By Iman Ghorayeb Director, Marketing & Communications, EMEA & APAC, at Avaya
As in every industry, my team and I are still saying “let’s figure things out” as we navigate through this new world of everything. There are plenty of challenges in B2B tech space. It wasn’t until we were unable to do things face-to-face that we realized how central human contact was to our roles.
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Industry events and trade shows have most obviously been missing from the marketing mix this year. And if your marketing plan is usually built around events – like many B2B marketeers’ are – with months-long campaigns taking advantage of a range of touchpoints and culminating in a big show, how does the new reality affect your strategy? And once events are back on the cards, how would you do things differently?
We learned plenty as a result of our participation in GITEX Technology Week, one of the most well-attended B2B technology events in the world. Initially scheduled for Autumn 2020, the event was postponed as the UAE worked proactively to bring Covid-19 under control. As case numbers stabilised, there was enough confidence to safely hold the event in December. According to organiser Dubai World Trade Centre, it was the only major in-person tech show of 2020.
We might have been participating in (and campaigning around) a physical event, but we were still marketing in a new world of work. Here are five things we learnt from the integrated campaign we ran:
1 Create a hybrid strategy that delivers across touchpoints
We’re a B2B technology vendor with a team that influences enterprise buyers across Europe, Asia and Africa, so quality interactions with our business partners, commercial ecosystem partners, and customers is critical for our go-to-market; GITEX is a year-on-year milestone for our sales motion. In the old days, we’d host hundreds of our stakeholders in this incredible city and design a journey built on physical and face-to-face experiences. This year, though, the engagement had to be hybrid, running in two parallel worlds of digital and physical, and each required its own unique journey.
2 For you: The Netflix experience
At a standard, in-person event, the content has to be tailored to the lowest common denominator of persona that you expect to visit your stand. That assumption goes out of the window when you bring digital into the mix. The last thing we wanted to do is take our guests on a virtual journey and not deliver the right meal for their individual taste. A fantastic sales and marketing partnership resulted in the right insights and analytics and a greater response to our calls to action.
3 Move fast on tactical opportunities
A major feature of GITEX is its world-class conference program, with more than 300 hybrid conference tracks across 5 days. When a last-minute tactical opportunity came up, it was a no-brainer for us, as the leaders of collaboration technology, to partner with the organizers and have our technology play its part. Only a few weeks before kick-off, Avaya Spaces became the official collaboration platform of the week-long conference schedule. The solution does a lot more than video conferencing, but the opportunity to put it in front of the 30,000 people who viewed the sessions was too good to resist.
4 A new world with new ways to measure
It’s an evolved world and with it comes an evolved way to not only to measure your success but also to track your work in real-time. Our sales team response time was near real-time, leading to a doubling of our usual SQL score, and our media reach and engagement was the second-highest of any exhibitor at the show.
5 Win as a team
New world or not, the fact remains that marketing can only win the game when it plays as a team. The department is not an island, and it should be well and truly integrated into the goals of the entire company. We’re extremely fortunate at Avaya to have top-class teams across the board – from marketing and sales to technical and support. But the success of an integrated campaign demands having the right teams in the right place, positioning the right offerings, and aligning to the right KPIs. Work out who will do best where, and set them, and the company, up for success.