8th June 2023

In our last blog post we looked at how AI could be making in-person B2B events more important than ever, and how a strong go-to-market strategy and marcomms plan is absolutely essential every year for a market-leading event.

Critical to success is analysing your target market well and defining your value proposition clearly with strong, relevant messaging.

Then your martech, website, data and analytics need to be well set up – especially if you want to use basic AI tools such as chatbots, programmatic advertising / automated ad bidding or optimised send features within your email marketing automation – and possibly more advanced, newer AI tools for even more effective, personalised and timely marketing.

And once all of this is done, you need to put in place a better event marcomms plan than your competitors.

Here are three areas you need to pay attention to, and a breakdown of how 4 key event marketing channels should be deployed as AI becomes more mainstream:

#1 Start marketing your event early! And by early we mean start promoting next year’s event at this year’s event, so you have the benefit of a full 12-month cycle. If you’re already on the back foot, a 6-month lead time from ‘soft launch’ is the minimum you should aim for. Don’t wait for a fuller programme or your pricing to be confirmed.

The sooner you can start building awareness about your event and positioning it as a better event than your competitors, the better! Start capturing data ASAP on those interested in attending, exhibiting or sponsoring – this is your gold dust!

Get in touch to find out how Team MPG build multi-channel event marketing timelines that drive strong YOY growth for flagship events.

#2 Optimise your event website ASAP & keep it optimised. Your website is your most important marketing channel. All your other channels drive people to your website, so if your event website is not optimised, the marketing across all your channels won’t work as well as it should.

Get GA4 set up well and ensure every page on your website has the best possible messaging and content (words, pictures, videos etc), all laid out in the optimal way to convert visitors to leads or customers with CTAs or forms – to attract visitors/delegates and exhibitors/sponsors.

For your event website, conversion rate optimisation is going to be much more important than SEO. Generative AI may wreak havoc on search engines within the coming 12 months as search results are replaced by answers created by tools like ChatGPT. This will have a significant impact on business models that rely on search engines to monetise their content.

You will probably get less organic traffic to your website, so you need to work harder at converting those who do land on your web pages into leads or customers. When you know who they are you can reach out to them more proactively via other channels.

Get in touch to find out how Team MPG can help you optimise your event website for conversions and that you are correctly tracking these conversions (including checking that your GA4 is set up correctly).

#3 Use inbound and outbound channels in an integrated way (don’t rely too much on any one channel), and set up automated comms where it makes sense to do so.

What will AI mean for various marketing channels?

  • Email marketing will be more important than ever. Many of the most accessible and already mainstream AI tools are those that help marketers create more engaging emails – with optimised subject lines, send times etc. Search engines won’t be sending as much traffic to your website, so your email marketing needs to fill most of the gap left. Make sure you have a large enough, high quality, relevant and well organised emailable database to make email work for you. This is where you could easily lose out to competitors if they do this bit better than you do. Get in touch to find out how Team MPG can help you get the most out of your email marketing.
  • Paid media (PPC) will continue to work well all the way down the funnel, but only if you:
    • Use a range of channels and campaigns, including social platforms and search engines, and ensure you continually use a ‘test and learn’ approach. It looks like generative AI may quickly disrupt search engines, so tread carefully with Google and Microsoft Ads (note that AI tools available in these platforms and a lack of competitive activity here may still deliver good returns – certainly in the short term).
    • Measure your paid media ROI continuously and carefully – at every stage of the customer journey. Don’t dismiss influenced conversions – they indicate an effective funnel overall.
    • Have a strong analysis and reporting methodology in place for your paid media – working in real time (a report you only get after a campaign has run is almost useless!). Make sure your paid media agency or inhouse paid media team delivers, at a minimum, a monthly report showing paid media ROI and trends across different channels and campaign types. AI could quickly disrupt some of the paid media channels you currently rely on, meaning you could lose money fast on media spend if you don’t have strong visibility of key data points to make good decisions about where to spend more and where to spend less.

    Get in touch to find out how Team MPG can help you create and execute winning paid media campaigns, ensuring you have constant visibility of results with our unique ROI reporting approach.

  • Advocacy via your customers and your employees will become more important than ever in the age of AI. The same goes for media and association partnerships. People will base more of their buying decisions on recommendations from those they recognise and trust. Gaining and leveraging advocacy successfully has always been a superpower of the most successful world-leading events and now, with the prevalence of tech that has entered the market, it’s even easier for marketers to harness this power. Marketers can automate and optimise this engagement with advocates for greater reach and better results. Get in touch with MPG for our latest research and findings on the best advocacy tools to use in your event marketing.
  • Social media success in event marketing will rely more than ever on advocacy by real, recognised and trusted people (see point above), and also brand trust – which is likely to come from trust in the people who represent and advocate for a brand. Assuming your advocacy efforts will generate engagement with social posts from real people about your event, it will also be important to keep posting regularly on the social media platforms where your target audience hangs out with a mix of content-led, product-led and offer-led posts. As search engines may be sending less traffic to your website soon, pushing people to your website via social channels will become more important.
  • The multi-faceted and rapid AI evolution will dominate our conversations for a long time. Live events enable these conversations within our communities. The way these events are marketed will make all the difference to how commercially successful community-led businesses will be in 2024.

    Team MPG can help you develop a high-growth event marketing strategy and plan that aligns with your business growth targets.

    Get in touch today to learn more about how we can help you take your event marketing to the next level.

    Get in touch

    “Working closely with our internal team, MPG developed a strong marketing strategy focused on achieving revenue growth for a key product in our portfolio – including recommendations for a virtual offering. We were impressed by the science and rigour they put into the process. I would recommend MPG as a good strategic marketing partner for a B2B brand.”

    Anna Knight, VP Licensing, Informa Markets

AI-Powered Event Marketing: The Opportunities and Challenges

8th June 2023

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