Roadshows are Becoming a Key Tactic for ABM Strategies

The struggles of reaching out and starting a dialogue with businesses continue to grow. In an environment inundated with email blasts and content overload, account-based marketing (ABM) has shown to be a strong method for generating B2B sales. However, no matter how much time you spend personalizing emails or catching up with a phone call, there is nothing that strengthens a relationship more than a face-to-face meeting.

While an in-person meeting is the best method of furthering your connection with an account, it’s also the most costly (both in time and money.) How do you optimize your team’s resources to get in front of a potential customer? The answer: Roadshows.

Roadshows allow for your team to meet with clients and prospects across the nation and educate them on products, discuss their needs, and build a better rapport overall.  They’re also relatively cost-effective considering the alternative of sending individuals out to meet with clients on a one-on-one basis. The vast majority (upwards of 60% [Bizzabo, 2018] ) of ABM strategies are now adopting event marketing as a tactic due to its proven ROI and time-efficient nature.

The potential gains of roadshows are high, but the probability of the event falling flat is also rising as we see more in-house teams creating events without the use of experienced meeting planners. The cost of a roadshow can’t be justified if the goals of the event are not reached, and professional meeting planner services use their experience and expertise to ensure your investment is well placed.

Let’s explore the three essential elements of successful roadshows for ABM that certified meeting planners understand backward and forwards:

1. Understand Your Audience

Most generally take this step for granted, but sparing some time to map out your target audience helps build the foundation of your decision-making for the entire event planning process. ABM has the advantage of being data-driven, so gathering general demographic information should be relatively straightforward. We ask that you also try to think of the psychographics of your invitees as well. Psychographics consist of a person’s interests, motivations, and tastes that determine their lifestyle choices and overall attitude and opinions.

You can learn more about how to map out your audience using personas in this blog post on picking incentive travel destinations. The same rules apply!

Consider both demographics and psychographics when selecting your main attraction for the roadshow. If you are catering to a technical audience in an industry that has little free-time, consider a product demo alongside a lunch, so they don’t have to take extra time out of their day to attend. Younger audiences may not respond as well to a golf tournament, but might be interested in a Top Chef cooking challenge hosted by one of the winners.

Whatever your audience demographics and psychographics are, getting a clear image of who you’re trying to attract to the roadshow is imperative to forming your communication strategy, graphic design, and event structure as a whole.

2. Communicate Effectively

The first step to attracting attendees to your roadshows, and arguably the most important factor in dictating whether or not you meet your attendance targets. Cutting through the clutter to get prospects to attend should be the priority of every event organizer. This can be accomplished with a few key differentiators:

Design a Theme – using a clever theme goes a long way in tieing your program communication together. Use the main attraction of the event to help dictate the style of your theme and create something that helps give the campaign a cohesive message.

Create a Website – even if your event is for a small number of attendees, having a web page that acts as the call-to-action for registering or getting more information on the event is often necessary for tracking attendance and legitimizing the event as a whole.

Graphic, Personalized Emails – ABM marketers are well-aware of the effectiveness of a personalized email message, and using on-theme graphics to help promote the event alongside a personalized invite helps set it apart from the mountain of other emails sitting in their inbox.

Quality Direct Mailer – direct mail is making a big comeback. At the same time, email inboxes grow more encumbered, and postal inboxes are an excellent opportunity to get your message directly in a prospective attendee’s hands (literally!). The difference-maker here is using quality theme design and print material to leave an impression. The nicer the invitation, the more effective it will be.

3. Make It Interactive

The classic roadshow meetups consisting of a pop-up tradeshow booth and box seats at the local game are quickly becoming stale. While it is an effective way to generate attendance, there is no avenue to building a relationship other than being spectators together. Using a game or challenge for prospects and organizers to work together on is an excellent way of strengthening your ties with one another, as well as imprint the memory of the event in their minds for a long time.

For example, Brightspot was tasked by Avaya to create an “edutainment” roadshow series for their channel partners to educate them on a new healthcare vertical solution. We created an ‘Escape the Room’ kit that was easily replicated from one location to the next. It was themed entirely with their new healthcare solutions in mind and helped promote their new product features within the course of playing the escape room.

Not only was it a successful roadshow for educating their channel partners on their new product, but it also facilitated a way to build a stronger relationship between their teams by working together on a fun task.

You can get the full rundown on this case study as one of our featured success stories.

Roadshows can be the greatest tool for ABM, or one of the biggest time sinks. It all depends on how well you’re able to plan and utilize the event to the fullest. Hiring a professional meeting planner service, like Brightspot, will take the guesswork out of the equation and make your life easier and your roadshow more successful.

If you have any questions about your current program, or would just like us to provide some bright ideas for your next event, give us a shout!



Michael Pisterzi

Author Michael Pisterzi

Marketing Manager | Tech-centric marketer with a dedication to relationship marketing in the incentives & events industry.

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