Three Reasons to Include Events in Your B2B Marketing Strategy

The B2B Content Marketing 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America report presented many key findings on how companies are effectively using specific strategies and tactics for their content marketing plans. According to this year’s report, 81 percent of respondents are using in-person events as a Business-to-Business (B2B) content marketing tactic, with 75 percent rating in-person events as the most effective tactic they have implemented within their content marketing strategy. This is the sixth consecutive year that events have trended as the most effective B2B tactic within the report.

Not only do events provide value in building relationships with current and prospective customers, but also by linking events to an overall marketing strategy, they allow a company to maximize public relations, social media, and sales activities. We’ve included some of the top key takeaways on why you should include events in your B2B marketing mix.

Generate Brand Awareness

Brand awareness is a top goal when it comes to event marketing. The same B2B Content Marketing 2016 Benchmark report found that 73 percent of marketing professionals surveyed stated brand awareness as the number one goal of event marketing strategies and tactics.

In-person events, such as a trade show or customer appreciation event allow brands to express their identities and key messages in ways that appeal to all of the senses of an audience to ultimately make for a memorable experience. Experiential marketing is a great way to cut through the clutter of events to increase brand awareness.

Build Relationships

For any brand, building relationships with current and prospective customers is key to the sales process. When entering the purchasing decision cycle, many modern consumers want more than just a sales pitch. Events provide brands with the unique opportunity for customers to interact with companies’ products, services, and/or solutions.

Events also provide face-to-face interaction that can lead to more authentic personal relationships and offer a way for brands to get immediate feedback and learn from their consumers.

Nurture Leads

In-person events present an ideal environment to capture current customer and prospective customer data. Collecting leads allows for a brand to implement a timely and targeted post-event follow-up while a brand is still fresh in the mind of its prospects. Content plays a critical role in how a brand nurtures leads along the sales pipeline. If a brand can identify specific content that will resonate with current and prospective clients based on the data collected during the event, the brand will more likely be considered to be a driving factor in moving individuals through the sales pipeline.

At Martino Flynn, we’re always looking to provide our clients with ideas that do more. Are you ready to integrate events into your content marketing strategy? Contact us to learn more about our trade show marketing capabilities.

Anything New In Medicare Marketing?

When it comes to what’s new in Medicare marketing, most of our health insurance clients are asking for insight into and support with two initiatives: 1) age-in campaign reengineering and 2) Annual Election Period (AEP) roadmap revisions.

The first matter of business for both initiatives is to conduct research that is customized for your specific health plan. We have found tremendous success with quick, cost-effective focus groups accompanied by online surveys to a statistically valid sample size. Too often, health plans just copy what other health plans are doing or they just buy what their marketing agencies are selling them. How can you be making the best decisions without input from your own members and prospects in each of your markets? Without insight from your own research, you won’t have the critical content you need to develop a sound strategy.

Age-In Campaign

Progressive health plans have renamed “aging-in” (turning 65) as New to Medicare. These health plans are more successful getting at the lion’s share of new member acquisitions because they’re doing a few things better than the competition. Here are some of the questions that laggards are not answering correctly:

  • What insights were gained from research tailored to your brand, products, prospects, and markets?
  • How far in advance of a 65th birthday should you establish a relationship?
  • Are you aware that 37% of individuals are pushing back retirement to age 68? What are you doing for this group of prospects?
  • What’s the outreach cadence (frequency, content, communication channel, etc.) that delivers most leads over time?
  • How quickly do you respond to each lead? How do you nurture each lead over time?
  • Which nurturing tactics are most effective for each individual lead?
  • What’s your ROI for this campaign over one, two and three years?

AEP

From working with dozens of health plans on AEP marketing strategy, here are some actions we see that successful and profitable health plans are doing:

  • They start early in the year. April is not too soon.
  • After assessing the previous year’s AEP results, they conduct independent research tailored to their unique markets.
  • Every year, they revisit and refine their sequence of 20+ steps that must be executed between April and September.
  • They allocate a larger percentage of their overall budgets to engaging with prospects ages 65-70. This age group is healthier than older segments, and more likely to switch.

The takeaway here is that one size does not fit all. It might be time to gain better insight into your members, prospects, marketing approach, and content by having research conducted in your own markets. If it’s been more than two years since you’ve reengineered the processes of your age-in or AEP campaigns, you could benefit from an assessment.

Interested in learning how Martino Flynn can help you acquire more new members, reduce cost per lead, and reduce cost per sale? Contact Joe Dahlkemper, Director of Marketing & Sales Strategy, at jdahlkemper@martinoflynn.com.

The Importance of Analytics in Modern PR

If we traveled back in time to see what the public relations field was like in the 1950s, we would hardly recognize it. So much has changed that our entire approach differs from that of yesteryear. And with these daily changes comes a new way of reporting successes.

The fact of the matter is that clients are more careful today when determining how much they should invest in different traditional PR and social media tactics. And why shouldn’t they be? Nobody wants to waste their time with a tactic that isn’t generating results. In order to prove to clients that their efforts are justified, PR and social media professionals need to show the benefits that come from proper  evaluation. But where should you begin your reporting? Try starting with these proof points:

  • Know your total impressions: Impressions are one of the most commonly used metrics in PR and social media, but people sometimes have difficulty defining it. Think of it this way: If you’re scrolling through Facebook and come across a post in your newsfeed from a brand you follow, or read an online article that mentions a brand, that counts as one impression. It’s a broad definition, but impressions should be the starting point when reporting rather than the final metric. If your impressions are high, then your brand is in a much better position to engage with potential customers.
  • Determine where your brand stands against competitors: It’s no secret that clients want to stand out from their competition. But before you set out to shine brighter than your competitors, start by measuring where your brand currently stands. Are you tracking the right competitors? How will you justify your brand’s current Share Of Voice (SOV)? By determining how the coverage your brand receives compares to its competitors, you’ll be able to learn what areas can be improved in order to take a larger slice of the SOV pie.
  • Assess the sentiment of the conversation: Seeing articles or social media mentions that discuss your brand is always exciting; until you realize some of those conversations don’t have the nicest tone. A negative sentiment may be discouraging, but there is a silver lining. By showing the overall sentiment, clients can see how customers and journalists are discussing their brand, which can guide their efforts moving forward.

Of course, there are plenty of other metrics to choose from when evaluating results. No matter which ones you decide to highlight, the results must be linked to business outcomes that help push the brand closer to its organizational goals. According to the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), brands that understand the benefits of modern PR metrics are able to set “smarter objectives, develop better strategies, and employ more compelling and engaging tactics.” By setting an appropriate plan in place at the beginning, there’s no reason that brands can’t enjoy strong results from their PR initiatives. And it’s these strong results that have transformed PR over the years.

Are you ready to leverage the analytics modern PR has to offer your brand? Contact us to learn more about the value to PR and social media reporting.

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