How to choose the right B2B event experience to drive pipeline

Article - Marketing
By Sapphire Smith|19th October 2023

Table of contents:

Introduction
Digital Experiences
Digital Summits
How we set you up for success
What’s in it for attendees?
Measurable outcomes
Digital Roundtables
How we set you up for success
What’s in it for attendees?
Measurable outcomes
Digital Showcases
How we set you up for success
Measurable outcomes
In-person Experiences
How we set you up for success
Audience reach
For those that skip to the end

Introduction

As B2B marketers, we are all too familiar with the expectation to do more with less, making the need to optimize the activities we participate in even more important. No more throwing money at the wall to see what works, it’s about targeted activities to a targeted audience, hailing on the fundamentals of marketing.

After a recent successful showcase, Katherine Fagerlind, Enterprise Marketing Manager from AWS, emphasized:

“It really comes back to the core principles of marketing and that’s around having the right audience, the right message and of course the right metrics.”

And this is exactly what we set out to do with our event experiences.

Now, attributable outcomes are what we’re all about. But with a suite of experiences to pick from, how do you choose the right experience to suit your objectives?

In this article we’ll delve into the benefits of digital and physical, separating out each event experience type by objectives and outcomes for you to compare and contrast…let’s get stuck in.

Digital Experiences

At GDS, we do things differently. We’ve reimagined ordinary webinars to create immersive experiences that engage your target audience like never before.

Built using the unreal engine, we’ve redefined the B2B event experience. Think unimagined worlds, data cities, live insights, enthralled audiences, and an experience to remember.

But it doesn’t stop there.

While the audience is immersed in captivating environments, the end goal is never out of sight. At our core, we prioritize building pipelines, forging connections, driving brand awareness, and maximizing return on investment.

So, whilst our tech is pretty impressive, we’ve created three digital experiences to meet specific business objectives:

  1. Digital Summits
  2. Digital Roundtables
  3. Digital Showcases

Digital Summits

In brief:

With the ever-present focus on driving business growth, senior leaders want to achieve quicker time-to-revenue. If your growth appears to have plateaued and you’re in need of new revenue streams, then look no further.

Positioned on the GDS digital main stage, summits represent the largest experience type in the GDS portfolio, connecting you directly with ‘in-market’ senior decision makers.

Spanning across three days filled to the brim with keynotes, debates, quizzes, panels, and roundtable discussions, digital summits help you skip to detail.

Understand the pain points, priorities, and challenges of key decision makers at Fortune 500 companies, enabling you to position your solution at the most opportune moment.

How we set you up for success

Alongside our vast executive directory, we have a 200+ strong team of audience acquisition specialists whose sole mission is to deliver the right people at the right time for you.

This team lives by a set of criteria to insure that attendees at each summit possess decision making authority, budgetary control, and have projects that they need to deliver.

Think of us as speedy boarding to your dream prospects and a flourishing pipeline.

Executive – solution matching

Through our summit matching platform, we will map executive projects and challenges to your solution. This invaluable intel fuels the 1:1 meetings set up by our team, insuring that you enter warm conversations with an expressed need for a solution like yours. Sounds too good to be true, right?

With the ability to lock in chosen executives up to 5 days before the summit, you can prepare your tailored messaging for your sales teams, priming you for success.

Your event manager

But rest assured, you won’t be navigating this journey alone. Your very own dedicated Event Manager will guide you through each stage, helping you to prepare in addition to offering you valuable top tips to insure you reap every available benefit from the experience.

What’s in it for attendees?

Each executive in attendance is engaged and eager to learn how they can implement their projects effectively and succeed in their role. No need for monetary incentives or gifts. There’s something in it for everyone!

Summits enable both attendees and partners to become heroes within their roles. You can find out more about the attendee experience here, but for now, let’s take a look at the outcomes.

Measurable outcomes

1:1’s

Every partner will have 14 one-to-one meetings set up with decision makers in attendance. This gives your team a chance to dig into executives’ challenges, their needs, and how you might be able to help.

Following this initial soft touch meeting, our ROI team will follow up with the executives to schedule stage 2 meetings with your sales team.

Content attendance

See which senior decision makers have viewed certain pieces of content, what is of interest to them right now, and how you could spark a timely conversation with them.

Insight report

Receive a ‘Beyond the Summit’ report detailing actionable insights from throughout the summit to fuel your next campaign, build relevant content, and support outreach.

Digital Roundtables

In brief:

GDS Digital Roundtables offer you the opportunity to refine your audience selection, focusing on those likely to be in the consideration stage.

With a more intimate group of 6-8 executives in attendance, Digital Roundtables enable you to create highly targeted and relevant content for a hyper-engaged audience of decision makers.

You hold complete control as the only solution provider in the room, captivating your audience for 90 minutes. Choose your theme, discussion points, and questions to dig deep into your chosen subject matter, build rapport, and establish trust.

How we set you up for success

As always, our team is on hand to support you through the process of insuring your event experience is a resounding success. Never hosted an online roundtable before? Don’t have the time to create engaging content? Can’t access senior decision makers in your chosen target companies? Not a problem.

We help our partners to host up to 30 successful roundtables a week. We know the hot topics and challenges executives are discussing right now, and we know how to extract the most return from these 90-minute sessions to help you succeed.

While you’re the experts in your field, we can guide you in shaping your topics, aligning them with your end goals and objectives.

During the event, our moderators will skilfully direct the conversation, keeping it focused, engaging, and beneficial for all. It really is a seamless experience for you!

What’s in it for attendees?

