Your Top Event Marketing Questions Answered

Event Marketing


We recently held a webinar to show marketers how to rock their online and offline events, featuring insights from Marketo thought leaders Heidi Bullock, Director of Marketing, Sandra Freeman, Director of Marketing Cloud, and myself (@dayroth). We had so many great questions from the first webinar that we didn’t have time to answer, so here are answers to the top event marketing inquiries.

PS: The webinar was part of a series. Part 2, How to Run a Flawless Event Promotion Plan, is happening on Wednesday, Jan 16 at 10am PST. So if you haven’t registered yet, sign up!

1. How do you identify the people you are marketing to for events? Do you grow your list organically or are you purchasing lists?

Heidi Bullock: It is really important that you get the right people to your events. For the events that we host or participate in at Marketo, we market to relevant segments in our database. We also suppress other segments if the content is not a good fit.  First ask yourself some questions about the event itself, and then focus on some key demographic areas when determining your segmentation strategy. Some things to focus on would be job title, industry, company size, and location.

As for how we grow our list, we use a mix of organic and paid efforts. To name a few, we mix in SEO and social marketing with PPC and other paid programs such as content syndication to always add new names. Our database is something we are always working on to grow and maintain.

2. Do emails drive the majority of your webinar efforts? What other ideas for promotion have been working?

Dayna Rothman: We drive the majority of our webinar registrations through email marketing and social. We typically begin promotions about 2 weeks out by sending an email to a segmented part of our database, and then we mix in social closer to the actual webinar date.

For social, we find that visuals work really well, especially on Facebook.  We have a small graphic made to promote each webinar. These graphics are much more shareable vs. just your traditional post. Additionally, we will do some promoted tweets and posts, especially if it is a large webinar.

We also use the blog to promote our webinars. We do this by writing a related post the day before to drive attendance. Just remember that you don’t want the blog post to be only promotional, so take your topic, write a thought leader piece, and then promote your webinar towards the end.

3. Can you elaborate more on security for parties? What problems/issues have you experienced? What issues do security usually handle?

Sandra Freeman: For our Masterpieces party at Dreamforce in October 2012, we had a very large crowd at the San Francisco Museum of Art.  One of our goals was to assure everyone that pre-registered guests would receive priority access.  We rented crowd control stanchions to help guide the crowds around the museum and had separate lines for pre-registered and walk up guests.

We hired additional security to help walk the lines and to make sure people were in the right lines, answer questions, and to check for Dreamforce badges.  While the museum provides it’s own security inside to ensure all the art is protected, we also wanted to have extra very visible security for larger crowd control.

Issues involved managing capacity inside the event so that guests were comfortable, turning away party goers without badges or any form of identification (yep, it happens!), limiting any unauthorized vendor access to soliciting our guests in line (really, that can happen too!), and being available to walk out guests that may have over-indulged.  Bottom line, we want to be sure all our guests are happy and safe, so the extra security is very worth it!

4. What are some examples of creative ways you’ve driven people to your booth at tradeshows?

Dayna Rothman: For Dreamforce 2012 we worked on a variety of engagement tactics to drive attendance. One tactic we used with great success was a meme generator. We set up a camera with a backdrop in our booth, and attendees could take their photos and choose from a variety of memes. Once attendees took their photo they could load them to  social profiles. Our meme generator got so popular that we ended up having a line wrapped around the booth, which of course drove people to stop and check out what was going on.

Another way we drove traffic to our booth was through a luggage tag contest. In the attendee bags we included a purple luggage tag and we urged people to go to the booth, get scanned, and be entered to win $1000. Not only did this drive attendance to our booth, but it was also great branding all over Dreamforce as thousands of people were wearing our purple Marketo luggage tags!

Thank you so much to everyone who attended our webinar and asked some really great questions. Be sure to check out the next installment, Creating a Flawless Event Promotion Plan, and our new Definitive Guide to Event Marketing to learn more.