See Chief Marketing Officer Jamie Coffey’s full video discussing this cybersecurity firm’s pivot during the pandemic: https://yorcmo.com/cybersecurity-case-study/
This software provider typically attended 2-3 significant numbers of tradeshows and conferences each year, and increased event marketing investment plans to 10 for 2020. Events provide a venue for sales team members to always inspire prospects and close sales through in-person demonstrations. When COVID-19 lockdowns began in March 2020, one of the first casualties was in-person events. State and national rules designed to keep Americans safe made it impossible to demo and interact with prospects face-to-face. The company had planned to attend its largest and most important event in June which was postponed to December. No one knew what the lockdown situation would be then, so we needed to come up with a Plan B quickly.
For this company, overcoming the challenge meant finding alternative ways to get in front of target audiences and create brand awareness. YorCMO helped the company pivot to optimized digital messaging and digital marketing outlets. Content was designed to communicate value propositions, demo features and benefits, and trigger buying decisions through carefully chosen digital mediums.
Reclaimed Funds, Budget Shifts
The first step was to renegotiate with event organizers to free up capital that would have been spent on near-term physical events. We secured refunds and established new terms for 2021. We shifted the event marketing budget away from physical events and toward new digital tactics designed to achieve the same brand awareness objectives we had been working on before COVID-19.
Proprietary Event Alternative
We knew our client’s personnel were not the only ones feeling they were missing out by not attending physical shows and conferences. We advised the company to take the initiative on behalf of others in the industry and provide a portion of what was missing. They scheduled a sponsored webinar featuring a keynote and the company’s own subject matter experts (SMEs) discussing a hot industry topic. We layered a digital and email campaign around the webinar to drive attendance.
Creative, Compelling Content
Knowing the industry would be hungry for relevant digital content beyond the webinar, we quickly ramped up to produce new standout downloadable content. We created and promoted a Wiley Dummies cobranded e-book, for example, in a digital lead generation campaign. We also promoted an SME video series through social media to establish ongoing thought leadership for this client.
Our initial research indicated the industry would respond positively to the offer of digital content to replace lost in-person opportunities. However, we were surprised and pleased when registration reached five times original estimates. The event was free, but we believe it was the truly compelling topic and known SMEs that drew attendees.
Leveraging Webinar Attention
It’s one thing to draw many attendees to an event, physical or online. It’s quite another to turn that attention into customers who sign on the dotted line. To leverage the webinar’s abundant attendance, we worked with the company to carefully prepare sales personnel to immediately offer help once the session concluded and begin building relationships with potential new clients.
Lead Capture and Conversion
The company’s Wiley Dummies e-book releases in May 2020. The book is designed to be a serious educational tool for the target audience, which makes it a perfect tactic for lead capture. The key is knowing prospects well enough to know what is genuinely valuable. Multiple marketing touch points through an expanded digital advertising spend, are slated to increase impressions and brand awareness.
When this quick-pivot marketing plan took shape, it was unclear how long physical trade shows and conferences would be off the table. We advised the company not to rest on its post-webinar and online content success. Instead, we advised them to continue investing in creative ways to reach target audiences, including seeking out opportunities such as partnerships and virtual event sponsorships.
YorCMO’s fractional chief marketing officers partner with organizations as an extension of their Executive team. CMO’s follow a proven process to help organizations drive profitable growth, ensure sustainability and build intrinsic value. Our process supports B2B and B2C companies regardless of size or industry. YorCMO is headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, with a distributed team of highly experienced CMOs serving clients throughout the United States and worldwide.
For more information about yorCMO and assistance with aligning sales and marketing, contact Jamie Coffey at (703) 755-5774 or at email@example.com
About the Author:
Jamie is a results-driven marketing leader with 20+ years of success developing strategic plans and innovative multi-channel marketing programs. Over her career she has helped B2B organizations with all aspects of marketing, including branding, corporate communications, public relations, content strategy, web, marketing automation, social media, digital/SEO and event marketing.
Jamie is based in the Washington DC Metro area and has orchestrated go-to-market strategies for clients in the professional services, training, government, information technology and financial services sectors.