The Content Marketing Preflight Safety Routine for Live Events

Andrew Moravick

You only get one chance to make a first impression, and you only get a few days onsite at an event to make an impact with your marketing efforts. To help ensure you go into any event as prepared as possible, and with all the content you may need, here’s a key assessment exercise paired with a few prescriptive “in case of danger” action items:

1. Did my pre-conference and onsite content resonate by driving customers to our exhibits, meetings, or parties at previous events?

- If yes, great! You’ve got a formula for success, content to potentially reuse, and you’re basically starting ahead of the game.

- If no, take a step back and look over all marketing efforts for effective content angles. If this is new territory, or there’s still no real wins to replicate, you can always ask an expert.

2. Have you encountered effective competitor content marketing strategies or tactics that you can steal?

- If yes, this is actually good. The better or more advanced your competitors are, the better you get in competing against them. Embrace the challenge and be proud of using your competition’s own tricks against them in the build-up to the event or even on-site.

- If no, cool. You’re probably ahead of the pack, but still keep an eye out…

3. Have new content themes and buyer personas emerged since previous events?

- If yes, have a triage-level approach to rolling them into production. If they can fit in without doing harm to the plans or programs for the upcoming event, your efforts will be stronger for it. Otherwise, if the change of course  will be too disruptive, stick to the original plan to hit event deadlines.

- If not, that’s actually excellent – smoother sailing on to the event!

4. Have you developed post-conference content to maintain momentum after the event as well?

- Yes? Excellent, you already know a lot of your pre-event content creation efforts go to waste if you don’t have ongoing coverage. Our Healthcare Information and Technology buyer research shows sales cycles in this space average 12 months, so on-going engagement is essential!

- No? The good news is, now is a perfect time to change things up! Think long term for content production, and how each content touchpoint can harness the positive interactions at an event, and push a prospect closer to a purchase. 

5. Does your content connect to the insights or answers your buyers are seeking at the event?

- Yes? Good, you have content that serves specific, defined functions in addressing the needs/interests of buyers. This buyer-centric approach not only progressess readers toward purchases, it also enables longer-term customer retention efforts. If the buyer acts on asset A, you know it means B for your business – you have a formula for connecting the dots!

- No, it’s ok, our research shows only 35% of B2B marketers measure content ROI presently. That also means it’s an opportunity to get a leg up on your peers. 

6. Does marketing’s vision for the success of the event content align with the views of the sales force?

- Yes? You must have strong marketing and sales alignment, which ensures that actions around your content mean automated alerts to relevant reps, or delivered leads trigger excited, focused follow-up actions from sales. In other words, marketing’s content wins are clear wins for sales too.

- No? If there’s time pre-event, schedule an intervention, of sorts. Get on the same page with sales on what you can provide in terms of content, and what they need in terms of qualification and prospect insights. If sales sees event content success as setting meetings, make sure content has calls to action or supporting appeals that drive to that metric. The shorter the timeframe for corrective alignment, the simpler these goals should be. The priority is ensuring marketing and sales have the same units for measuring success, no matter how basic those units may be.

7. Have you harnessed / can you harness emerging marketing technologies to stand out on the show floor? 
(Virtual reality, augmented reality, holograms, interactive customer experiences with social media)

- Yes? You’ve aligned your tech capabilities to complement your content in channels where most people aren’t present or in ways others just aren’t doing in mass yet. If the mediums are available to you, and you know how be effective with them, why not bring all resources into the fold?

- No? This can actually be ok if you’re not ready for an effective AR/VR, hologram, mobile, or interactive experience. Producing and distributing content simply and effectively can still be better than getting in over your head. Plus, at HIMSS Media, at least, we have support for social media, mobile app, geo-fencing, and other more complicated live event efforts.

8. Do you have a clear, confident assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of your content and promotional plans for the event?

- Yes? You’re good to go. You’ve addressed any gaps or shortcomings, and are ready to play to your strengths and win in pre-event, on-site, and post-event efforts. It’s hard not to be stressed around events, but if you have that sense of calm, “can-do” clarity, you have all the answers you need.

- No? This is where it’s best to turn to outside help or an extra set of eyes. The best writers still use editors, the best athletes still need coaches. Find the guidance you need to be certain of your plan.

For HIMSS19, of course, HIMSS Media has its own content experts who can help you take further stock of your content inventory, and assess your best options for success. If you need the extra help, click here to maximize the impact of your HIMSS19 content.

About the Author

As a Senior Marketing Manager for HIMSS Media, Andrew Moravick leverages extensive B2B & B2C marketing experience to oversee and optimize HIMSS Media's content marketing and demand generation efforts. In previous roles, Andrew has worked for Aberdeen Group, Snap App, PUMA, and Eloqua.

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