An effective B2B event starts with understanding its marketing potential, along with the value it can create for different brands and companies. Empowering businesses to build new connections, gain access to valuable insights, and achieve multiple commercial goals is paramount to maintaining a healthy industry environment while promoting your B2B services or products.
According a Frost and Sullivan research paper, the B2B online sales will account for close to 27% of total manufacturing trade by 2020. Yet, what’s interesting is the forecast of the B2B online dynamic that will move from a one-to-many to many-to-many business model.
As explained in a Frost and Sullivan article, “Instead of a model where one company invests and builds an e-platform for its suppliers, the preference will be for a solution in which anybody integrates an e-procurement process and facilitates the purchase of goods online.”
Although it might not seem so obvious, this at-first-glance simple change will ignite a new era for B2B marketing events, which will have to be, more than ever, focused on fostering business relationships and empowering brands to achieve beyond their desired estimations.
The B2B niche itself will shift to a multiple relationship-based model, which will require a different networking approach along with the need to set up more live interaction environments (aka B2B events) for stakeholders.
Understanding this approaching reality is crucial for upgrading the B2B event experience and adding more value sources for attendees.
How can you do that? Here are a few recommendations:
Provide strategy-based content
Crafting a valuable event agenda will make your B2B event meaningful and truly worth attending. However, inviting cool thought leaders or presenting brand-new data is not enough to excite your attendees.
Every knowledge session should be designed with your guests’ business goals in mind. The content should be contextualized and strategy-based.
Think about setting up future business strategy lines that your attendees can use to expand their businesses (following trends and current data). Then, build an argumentative layer upon this content and invite the right speakers to talk about it.
For example, let’s take the aeronautical industry.
Instead of just getting a few thought leaders to present their opinions on the future of the aeronautical business, consult the experts and identify the main trends that will impact the near future of the industry.
Having this information, you can draft different strategic scripts that will help the attendees overcome the foreseen challenges and scale their businesses accordingly. Then, decide on your speakers’ list.
In other words, don’t just give your speakers the data—contextualize the information and wrap the knowledge into strategies.
Make use of the B2B matchmaking option
Executives and business representatives will often attend B2B events to meet like-minded people and build valuable relationships with the promise of further collaborations. A cocktail dinner or coffee breaks aren’t enough for networking (although they’re still important, as they’re part of the informal experience).
The networking process should be guided to ensure maximum compatibility between your attendees, which you can accomplish through the B2B matchmaking option. Offer your attendees a special networking setting where they can have one-on-one meetings with high-quality prospects or potential business partners.
Before the event, invite your attendees to fill out a networking form and specify their interests, business specifics, and interaction goals. Subsequently, using an algorithm and a rating system, build a networking agenda for each attendee and automatically schedule one-on-one meetings with their most compatible prospects.
Attendees will be thrilled that they’ll already have scheduled meetings with their most compatible prospects without having to “hunt” for them.
Empower executives to impact their teams
Although your event is focused on executives, it also impacts their companies and the teams they work with. That’s why you should inspire your attendees to take action outside the event by driving their teams to achieve more by offering them high-level mentorship during your B2B events.
For example, you could run a series of workshops or business breakfasts, and invite industry mentors who will help the attendees transform their existing strategies or business OKRs (objectives and key results) into actionable steps.
Apart from that, the attendees could learn how to clearly communicate with their teams and get everyone on the same page.
Keep the community thriving post-event
When planning a B2B event, you have your own goals to accomplish. Whether it’s to sell a service or gain brand advocates, you might achieve these goals during the event itself, without having the need to follow up on your attendees.
However, continuing to interact with the community you created during the event is crucial for retention.
To have a greater impact, take one step forward and continue generating post-event value for your attendees. Keep the group active through smaller events (workshops, seminars, masterminds, etc.) and continue to offer valuable content or assistance.
Think locally, impact globally
There are multiple types of B2B events. One category refers to local or international settings for gathering executives and business representatives. Start by focusing on the local community of entrepreneurs or executives by helping them engage in face-to-face interactions with global businesses or gain an international projection.
It can be a long-term strategy based on helping the community, while trying to positively impact the global economy at the same time.
Design your event on actionable insights
Although we mentioned the strategy-based approach to content, you also need to make sure the information you’re sharing with your attendees is actionable. Your B2B audience is different from a B2C audience—they have a more acute need for immediate solutions and actions that will help their businesses.
So instead of inviting speakers who’ll put everyone to sleep by droning on about numbers and statistics, set up a dynamic knowledge and skill exchange session and invite experts who can talk about solutions to different problems and how to apply them.
Add more value to personal experiences
Don’t forget that you’re running B2B events for human beings and not faceless businesses or brands. Thus, you should think accordingly about the personal experiences you’ll be providing.
How will you engage your attendees? How will you get them to experience positive emotions, which in turn will make your event memorable? How will you customize their experiences?
Whenever you set up a B2B event, start by answering these questions and crafting powerful personal experiences that will also provide a strong sense of belonging and empowerment as well as business value.
The key element to guaranteeing your B2B event success is to focus on supplying massive value for your attendees and their businesses.
Build events to help your audience grow and create your desired impact.
Pay careful attention to your guests’ needs and always try to deliver more than expected. Make space for meaningful networking and strategy-based contents and redirect all of your energies to generate as much value as possible. Grow your business by helping others. This strategy will never fail.