2020 will go down in history for a million and one reasons—like how it flipped the event marketing industry on its head. 🙃
In a matter of weeks, events went from in-person to virtual, turning field marketers into the unsung heroes of the marketing (and sales!) world.
These dynamic ABM experts stepped up and proved their value delivering innovative campaigns and virtual events, and boosting revenue during the most trying time in recent history.
Now that’s something to be proud of. 👏
As we leap into 2021, virtual events will continue to boom. In fact, a whopping 71% of marketing execs believe virtual will remain the go-to option moving forward. To find out exactly how 2020 changed the way event marketing works, we caught up with some of our favourite field marketing experts who shared how they plan to thrive into the (virtual) future.
The kicker? They had to do it in just 5 words. Here's what they said.
Darcy Dobis is an experienced field marketer with an eye for detail.
As Field Marketing and Community Manager at Teampay, Darcy knows it pays to plan in today’s world—which is why her motto is “Fail to plan, plan to fail”.
“When COVID hit and stay at home orders were issued, field marketing had to scrap all their initial 2020 plans and develop a new strategy quickly. I learned to plan for new ways to contribute to the business, in case virtual events didn't work—whether that's learning a new skill or partnering with other colleagues to support and expand upon other initiatives,” explains Darcy.
Here are Darcy’s top tactics for advancing the role of field marketing post-2020:
But above all, the key to successful field marketing in the post-Covid world, is to make foolproof plans… and then make some more.
“Field and event marketers need to poke holes at all their plans constantly to look out for what could go wrong. They need to have a plan A, B, and C. It also helps to be a worrier,” says Darcy.
As Director of North America Field Marketing at Zscaler, Inc. and ex-Events Manager at Dell, Michelle Radlowski is known for her marketing tenacity—and in the post-pandemic world, a determined outlook is everything.
For Michelle, the one word that stood out in 2020 was ‘change’. That meant different things for everyone, but Michelle believes as long as you move with the change, the only way is up.
“Be a part of the change,” she says, “Lean in. Innovate.”
And as customer experience takes top spot as the key brand differentiator for 2021, Michelle says knowing exactly who your prospects and customers are must be top priority.
“Personalization and knowing your customers is more important now than ever,” she explains.
Caren Bailey is a true virtual events trailblazer.
With over a decade in the field, she knows what it takes to build virtual events that get people clamoring for more—which is why in April 2020 Caren was hired as Sprinklr’s first ever Senior Field Marketing Manager to pivot on the challenges the pandemic brought.
After almost a year in the role, Caren’s biggest challenge is to keep virtual event energy high. ⚡
“My 2020 summary is: Fighting Zoom fatigue every day,” says Caren. Despite the tough task, she still believes small events are the most valuable—as long as you know your magic number. 🎱
“I've learnt that we shouldn't shy away from small events,” says Caren. “I think of virtual events the same way I think of in-person events that I attend—the events I enjoy the most are small group discussions. If I could pick a magic number of attendees to have an interactive discussion where I get to share and ask questions with my peers, it should be as close to 8 attendees as possible.”
As Field Marketing Manager at Tricentis, expert marketer Eliza Chisholm knows it takes great agility to move with the unpredictability of events.
And that’s why her advice as we leap into a new year is “Prepare for the ever-changing pivots.” After a year with more pivots than we cared for, this shout-out to resilience strikes a chord with marketing pros across the globe.
With over 10 years of marketing experience under her belt, it’s no surprise Monica Nio aced the shift from in-person to virtual events in 2020—but that doesn’t mean it was easy.
“For those field marketers lucky enough to keep their jobs, like myself, our careers changed from traveling, meeting face-to-face, building a booth, creating in-person experiences, networking, etc... to sitting behind a desk 100% of the time. The skills I had finessed as a field marketer suddenly shifted to being an expert email and promotional marketer and learning more about platform experience,” she says.
Despite her success shifting from in-person to online, Monica still believes personal is best.
“While virtual events are convenient on both sides in terms of cost and time, recreating the engagement is just NOT THE SAME. It's like the seat at the back of a classroom. You can tune out, you can jump ship quick, and you don't have to participate (mostly). Even worse when there's a virtual booth,” she says.
Here’s how Monica bucks the virtual booth trend and makes her online events super personal:
Marketing innovator and Field Marketing Manager at Conga, Ashley Biggie, recognizes a must-know trend when she sees one.
And post-Covid, she believes the trend to watch is account-based marketing.
“2020, the year of ABM,” says Ashley. Here’s why the future is all about account-based marketing:
If we learned anything from the highs and (especially) lows of last year, it’s that the impact of ABM cannot be overstated. Moving forward, field marketers will need to be prepared with firm answers about what happens after the event and the actual pipeline impact of each and every virtual campaign.
Okay, that’s technically six words but as Senior Marketing Manager at Beekeeper, Austin Sandmeyer’s passion for great marketing is contagious, and it can’t be contained to just five words.
But passion doesn’t get you far without understanding your industry—especially in the post pandemic era. Luckily, Austin’s got that covered too—he knows marketing is a change-game, and the key to survival is to add to the equation every day. “Constant change is the only constant,” he says.
After the year we’ve all had, we couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
As a B2B event marketer in the post-2020 world, innovating and evolving your job role is the only way to earn a seat at the revenue table. Whether it’s through a new focus on account-based marketing or shifting to virtual events, the future for field marketers who move with the change is guaranteed to be brighter.