How to take events marketing from simply branded to expertly measured with the Drift approach

By March 15, 2019 Marketing, ScaleUp

Events marketing is a powerful tool for SaaS brands. But just like with content marketing, it’s the quality that counts, and putting together a sloppy event could actually end up being detrimental for your growing business.

Janna Erickson, the Director of Events at Drift, is familiar with not only launching a successful event, but then further scaling it as the years progress. With her extensive experience working in the events space, including five years at HubSpot, it’s clear that her helpful learnings come from living through it.

In a recent Online Talk organized by ScaleUp Valley, Erickson shared her actionable insights on how to build an event that will get meetings on the schedule for your company.

Shift your focus from branding to tracking

After her five years of working with HubSpot, Erickson joined the Drift team three weeks before the first iteration of Hypergrowth, the fastest growing Drift event to date.

While the event performed well, she was surprised to see that the original strategy wasn’t deeply connected to measurable results. Rather, it was mostly focused on executing a successful branding activation with KPIs simply surrounding number of registrants, brand, and social engagement.

This is an easy mistake to make. We see successful events marketing as getting the most people to attend your events — but what does that really mean for your brand if your attendees aren’t bringing you qualified leads?

With another year ahead, Erickson decided to more specifically connect the event’s performance with measurable results — all surrounding their ICP customers and potential leads. Over the following two years, she was able to scale the event from 1,000 to 6,000+ at their Boston event, and they added both San Francisco and London to the docket.

But what strategies did the Drift team put into place to achieve this kind of scale?

Focus on quality over quantity

By shifting their focus from the number of registrants to getting quality attendees that are also interested in learning more about the brand, they were able to not only scale Hypergrowth — but also make it a better lead generation and customer success tool.

They’re calling it their ‘Junior Year’ of events marketing because, in their third year, they’ve managed to develop a formula that gets them better results each time.

One of their strategies is to start holding their sales team accountable by giving them targets for number of meetings and revenue driven by the event. So rather than leaving team members on their own, Drift can then be focused on turning it into a successful marketing tool.

And this isn’t just for the sales team, Erickson also holds herself to performance goals such as revenue produced by ticket sales & sponsorship and number of meetings & demos scheduled after the event.

From there, it’s all about what their attendees will be taking away from the event. Erickson stressed the importance of not just giving people interesting learnings but actually providing them with actionable strategies. That way, their team members will see the value of the event in the future.

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