For more than a year now, the pandemic has turned business operations upside down in countless ways. For B2B marketers, one of the most consequential disruptions was the inability to hold in-person events, which are often the top lead gen tool. But B2B marketers are by definition a creative group, and many made the shift to all-digital lead gen work in short order.
Lead gen is one of the most challenging jobs in marketing, and B2B marketers had to figure out how to connect clicks to leads, pipeline, and revenue inside the CRM. If you’re using Full Circle’s Digital Source Tracker, you’ve seen how a tool that’s designed for B2B marketers can streamline processes and remove complexity, empowering marketers to make better digital marketing investments, track progress toward goals and make tweaks to campaigns to improve performance.
But what happens when in-person events make a comeback? In addition to dusting off their event marketing skills, B2B marketers will need to measure carefully and compare in-person and digital lead gen campaign efficacy to ensure familiar techniques from the Before Times (prior to March 2020, that is) still work in 2021.
Will In-Person Event Hesitancy Be a Thing?
There’s reason to believe in-person event hesitancy will be a thing for at least the remainder of this year. Lingering concerns about coronavirus variants may keep some people away from in-person events for months to come. According to the Dallas Morning News, a survey of more than a million event attendees conducted by a global events firm said 78% would feel confident enough to return to events this fall.
Vaccine distribution is uneven around the U.S., but the trends are positive so far this year, and case rates at this time are falling. Still, attendee concerns and the risks an outbreak could pose to the organization hosting the event may be enough to keep some companies in wait-and-see mode.
Another wildcard: after a solid year of Zoom meetings and virtual events, we just don’t know how receptive potential customers will be to an invitation for an in-person event due to budgetary and/or practical reasons. Many of us have become used to virtual events, and to their credit, companies have stepped up their game and delivered real value via events that don’t require leaving home or the office.
Comparing In-Person vs. Digital Performance
As you navigate these uncertainties, there’s one thing you don’t have to worry about if you use Full Circle to measure marketing performance: integrating data from in-person events with digital marketing data. Since Full Circle solutions are native CRM apps, you can track everything inside the CRM, which serves as your single source of truth for both digital and other types of marketing campaign data.
As in-person events resume, tracking metrics will continue to be critical to identify how much ROI they are providing for marketers. Leverage a single platform that pulls in data from digital campaigns automatically while allowing you to easily upload leads from in-person events to ensure you capture all relevant information. Using a single platform will provide quick insight into how all leads are moving through the funnel and will measure lead volume, velocity and conversion rates while optimizing campaign investments.
B2B marketers might feel whiplash after adjusting to the unprecedented circumstances of the pandemic and now facing the prospect of reopening. Timing and content will be a challenge in addition to addressing attendee concerns about in-person events. Historical data can provide perspective and measuring lead gen campaigns to maximize revenue and optimize budgets will be more important than ever.
Post Pandemic Operations: What to Keep and What to Change
It’s time for B2B companies to strategically evaluate the changes they made during the pandemic and decide what to keep and where to reverse course.