Volume 3 Number 5 - May 2003

eMarketing – A Better Way to Manage Your Sales & Marketing Events
by Page Duffy

Are your Sales & Marketing Events delivering the leads you need and delivering them the way you need them? Savvy Marketing executives are getting big payoffs from using eMarketing tools to manage the events they rely on to deliver leads into their organizations’ sales pipelines.

eMarketing employs marketing automation software that integrates email messages, web pages and a database to deliver pre-scheduled, personalized, online marketing programs for both customer acquisition and retention. An eMarketing event management program can handle invitations, registrations, transaction processing, reminders, pre- and post-event surveys, thank you notes and collateral fulfillment. Plus, the program can be used to ask lead qualifying questions, score the answers and deliver prompt email notification to the sales force of high-scoring registrants.

Marketing automation technology that can do that for your events is now economically available to small and medium sized businesses. This means that virtually no business has to exclude itself from achieving the benefits of effective eMarketing anymore.

Some of the benefits generated from eMarketing program management of events like both live and online seminars (called webinars), trade shows and meetings include:

  • Better lead quality – Lead qualifying questions can be a part of the online registration process. Answers can be automatically scored so that the best prospects can be identified prior to an event for personal follow-up.
  • Faster lead notification – Business rules can drive email notification to appropriate sales personnel of high scoring leads as soon as they register.
  • Better control of events – The program can automatically handle the many administrative tasks, and real-time web-based reporting can show how many and who have registered for the event.
  • Lower cost of events – eMarketing programs can replace paper, telephone and human interactions during the entire process and deliver a powerful ROI.
To illustrate the benefits outlined above, let’s take a look at some scenarios that you might recognize. After each scenario, we’ll also take a look at what eMarketing can do to improve on what happened.

Better Lead Quality

The sales team has been assembled after a recent event to discuss the results.

First up on the agenda is the marketing team that conducted the event. They excitedly point to a goldfish bowl filled with business cards, and, after turning it over in the middle of the conference room table, report that these are the leads from raffling off two new PDAs per day over the three day event. They then leave to handle mailing out collateral packets to all those “leads” as well as to everyone who swiped their event passes at their display booth.

Not surprisingly, few members of the sales team make a move to examine the business cards that were left on the table.

Better Lead Quality with eMarketing Event Management – By migrating registration for an event and any of its related activities to online Registration Forms in the eMarketing Program, lead qualifying question can be included in the registration process. Answers can be scored according to pre-designated business rules and the right prospects can be routed to the most appropriate resources. “A” leads can be identified for immediate follow-up with email notifications sent immediately to pre-selected members of the sales force. “B” leads can be asked if they would like to be opted-in to an online program such as an eNewsletter or notified about future events in order to retain contact, build a relationship and develop them into “A” leads. “C” leads can be scheduled for future follow-up.

Faster Lead Notification

One of the purposes of the post-event meeting was to review lead-scoring criteria, score the event’s leads and develop a follow-up plan that assigned leads to members of the sales team. A lengthy discussion ensues about how to identify and classify leads and who should be allowed to follow-up the best leads. The scoring and assigning process takes over a week to complete. Many prospects who didn’t meet the criteria for an “A” lead received no attention or follow-up at all.

Faster Lead Notification with eMarketing Event Management - By driving the best leads into the sales channel faster, eMarketing can enhance conversation rates and reduce the length of the sales cycle. Plus, online relationship development programs can grow prospects that could have been overlooked into qualified leads. This means more revenues can be realized faster.

Better Control of Events

Some invitation packets were mailed to the sales reps’ contact lists. Some invitations were emailed by sales, but there were a lot of undeliverable emails, perhaps due to recent downsizing across the industry that was the focus of the event. Those bad addresses remained in contact databases. Some printed invitations were mailed by one sales group. Some invitations were emailed by marketing, but were sent to many of the same people who had already been contacted by sales.

Responses came in by phone, fax and email to each office that sent out invitations. A consolidated list was developed by marketing, but it was not complete due to many late confirmations. There was some double-counting of individuals who received more that one invitation.

While reminders were known to boost attendance by those who had registered, there had been no coordinated reminder program or schedule. Phone and email reminders were sent from the sales offices to anyone who had been identified as a hot lead the week before the event.

Better Control of Events with eMarketing Event Management – Contact lists can be compiled by both Sales and Marketing and loaded into the marketing automation database. The resulting Event Contact List can be purged of duplicate contacts to prevent double-counting and repeat messaging. Email invitations can be sent in html format with the look of the corporate web site to maintain consistent cross-channel branding. A text formatted section can be included in the invitations to be automatically displayed in the event recipients cannot read html email.

Undeliverable emails can be handled by the program to update contact records in the marketing database. This information can also be fed to the sales force’s contact management systems to keep them current.

The email invitations can also include a link to an online referral program. This is called Viral Marketing and it relies on online “word of mouth” to spread the word about significant company activities. A “Refer A Friend” link in the invitations can help develop contacts among prospects with similar interests and backgrounds as those already receiving invitations. And it is done at virtually no additional cost.

Plus, the program can automatically resend invitations at pre-set intervals prior to the event to anyone who hasn’t registered. This technique has been shown to increase overall response rates significantly with little or no opt-out irritation on the part of recipients.

The eMarketing Event Management Program can also be configured to handle secure online credit card payment of any event-related fees. Necessary payment forms can contain any relevant information that was entered on the Event Registration Form for ease of completion.

As for reminders, all registrants can receive a personalized “Thank You for Registering” page in their browser windows after clicking on the “Submit” button on the online Registration Form. A personalized email confirmation can also be sent immediately. The program can also send pre-scheduled personalized email reminders at, say, one week and a couple of days prior to the event.

As noted above, online registration can simplify and consolidate the registration process. And, the details about whom and how many have registered is only a click away from a web-based report that displays all this information real-time.

Lower Cost of Events

After the event, everyone who had registered for the event, left a business card or swiped a badge at the display booth was mailed the same package of printed collateral by marketing. Many who had registered but didn’t attend were thanked for coming in the standard cover letter that went in each collateral package.

Lower Cost of Events with eMarketing Event Management– One advantage of implementing an eMarketing event management program is that different leads can be treated differently. The right material can be delivered to the right prospects after the event.

Attendees can be sent personalized “Thank You for Attending” emails with collateral attachments and links to appropriate pages in the corporate web site. Registrants who did not attend can be sent personalized “Sorry We Missed You” emails with collateral attachments and a promise to notify them of future events and/or a question whether they would like a personal follow-up. Non-registrants can also be sent similar emails.

By eliminating paper, telephone and human interactions during the event management process, significant cost reductions can be achieved.

You can see that Sales & Marketing events don’t have to be managed the old way these days. When you start planning for your next event, consider eMarketing for your event’s management.

ACTION: Employ eMarketing to manage your events.

Page Duffy is President of JPD Associates, an Internet Marketing Consulting firm specializing in B2B eMarketing and development and implementation of effective Internet marketing strategies that deliver positive ROIs for client companies. Call 978-475-4589 or visit www.jpdassoc.com.

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