Roadshows. What are they and why are they so important? Roadshows, in a nutshell, are the ultimate field event: just think of them as field events on steroids. The purpose of roadshows is to take your company’s message and brand—you guessed it—on the road. Roadshows are often done in sequence and occur in a handful of cities in an effort to increase brand awareness and product knowledge. Roadshows are a great way to spread the word in an in-person, interactive format and reach those you may not have been able to otherwise.
Typically, roadshows are half-day events that bring customers, prospects, and partners together for thought leadership, product demonstrations, and networking. Many companies do roadshows for a variety of reasons. For Marketo, the roadshows bring marketers from around the globe into the Marketo Marketing Nation. Click here for more information!
Over three months, we travel across three continents to 11 cities in order to meet and engage with thousands of marketers, all hungry to learn how they can up-level their marketing strategies.
Roadshows can be crucial to your company’s bottom line for various other reasons, too. Let’s dive into the top four reasons now, and hopefully you’ll get inspired to bring your company on the road next summer!
1. They Give Your Sales Team What It Needs
I’ve never met a sales account executive who would turn down the opportunity to get out in the field. This is their bread and butter. These events allow sales to move beyond the phone calls and email and actually create face-to-face relationships with potential customers. Conversations seem to flow in an environment when everyone has something in common: they all showed up to learn more about marketing (or whatever your roadshow might be for)! At these events, a rep doesn’t have to fight for a 2-minute conversation. Why? Because conversations flow naturally in a social environment. That 2-minute conversation might not happen otherwise.
Be sure to attribute any closed-won opportunities back to this event. It’s always important to track your ROI from roadshows in order to make a case for them in future years!
2. They Jumpstart Your Demand Generation Efforts
Roadshows are, for lack of a better word, AWESOME for your demand generation efforts. The summer months are notoriously slow, and roadshows help tremendously with keeping numbers steady. If you have other companies sponsor your roadshows, a good rule of thumb is to make sure they promote your show out to their networks. Roadshows can also really help with generating pipeline. As I previously stated, these events give the sales team an opportunity to engage with prospects they might not otherwise engage with.
3. They Help Propel Your Brand
Roadshows should be both professional and fun. In essence, you want all of your attendees to leave the event with a smile. Ground-breaking content (think: an inspirational speaker), a lively environment (think: a live band), delicious food (think: gourmet truffle mac ‘n cheese…just sayin’), and great company will leave nothing but positive thoughts in your attendees’ minds and leave that lasting good impression we all hope for.
In the past, Marketo gave all roadshow attendees a Starbucks gift card as a thank you touch. Who doesn’t love a free cup of coffee…or a free Triple-Grande-Decaf-Non-Fat-1-Pump-No-Foam-Mocha? (I swear it’s not me holding up the Starbucks line…) Anyways, just know that it’s sometimes the little things that make people remember your event and, most importantly, your brand!
On that note, let me point out that to keep attendees engaged during the 2015 Marketo Roadshow tour, we’re raffling off a handful of sweet prizes, including Apple Watches, Bose headphones, and GoPro cameras. Adding excitement and anticipation into an event is important because those moments are the memorable ones (especially for the winners)! An important part of any event is the level of social engagement. The fun touches are the aspects guests will share socially…and this is what you want. Make sure to have a hashtag associated with the show in order to help spread the word and track those social shares!
4. They Help Spread Your Thought Leadership
Probably the single most important part of the roadshows is the content. These events allow speakers to get on the main stage and talk about the latest industry trends. The valuable content presented by thought leaders is why people show up. Attendees must leave work early in order to attend these events, which are commonly held on weekday evenings, so make your event worth their while! If the content is valuable, these attendees will keep coming back for more year after year…and they’ll tell their colleagues to join, too.
As a starting-off point, I’m not suggesting you begin with an 11-city roadshow series. Instead, start small and work your way up—first start in your own region, then expand across the country, then go international. Test out a few cities that you have good traction in, and make sure to get feedback from attendees. Use this feedback to improve each time. If done right, roadshows can be a great event formula to add to your field marketing strategy, and people want to see them get bigger and better over time so that it stays fresh and exciting.
In a nutshell, remember to make your roadshow fun, interactive, inspirational, and memorable. If you can accomplish that, I guarantee your guests will be returning year after year. Get ‘em hooked!
Interested in seeing what a Marketo roadshow looks like? The summer roadshow series is not over!—We’ve still got a handful of events remaining, everywhere from Toronto to Chicago to London. Check out our microsite to register and learn more!