Evaluating the B2B Shift to Virtual Hospitality
A compilation of how “going virtual” has affected marketing and hospitality in B2B businesses
Forrester’s Sirius Decisions Summit, Microsoft’s Build Conference, & Adobe Summit.
What do these three events have in common? They are some of the larger in-person events that COVID-19 forced to make the switch to virtual. Even with this unexpected change, many B2B businesses have approached the challenge of going digital with an innovative mindset. Today we’ll be evaluating the areas of hospitality and marketing that B2B businesses have done virtually throughout the pandemic.
In-person events have always been viewed as a crucial customer touchpoint for B2B businesses. However, COVID-19 threw a curveball into many organization’s hospitality plans. Yet, those that made the pivot strategically, were able to utilize virtual customer touchpoints to a greater return than their physical counterparts.
Are digital touchpoints set to replace in-person ones?
— Corinium (@CoriniumGlobal) December 14, 2020
One of the great features of virtual events is the high-levels of personalization and customization they offer. By designing these new virtual customer touchpoints, your B2B organization can speak directly to the needs, wants, and expectations of your valued counterparts. Research has shown that developing engagement leads to increased numbers of leads and conversions.
Beyond new business, virtual events enable high-touch experiences for your current customers. By taking note of their previous interactions with your organization, you can develop custom remote activations that deliver unique encounters and build brand affinity. Remember, 89% of customers have stopped doing business with a company following a poor customer experience.
Data Collection & Tracking
Different from in-person events, virtual campaigns have a great propensity for data collection. Leverage this new and concrete data to make better decisions for your next virtual event – and allow cross platform revenue attribution, which justifies further event spend.
SEO & SEM
Now we know that these are not new terms for B2B marketers, but with the recent increase of digital content consumption, businesses are further investing in both Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM). Smart organizations are horizontally integrating their content from virtual events and other digital environments to optimize their SEM strategies. They are smart to “fish where the fish are”, as research shows that most B2B digital ad spending is growing by 22.6% per year even amid the pandemic.
The only constant is change. Thankfully, virtual events and touchpoints allow for organizations to pivot with speed. A/B testing various components of your experiences has never been easier, which lends itself to greater experimentation and risk taking.
In digital marketing, A/B testing is the process of showing 2 versions of a web page or an ad to a target audience, & then comparing which version improves conversions. This is helpful in evaluating ad campaigns & can help inform future decisions. #DigitalMarketing #WeAreBCOMM pic.twitter.com/j7q4bKQZ8Z
— Bonner Communications (@BonnerComm) December 9, 2020
B2B sales = higher priced items = longer sales cycles. Since many objections can be introduced during a long sales process, 87% of B2B marketers prioritize top-funnel lead generation from their virtual events. Beyond that, consider maintaining your organizations standard KPIs for evaluating virtual performance, as they will provide a standard of comparison when in-person activations return.
With businesses cutting budgets, you might think the quality of their events would decrease. Keep in mind – sometimes less is more. Many penny-pinching organizations have succeeded in delivering quality over quantity through virtual activations that matched or exceeded the expected returns across their predefined KPIs.
Virtual events are here to stay, even after their in-person counterparts return. They are customizable, engaging, cost-friendly customer touchpoints that have disrupted how B2B marketers build relationships.
Make sure your organization utilizes this industry shift to continue driving your goals forward. And if you need help along the way… click the button below.