Taking just 90 minutes out of their schedules, Digital Roundtables epitomize time efficiency at its finest. Executives leave with new ideas, connections, and solutions to propel their careers in less time than a management meeting.

Sound boarding with peers is a huge appeal to attendees, and at GDS, we have earned the trust of 96% of senior executives from Fortune 500 companies to deliver a platform that enables them to do so.

Audience reach

With a smaller reach, digital roundtables are all about the specifics when it comes to your audience. Therefore, we have two approaches to choose from: Target list and wish list.

Target list

Use target lists when you have particular companies and accounts that you want to target. Simply provide us with the list of company names and job titles you would like and leave the acquisition to us.

Wish list

Use the wish list approach when you have an ideal persona or brief that you would like in attendance. This can include job titles, industries, company sizes, revenue, location etc. We will then build out a data pool for you to select attendees from.

Measurable outcomes

1:1 meeting management

Similar to Digital Summits, we will facilitate 1:1 meetings and subsequent second-stage meetings between your sales team and executives to start building your pipeline.

Our partners have seen remarkable successes with Digital Roundtables through the trust that they build. For example, Twilio generated an astounding $500,000 in attributed pipeline from a single roundtable they hosted with GDS.

Digital Showcases

In brief:

Digital Showcases are our most unique event experience and therefore can be shaped and customized to suit your needs. Whether you’re planning a new product launch, an exclusive members-only meeting, an internal briefing, or a compelling sales pitch – the choice is yours!

Our talented team at GDS Studios will build you a custom set in your branding, insuring that your message leaves a powerful impression and lands with impact. Gone are the days of speaker dominant company updates and boring webinars lacking vibrancy and collaboration. Say hello to engaging, energizing, and memorable experiences that reach anyone anywhere in the world.

How we set you up for success

Your designated Event Manager will walk you through all the showcase variations, guiding you to select a run of show that will have the greatest impact based on what you want to achieve.

Remaining as your single point of contact throughout the showcase journey, your Event Manager is the gateway to an army of skilled designers, 3D artists, and event specialists, dedicated to delivering an incredible 90-minute show.

Showcase elements may include:

  • Keynote sessions
  • Panel discussions
  • Fireside chats
  • Polls, interactive Q+A sessions, and quizzes
  • Debates

All broadcast live from the GDS studios with your very own presenter.

During these 90 minutes, you have full control of the content, allowing you to bring in your subject matter experts and peers and showcase your messaging.

Audience reach

Much like Digital Roundtables, you can leave the audience acquisition up to us. This is a great option if you’re looking to drive new business or increase brand awareness in the market. The approaches we take are the same as with Digital Roundtables, scroll up to view our target list and wish list approaches.

Alternatively, you can invite your own audience to attend.

Measurable outcomes

Receive a post-event experience report, highlighting attendee insights and data collected throughout the event to fuel your marketing activity.

Additionally, we will produce a captivating 3-5-minute highlight video for you to use internally to show the success of the event experience as well as an external tool to wow your audience.

Watch Cybersmart’s story of broadcasting their showcase in the GDS studios.

 

In-person Experiences

In brief:

In-person event experiences are seeing a resurgence in popularity, and whilst measuring ROI is more difficult, the strength of interactions and relationships forged is unrivaled.

Just like with our digital experiences, we seek to create an experience that is memorable. Hosted in prestigious venues worldwide, our in-person events mix business discussions with exquisite dining whilst harnessing the power of face-to-face interaction.

Our partners tend to use in-person experiences for their existing key accounts, aiming to expand business and drive pipeline.

However, you can also utilize in-person event experiences for location-based campaigns, targeting specific regions, countries, or even cities that you would like to penetrate.

How we set you up for success

Our data team will analyze the optimal locations for you to host your event based on traveling distance and the number of senior executives in the area. We will then offer recommendations of where to host your experience to create the most success aligned to your objectives.

Audience reach

We have on average 15 attendees per in-person event experience, insuring that conversations are rich, allowing ample time to dig deep into industry challenges and pain points.

On the horizon…

We’ve reimagined our event experiences to harness the best of our current offering with a blended portfolio. All we’re saying for now is it has something to do with Summits. Stay tuned to find out more…

For those that skip to the end

To choose the right event experience, you first need to determine which objectives you want to achieve. We’ve seen six key objectives pop up time and time again with our partners. These are:

  1. Position your organization as a trusted advisor
  2. Increase brand awareness
  3. Expand existing accounts
  4. Increase market share through net new logo acquisition
  5. Accelerate profitable revenue growth
  6. Elevate conversations to reach senior decision makers

To address these objectives, we’ve transformed our business to deliver both digital and in-person event experiences. Starting with digital, these event experiences enable you to reach a wider and more exclusive audience of senior decision makers through the ease of access. With no travel required and minimal time taken from their busy schedules, digital event experiences are loved by attendees with 8.50/10 executives stating they would recommend them.

When drilling down into the specific objectives, Digital Summits excel at driving net new business, whereas Digital Roundtables are best for positioning your brand as a trusted advisor and building pipeline. Digital Showcases, in turn, bridge the gap between all of the objectives, forming a unified and cohesive campaign.

So, whilst digital experiences provide reach, scale and speed, in-person and physical experiences deepen and develop relationships.

Achieving the best outcomes from each model comes through recognizing their unique advantages and how to blend them together in an integrated event marketing strategy to maximize pipeline generation and ROI for your business. This is something our expert team can help you craft.

See how Twilio built a cohesive campaign flow with GDS:

 

Discover how you could build a campaign with the help of GDS by requesting a chat with one of our specialists.

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