Editor’s Note: CMO Coffee Talk is an open space for more than 1,300 CMOs to come together weekly with their peers and discuss timely, crowd-sourced topics. Matt Heinz of Heinz Marketing co-hosts these dynamic, illuminating conversations with 6sense CMO Latané Conant.
A consistent marker of a successful CMO is their ability to not necessarily stay strategic all the time. It’s their ability to be strategic and highly tactical, and constantly tie the two together with a focus on business impact.
Take a recent CMO Coffee Talk session on event strategy as an example. Some of the most influential marketing leaders in B2B discussed purpose and objectives for events in 2022, then pivoted quickly to discussing specific tactics and detailed elements of what makes those events successful.
You can’t have success without knowing what success looks like and following a strategic direction. You also can’t have success if you don’t nail the details.
In a wide-ranging discussion about events, here are five words that stood out as harbingers of what 2022 might look like, based on where CMOs are thinking and planning today:
Word #1: Small
There’s clearly a trend towards more intimate events, not just in size but location and affinity.
This is a nod to the ongoing pandemic and the likelihood that many still won’t be comfortable in larger crowds for a while longer. It’s also the continuation of a trend from successful event strategies of going regional versus national, and prioritizing in-market road shows versus big national productions.
Word #2: Campaign
The event itself is of course critically important, but it’s just one part of a successful event strategy.
What happens before the event, around the event and (most importantly) after the event is what makes it a true campaign.
This is driving not just changes in how events are planned and managed, but also much tighter coordination across marketing channels and departments to drive more significant impact and longer-term ROI from the event investment.
Word #3: Brand
As more CMOs prioritize brand (and by extension, community) as part of their 2022 overall marketing strategies, some events are seen less as narrow pipeline drivers and more broadly as an extension of the overall brand and thought leadership effort.
When you’re able to justify and focus an event on its short and long-term brand impact, it completely changes the approach and options you have of making it a success at all levels — the content, the message, the experience, the booth, and the follow-up.
Word #4: Integration
A throughline in recent CMO Coffee Talk discussions has been the near-mandate of creating cross-department integrated programs that offer a seamless message and approach to buyers and customers.
And given the hard costs of events, that’s doubly important when gathering your most important external constituents in one place (whether in person or virtual).
Word #5: Experience
In-person events are often produced as if they were rock shows — lights, music, etc. Virtual experiences? They require more of a TV production approach. And if you do hybrid events? Well, now you need both.
Successful events aren’t just about the content and the giveaways. CMOs are clearly thinking about the overall experience their events deliver as well — and investing time, resources, and new expertise within their teams to make them truly impactful.
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