Nearly every industry has its own schedule of trade shows, conferences, seminars, workshops, and awards shows designed to bring professionals from the field together to “talk shop” and learn from one another. Getting involved in a B2B event allows you to showcase your business and expertise to the right audience in professional, social, and educational setting, while setting the stage for future networking and lead generation opportunities.
While you can always sponsor a corporate event, there are huge advantages to hosting your own, under your own brand name. Below, we explore some of the best reasons to do this, along with some tips for success while hosting a corporate event.
Why hosting a corporate event is a great idea
- Brand awareness: Corporate events help you attract more attention to your company and boost local awareness of your brand. As the event host, you’ll have much more control over the branding, messaging, and marketing strategy of your event.
- Face-to-face networking opportunities: LinkedIn may be great for making connections, but nothing beats old-school, face-to-face networking. By hosting your own events, you can gather a crowd of hand-selected industry leaders and create an opportunity to network with them in-person.
- Sense of community: Inviting professionals from similar industries to your event is a great way to foster a sense of community that might be missing in your area.
- Trust and credibility: As the business organizing a corporate event, you’ll establish yourself as an expert and leader in your industry, as well as build trust and credibility in your brand.
- Increased revenue: Depending on the types of events you’re hosting, you’ll likely bring in some immediate revenue from admission fees, and long-term revenue from new business opportunities that stem from your event. According to a 2015 survey, the average ROI on corporate events is between 25 and 34%.
Types of B2B events
There are a few different types of B2B events you can host for your target audience. The best one for you depends on your business goals and your ideal event timeline.
Conferences and trade shows
Conferences and trade shows encourage new connections and business opportunities, while providing attendees with valuable information on relevant industry topics or themes. They are often all-day or multi-day events with extensive programming and exhibits for attendees to choose from.
A conference lineup usually includes a keynote speaker who offers their insight to the entire group, followed by smaller lectures/presentations throughout the venue. Corporate sponsors from within the industry may also set up booths to show off their products and services.
Seminars and workshops
Unlike a larger conference, seminars and workshops typically offer one speaker/presentation at a time, usually on a niche industry topic. They are often more hands-on and allow attendees to actively engage with an expert to develop real, actionable results for their business. The intimate nature of these events gives attendees a richer, more personalized shared experience.
Corporate dinners and awards shows
If you’re looking to honor individuals within your organization or industry, a celebratory dinner or awards banquet can be a great way to do it. These types of events are often hosted by professional trade organizations and university departments to highlight outstanding achievements by their members. They may range from informal gatherings (e.g., a restaurant private room with a speaker and mic setup) to a more formal affair (e.g. a rented hall with a stage, podium, and full AV setup).
Tips for B2B event success
Ready to host your first corporate event? Follow these tips to ensure success:
1. Set goals.
What is the purpose of your event? What do you hope to achieve? Set some clear goals so you know what you’re working towards, and which type of event would bring you the best results.
2. Create a budget.
Set a budget that makes sense given your goals and event type, and build in a cushion for any unforeseen expenses that may arise. Consider the overall experience of the event, from the ambience to the presentations/discussions.
3. Understand your AV and technical setup needs.
Will your event only require basic audio/visual (AV) equipment like a speaker and microphone, or do you need something more complex, like video projection, stage lighting, etc.? Planning out your technical needs – and finding the right provider to set them up and operate them – will help you ensure a smooth, glitch-free event.
4. Select the right location.
When selecting and booking a venue for your event, you’ll want to choose a location that’s both convenient for your target attendees and appropriate for the occasion. Select a venue that supports your vision and allows for the technical capabilities you need.
5. Plan and market your event in advance.
The more time you allow yourself, the better. Depending on the type of event you want to host, you might start planning and marketing a year in advance (for a large conference with prominent speakers) or just a few months (for an intimate seminar). Either way, be sure to give yourself sufficient lead time to create and execute a marketing strategy, so you can generate buzz and drive higher attendance.
6. Hire an expert.
Hosting a corporate event is a big job, but you don’t have to do it alone. BridgeTower Media offers end-to-end event planning, consulting, and management services for companies looking to host their own corporate events. Learn more about BridgeTower Media’s private label services here, or contact us for a quote.