B2B events marketing can be stressful, but when things go right, it is a rewarding, sociable and incredibly diverse profession. It may not be one of the jobs people dream of doing while at school, but it still has huge appeal and is a career that requires a specific skillset within a field that not everyone could excel in. Hiring someone with the right attributes is crucial, so here is our list of just what you need to look out for when recruiting - or if you're an aspiring events marketer, the skills you need to demonstrate.
1. Communication skills
As in any field of marketing, being able to communicate your ‘product’ is imperative. Event marketers should be able to easily articulate both the USP of their event and the benefits to attending for each audience segment or possible participants (sponsors, supporters, partners). In addition to top-notch copywriting and an excellent telephone manner, strengths in communications should also encompass listening to customers and interpreting their wants and needs. You will need someone capable of creating and maintaining an online community for your event, which takes hard work, enthusiasm and - most importantly - the ability to interact confidently with members. Look for a candidate with at least a little experience in customer service, and pay close attention to how they come across in written communications.
2. Relationship-building and interpersonal skills
As an extension to effective communication, the ability to develop good relations with prospects, delegates, sponsors etc is essential for establishing your community in the first place. It then plays a key part in repeat purchasing, customer loyalty and advocacy. Event marketers must develop complete confidence in their product and become an industry expert in their event sector in order to converse fluently with customers .This means keeping abreast of industry news, connecting with thought leaders in the field and engaging with the community on social media. Again a background in customer service will signal an aptitude in this area, and you will be able to judge by their manner in person if they have the potential to excel.
3. Keeping calm under pressure
Although this is a real job description cliché, the capacity for keeping calm during periods of stress is a vital skill for anyone working in the events industry. Deadlines cannot be pushed back, and with ‘the big day’ looming, you need someone who is not unnerved by the inevitable hiccups that occur at live events. Just as delegates do not want to see flustered staff at their event, neither do they want a pleading telesales call at the eleventh hour in last minute desperation to fill event places. Usually the interview process itself will tell you a lot about a person’s ability to cope with stress, and be sure to ask for examples of when a candidate has held up, or preferably thrived, in a high pressured environment.
4. Time management
Inherently tied to keeping calm is rigorous planning and time management. B2B events marketers must keep a watchful eye on key event deadlines, not only the big day itself, but also press day for programmes, cut-off dates for sponsorship and early-bird deadlines. Being able to manage time efficiently will allow scope for multi touchpoint marketing - a highly effective means of optimising the interactions you have with customers, adding real value for sponsors. Using time wisely is definitely something that comes with experience but it can also be gained through optimising the digital tools at your disposal, such as marketing automation (see below).
5. Analytical and digitally savvy
Finally, another core strength for event marketers is taking an analytical approach. It is their responsibility to know which of your marketing tactics are working and where to invest limited marketing budget. Understanding and exploiting the wealth of data held in your CRM database is critical for extracting leads and building customer profiles. Manipulating data and knowing how to automate your email marketing efforts not only makes life easier in the long run, but it is what makes a good event marketer great. On a basic level, they'll need good numerical skills, but beyond that the ideal candidate will utilise all the tools at their disposal to formulate a creative (but still logical) solution to a problem.
Now go and grow your team
Overall, the attributes that make for a great events marketer are the same for a marketer from a number of industries – only they must be more pronounced.
Time management is important in pretty much every profession – but how many other roles are based around a single very important, fixed date or deadline that will almost never shift? Similarly, strong communication skills are listed as necessary on any job spec, but an events marketer must be able to liaise with various stakeholders (both internal and external), with differing connections to your event, and from a range of professions and levels of seniority. Candidates needn't be the finished article when you come to recruiting, but showing strength in these key areas will indicate they're on the right track.
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