Events – Essential For Every Demand Generation Strategy

I had the opportunity to spend last week at the Content Marketing World (#CMWorld) event in Cleveland. It’s not easy to bring 3,500 people together, to get and keep them engaged (while wearing orange) and remain inspired about the still-evolving concept of content marketing.

                                                          *Pic via NewsCred
Content marketing is not new to everyone, in fact, most marketers today are currently using content marketing in their marketing strategy to help engage, nurture and convert their buyers. However, those of us that are using it, only 20% of us are committed to it according the newest research shared by Joe Pulizzi, founder of Content Marketing Institute (CMI). As with many things, those that are using it are reaching a point in which we are producing a bit too much content and it’s not all quality. In fact, the over-abundance of content is produced at our own risk according to Pulizzi and producing poor quality content is just as detrimental to our organizations as not producing content at all. It’s time for marketers to focus on quality over quantity.

To help inspire and educate us, the event introduced a series of speakers, some new to many of us, and some, so familiar they feel like old friends at this point (this is a nothing but a good thing). While at the event I began thinking about how in this digital age, there is still a place for these events where we truly get to interact, build relationships and just be human. Here are a few reasons why events (well-produced, well-planned, programmed and executed) are so beneficial to attendees and why they can engage us far beyond any digital tactic.

It’s not the office:
Don’t underestimate this fact. Attending an event off-site, even if it is in your own city, helps engage an audience. After all, we are all there for the same reason and there’s really no excuse not to be “present” when attending an event.

There is always something to complain about if you really want to (air conditioning is too cold, food isn’t gourmet, lines are too long or whatever) but the bottom line is getting any group of people together to focus on an aspect of work outside of the office, makes for a good day. A group of people who are interested in learning and networking around a certain topic opens up the lines of communication. At an event people talk to people they might not normally meet, ideas are exchanged and bonds are forged. Learning outside the office provides people new perspectives on many things and renews our excitement for our work. It’s work still, but we remember why we love it or at least, why the challenges are still interesting.

Inspiration:
Although we may have been lucky enough to see or hear some of the experts that present at events at previous conferences (who doesn’t want to hear fabulous speakers like Ann Handley or Doug Kessler again and again?), many are new to us. How many people can say they heard Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) speak at an event? What about experiencing how Lego and Facebook teamed up to launch the Krowiwongi campaign from the Lego guy himself, Lars Silberbauer? Or the $100 Lego Life of George campaign that I honestly have been thinking about since the keynote Wednesday morning and brainstorming how to incorporate the simplicity of the program in my own work.

It’s the things we experience live at an event that impact us. Learning is just not the same via a webinar or reading about something online or in print. The magic of an event is that this is live, and it gets us out of our digital bubbles and connects us with other humans in real-time. Events provide a unique opportunity to be up close and personal with people who are building an industry, leading a movement, or simply care about the same things we do. Last week’s Content Marketing World gave me more than a few things to think about, reminded me that I can still be inspired in my work and I shared a few great conversations with friends, new and old. Only events can do that and that is why they will always be part of any successful Demand Generation Strategy. Thanks for putting on another  great one CMI.

Author: Erika Goldwater CIPP/US @erikawg VP, Marketing for ANNUITAS