engaging buyers and audiences, and growing customer advocates—these are all things that can be achieved through what we’re calling Event-led Growth (ELG). 

But what is ELG, how can it address the challenges B2B businesses face, and why it should matter to you?

Over the past few years, we’ve seen the event space shift entirely and while we think it’s in the right direction, something was missing. Virtual events felt empty and didn’t center the audience’s experience. They were time-consuming and expensive to host, but still only provided one-size-fits-all content rather than tailored information.

We developed Event-led Growth (ELG) because audiences today expect choice, convenience, and customization. Events that align with those expectations create memorable experiences that propel your brand forward and take your customer journey to the next level. 

Looking through an event lens means seeing your customers—present and potential—in a whole new light, and giving them an immersive and valuable experience that will connect them even further to your brand.

Though events of the past were by definition in-person gatherings focused on a topic, today’s hybrid world means events can take on almost any shape. Market trends in events indicate an increased interest in the following: 

  • Data: Collecting it at more touchpoints in the consumer journey, and using it to customize your approach
  • Building experiences, not just content: Moving away from simply delivering content, because content delivered online is just a video, but an event should be an experience
  • Focus on connection to brand: The more experiential your event, the greater connection you’ll have between audience and brand
  • Building a community: Your community is a moat around your brand—the stronger your community the more durability your business has

ELG not only addresses these market trends but also builds on them while solving some of the main challenges B2B businesses face today. 

What is Event-led Growth? 

ELG is a method to discover, engage, and grow customers through immersive and integrated events across the entire customer journey. 

It’s an event-first growth strategy across the customer journey, with events at the center of everything. That means, your event is the offer, the marketing campaign revolves around the event, and all channels work to create awareness and drive interest toward the event.

ELG is about stepping back and learning to look at events not just as a singular moment in time, but a continuum that starts far before the day of the show, and continues far after. ELG helps you maximize the three acts of any event: 

  • Act I: Getting people excited and signing up—building interest and engagement and gathering data
  • Act II: The main event itself—providing a customized experience, connecting people together, and sowing the seeds for new accounts and increased pipeline
  • Act III: What happens after the event to keep engagement going—focused follow-ups based on the information gathered at the event, repackaged content that will continue to gain new audiences

Once you have those three acts laid out, and a strategy to pull them off, you can start using your event to tackle larger challenges faced by B2B businesses. 

Growth challenges and how ELG solves for them

B2B businesses are facing new challenges that require new solutions. 

Lack of unique brand identity

Because of consistent daily exposure to new brands, unique brand identity is more important than ever. Events have the capacity to differentiate your brand throughout audience segments, and create deeper, more meaningful connections. 

ELG is audience-focused, so events become more customizable and more relevant to your brand. No longer do you have to plan for one major event per year to differentiate yourself. Each event you craft can be targeted and bring the best elements of your brand to life. 

Ask yourself: 

  • Who are you creating this event for? 
  • Why an event for this audience? 
  • What value will this event bring to this audience? 

Generic customer engagement

When we entered the virtual event era, nearly every event came equipped with a chat function—but a chat tool is part of almost every digital interaction you can have nowadays. If the engagement tool for your event is the same tool everyone uses to interact during their workday, your event may as well be a boring webinar. 

ELG takes customer engagement from one-dimensional to two-dimensional by putting attendees at the center. Audience-centric content should be dynamic with a curated run of show, no matter how short the event. Every moment must have a purpose, and ELG-focused event planners find that effective planning leads to more opportunities for distinctive engagement. 

Missed opportunities to create customer affinity

All along the customer journey, there are touchpoints where it’s possible to develop customer affinity. Unless you zoom out and look at your event as not just a moment in time but an entire ecosystem, you’ll miss those moments and the growth opportunities that come with them. 

Because ELG is data-focused and audience-centered there are more opportunities to identify users who are less engaged with your product and create an event around them—maybe even build an event to help those soon-to-be advocates get more value from your product. Thinking of the new world event as a three-act approach, planning past the show date to remain connected with your audience means more chances to convert prospects into advocates. 

Over-reliance on paid media

These days, getting someone’s attention—generating pipeline—is a never-ending battle of large growth targets. It’s easier to rely on paid media to do some of that work for you, but the more eggs you put in one basket, the bigger risk you take. 

Paid media is a channel, but an event is an offer. So while you’ll likely use paid media to entice people to your event, it shouldn’t be your number one tactic. If done well, an event is going to help you build up a bigger email database with a more engaged audience because they’ve gone on a journey with you. And if they’re more engaged, they’re likely to stay engaged, too. 

Paid media is transactional, an event is relationship-based. You can guess which one leads to more authentic, engaging connections that are more likely to last over time.

Difficulty nurturing leads into pipeline 

Moving a lead to an opportunity often requires a compelling offer. Still, because events are relationships, the right event, targeted toward the right audience can really move the needle. 
Connecting deeply with attendees by creating an experience designed specifically for them creates motivation that may not have been there before. When your event is the embodiment of your brand, you’re driving your attendees further down the pipeline and nurturing them with a deep knowledge of their needs and incentives.

Why ELG is good for business

Event-led growth doesn’t just make for better events, more engaged audiences, and a more unique brand identity, it’s also good for your bottom line. 

When used correctly, ELG leads to more: 

  • Brand and community growth
  • Pipeline and revenue
  • Customer retention 

What does it mean when we say events become the new center of gravity? How does it translate into your marketing team’s hierarchies and structures?

We’d like to make something clear. ELG is not about scaling your Events team with more people and resources to a point where they can run more frequent, bigger, and better events. It’s about how the events team can better integrate within the marketing team and other functions. In fact, if you’re just starting out, you don’t even need an events team to put together a great virtual event.

ELG is not just a shift in strategy—it’s a cultural shift. It requires a willingness to:

1) Constantly put your brand and your brand’s personality in the spotlight in the best possible manner

2) Hustle to get the best thought-leaders and partners associated with your brand
3) Go against the grain and explore the uncharted territory of virtual experiences, of which we’ve so far barely scratched the surface

Without a doubt, ELG brings more alignment within the Marketing team, but it also brings together Marketing, Sales, and Customer Success, closing gaps and ever-snowballing communication voids.

When multiple departments can come together to collaboratively decide which experience is best suited to re-engage dormant prospects, and which focused audience will unlock more expansion deals, you’re creating an ecosystem of alignment. 

That’s what ELG is about.

The right experience. For the right audience. At the right time.

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