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CMO/Marketing Strategy • Event Marketing • Field Marketing
What makes a great tech executive event? What makes technology decision makers register for an event? The topic? The speakers? Your brand? And, once you get them to an event, what are the secrets to keeping the conversation flowing, so both attendees and speakers are engaged?
Plenty of work goes into creating executive roundtables and events: from planning the content to inviting attendees to organizing the venue and handling logistics. All these activities are vital, but successful events are built around great conversations, not just presentations. Unscripted, real conversations foster long-lasting trust between technology buyers and vendors.
Executive events, roundtables and forums can be of great value to both you and your customers. They get their questions answered, let you know what their challenges are, and hear what others in the same situation are doing. You get to position your solution in the context of their challenges and align your brand with industry thought leaders. A worthwhile executive event encourages a two-way dialogue between you and your customers, creating relationships and trust that last long after the event comes to an end.
Seven tips boil down to one simple precept: Build your event around customer conversations, not your marketing presentation. Here are the tips:
Tip #1: Channel Your Audience
First, consider what your goal is and whom you want to attend your event. What do they need to do their job? Enterprise technology buying is a complex process that involves multiple decision makers. Ask yourself the critical questions.
Tip #2: Pick a Provocative Topic
Don’t just build your event around the latest trend or buzzword. No matter how hot your topic is, you should make sure you give busy decision makers a reason to attend. Make it about them, be as specific as possible, and invite them to participate in the conversation.
Tip #3: Moderation is Everything
Moderating live events is an art. Your moderator should be able to engage the audience while keeping the conversation focused and moving forward.
Tip #4: Invest in Great Speakers
Executive roundtables usually feature two or three speakers: a well-known keynote speaker, a speaker from your company and perhaps a speaker from your customer base. The quality of your speakers and how well you help them prepare will go a long way toward making your event a success.
Tip #5: Talk to Your Attendees Beforehand
Try to establish a rapport with your audience before they arrive at the event. This will get them thinking about the topic and give you guidance about what aspects of the content resonate with them.
Tip #6: Be Flexible
While you definitely want to keep the conversation on track and on topic, much of the magic of your event will be in letting your customers ask questions and hear from their peers. Be prepared to handle questions and topics that are not on your agenda but that are legitimately related and of interest.
Tip #7: Create a Comfort Zone
Attendees are much more likely to contribute to that conversation if they feel comfortable and relaxed. An interesting venue with gourmet food and four-star service may not always be realistic or within your budget, but your customers will always appreciate a smooth registration desk, comfortable chairs and a good cup of coffee.
Brian Gillooly, Editor in Chief of UBM TechWeb, has spent the past 22 years establishing a trusted and significant presence in the business technology community. One of the most recognized personalities in IT media, Brian has built valuable relationships with the most influential practitioners in the technology industry and counts among his closest contacts CIOs from both Fortune 500 companies and small businesses.VN:R_U [1.9.7_1111]Best Practices for Successful Executive Events,
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