November 4, 2020

The Secret to Organizing Successful B2B Virtual Events

I was wrong about blowing off virtual events as terrible.
Not all of them are bad. I discovered one that’s very good.
Since COVID caused in-person conferences to disappear, Narrative Science has organized three virtual events that have become increasingly popular.

Its last event attracted 3,000 registrants. (Yes, 3,000!)
On the Marketing Spark podcast, I asked Cassidy Shield about Narrative Science’s recipe for success.
The answer: high-quality speakers who focus on tactical direction rather than inspiration.
“It’s not about Narrative Science. It’s really about the community,” Cassidy said.
Maybe, the key to success for virtual events is to focus on offering actionable insight at a time when everyone is trying to determine how to operate within a volatile landscape.
We’re living within economic conditions in which the regular playbooks don’t work as well anymore. Many B2B companies heavily relied on conferences to connect with prospects and customers. We’re talking 75% or more of their marketing budgets were allocated to attending and sponsoring conferences.
A lot of awards “won” by B2B companies to enhance their reputations and brand profiles were pay-to-play arrangements. This made conferences a win for B2B companies and conference organizers.
But that’s not happening anymore. It means companies need new ways to make connections. They need to figure out how to leverage virtual conferences to deliver insight and encourage prospects to connect with them. The rules are different and no one – aside from a few companies like Narrative Science and Gong – has figured it out yet.
And if virtual events can somehow add the ability to connect people (HopIn?), you could have something closer to what conferences deliver. Personally, that’s one of the keys to success; making it possible to create events that encourage and allow attendees to connect and learn from each other. That would make the virtual event experience more interesting, engaging, and enriching.
Curious about whether you have attended good virtual events. If you have, leave a comment.

I’m a fractional CMO for fast-growing B2B companies that want to drive more engagement, attract better prospects, and grow sales. I help companies with brand positioning and strategic plans and oversee tactical execution.

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