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3 Tips to Develop a Successful Partner Marketing Strategy for Events

partner marketing strategies

How to Use Co-Marketing for Event Lead Generation

Do you know how to leverage partner marketing for generating buzz for your next event? When it comes to promoting an event, marketers need to create innovative solutions to sound less “salesy” and more customer-focused. So how can you create a successful marketing campaign that educates and inspires prospects to take action and helps support your next event? Instead of engaging in flashy, salesy promotions — market smarter and more efficiently by concentrating on your event marketing with targeted partner marketing campaigns.

By sharing marketing efforts with the right partner, you deepen your relationship with your partner, increase your audience, and promote thought leadership and brand awareness. According to Forrester, events make up 22% of partner marketing campaigns. So how can you leverage partner marketing for successful events?

When planning your partner marketing strategy for an event, there are three essential components to creating a successful partner marketing game-plan: define your co-marketing campaigns, co-present sessions, and co-sponsor parties before, during, or after your event. What are tips and best practices in order to leverage the potential of each in order to generate more brand awareness, press, and leads from your event?

Here are our top three tips for successful partner marketing for events:

Co-Marketing Campaigns

Are you going to launch a new product or service, a detailed, comprehensive asset, or announce a buzzworthy partnership? One of the best ways to create hype, excitement, and engagement with customers and prospects and produce buying, cross-selling and upselling opportunities is by creating a co-marketing campaign.

When selecting a partner for a co-marketing campaign, define a target audience of prospects that would be interested in both of your products and services. According to Hubspot, “The most important thing when deciding to do co-marketing with a certain partner, is to make sure the purpose and goal of the project is similar for both parties. If one partner wants leads, but another is looking for ticket sales to their annual event, you will be hard pressed to find a project that satisfies both needs.”

Once you’ve decided on a partner with similar and complementary business goals, brainstorm and create multiple themes and ideas that you can leverage for three-part or multi-tiered campaigns so that you can build marketing momentum and generate buzz before the event.

When defining your co-marketing strategy, it is important to establish:

Marketing Campaign Elements

The scope of your campaign, what assets will be created, and the time-frame of your release. For example, will you kick-off your campaign with an infographic, follow it up with a video, and end it with a deep-dive guide that you will provide at your event? Figure out how each component of your campaign builds off of each other and culminates with the event itself.

Social Media Strategy

What are the ways you will promote your campaign and take advantage of partner newsletters, blogs, and social media channels? Will your campaign promotion be staggered, released at the same time, and how can you work together to make the most significant social media impact? Define your social media strategy to promote effectively.

Gamification Plan

Will you use gamification, prizes, or contests to increase engagement? If so, what will the prizes be, how will they be allocated, and how can you use gamification at the event itself to drive traffic to your booth? By using prizes that are targeted at your demographic, you not only increase your booth attendance, but you qualify your prospects better.

Lead Capture Methodology

How will you share and capture leads? What form fields are essential, which are asset specific, and how will you share leads at the event that you are promoting? It’s essential to know who is responsible for what, and what information is important for both parties to collect.

Once you have established how each team will support co-marketing efforts, you can begin planning on how to support each other at the event itself.

Co-Presenting Sessions

When planning a session with a partner, you want to highlight both of your expertise and create a session that appeals to your intersecting audiences to maximize event attendance. What kind of sessions continuously perform well at events?

As I’ve said before, when creating effective content for conferences and tradeshows, you have to think of innovative solutions or elegant ways to present information that your audience may have heard before, but present it in a different light.

That being said, most attendees at tech conferences want to learn about tips and tools to streamline their work process, how to level up with their competition, and what methods and strategies have worked for industry top performers. With that in mind, there are ways to leverage your partner in marketing and creating an engaging session at your next event. Here are the most successful types of sessions that are particularly influential and well attended:

Case Study

If you and your partner have a success story working together or collaborating with a client, this is very effective. 1.) You prove that your products and services lead to successful customers. 2.) You show prospects how your product or service can be effectively integrated. 3.) You give customers and prospects a roadmap to their own future success.

Best Practices and How To’s

Since many of the attendees at tradeshows and conferences are on the implementation or operational side of business, it is important that your prospect or attendee can take-away learnings from the event, and apply these learnings to their job. Additionally, by providing “top tips” or “best practices,” both you and your partner establish yourself as thought leaders in your field.

Demonstrate Technology Integrations

This is a great way to demonstrate your product or service in a way that is educational and informative. By discussing the variety of integrations that your product or service works with, you highlight the flexibility and robustness of your product or service.

Once you’ve established your session topic, make sure that you and your partner develop the content together, practice, practice, practice, then promote!

Co-Sponsoring Parties

While exhibiting at a conference or tradeshow is an excellent lead generation tool, so is co-sponsoring parties related to the event. Often times, by utilizing engagement and lead scoring from marketing and event automation, you can select highly qualified leads to attend your cocktail party or dinner so that you are strengthening relationships with your prospects. So, how do you nurture your leads in the first place and get qualified attendees to your event?

One of the keys to co-sponsoring a party is to create a multi-touch event. In regards to best practices for promoting an event, Marketo says, “When putting so much time and energy into planning your event, you want to make sure that you do the promotion right. To generate the highest amount of registrants, you need a mix of email, social, public relations, and other types of paid promotions to get the biggest bang for your buck. By communicating with your audience early and often leading up to the event, you will have a better turnout as your event will be top of mind for your attendees.”

When co-sponsoring a party or dinner related to a tradeshow or conference where you are exhibiting, it is important to keep the following in mind:

Secure a Standout Location

Work closely with your event planner to ensure that the location of your event is easily accessible and close to the tradeshow or conference

Develop a Fully Integrated Lead Nurture Program

Make sure both partners are creating targeted email campaigns for prospects and attendees to sign-up registrants and then to follow-up with attendees after the event

Utilize Social Media Before, During and After Event

Promote the event in advance on your social media platforms, especially on the day-of the event. Also, make sure that you and your partner’s marketing team are using images of the party across their social channels during the event

Follow-up with an ABM Campaign

Develop a personalized ABM program with your co-marketing partner for timely follow-up

By co-marketing with the right partner, you and your partner benefit from increasing your audience, achieving brand awareness, and generating more leads than if you hosted events separately.

Leveraging co-marketing campaigns, developing sessions together, and co-hosting parties and events together enables both of you to target a broader prospect base and develop specialized, more personalized follow-up.

Once your partner marketing campaigns have proven to be effective, you also strengthen your relationship with your partner so that when more co-marketing opportunities present themselves, both parties can take advantage of these future opportunities.

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