Conferences, trade shows, expos and similar events are the lifeblood of many technical marketing operations. They’re a place for demonstrating products, generating leads and nurturing existing customer relationships.
But what do you do if an event you planned on hosting or attending is canceled; or if you just don’t have the budget or logistical resources to participate in a live tech event in the first place?
You turn to technical content. Well-executed technical content marketing campaigns allow marketers to do most of the things they would at a live event. As a bonus, technical content is less expensive to produce, and easier to orchestrate.
To prove the point, let’s look at the most common reasons why marketing teams take part in live events, then explain how technical content will allow them to achieve the same goals.
Product Demos and Brand Awareness
In the tech industry in particular, keynotes at live events have achieved hallowed status as a way to introduce new products or features, and build brand awareness in the process. Everyone still wants to be Steve Jobs, oohing and ahhing a live audience by showing off the latest and greatest technology.
The fact is that technical content allows you to do the same thing, only better. Using tutorials, technical articles or eBooks that focus on a product, you can demonstrate to prospective technical buyers exactly how it works while also making them aware of your brand.
Unlike a live keynote, which most people will watch once and then never see again, product demos that are conveyed through technical content are something that readers can engage with repeatedly, over long periods of time.
Technical content also offers the advantage of being better positioned to reach a broad audience than a product demo at a live event. Unless you’re a company like Apple, the reality is that you’re probably not going to get many viewers for your product demo at the next conference. Most marketers in that situation are happy just to fill the room with conference attendees, let alone get anyone to log in and watch the demo remotely.
In contrast, technical content can be distributed far and wide, over a long period of time. That maximizes exposure.
Live events are popular in part because they give marketers a somewhat captive audience for generating leads. If you’re a DevOps tool vendor, it’s a safe bet that most attendees at a DevOps convention are going to have a potential interest in your product. This makes it easy to get them on email lists and then nurture them as leads, after the event ends.
But there is also a big limitation to lead generation strategies that are rooted in live events: your pool of potential leads is only as big as the conference. Plus, at particularly large events, you will be competing with lots of other companies for leads.
Meanwhile, technical content that appeals to the same personas as those who would attend the live event will also allow you to generate leads among that demographic, but it won’t be subject to the same restrictions. You can reuse technical content to generate leads within as large a network as you want. And well-crafted technical content helps you rise above the noise of your competitors to create leads in a way that is difficult to do at a large conference.
Managing Customer Relationships
A third common reason for hosting or attending live events is to bolster relationships with existing customers. Being able to meet clients face-to-face is a great way to learn how they’re using your product and upsell them on additional services.
Here again, however, you can do the same thing with technical content, but with less expense and effort. Sending clients content that demonstrates how to unlock new functionality in the product they are already using, or that highlights how your product can solve additional pain points for them, allows you to build stronger bonds in a more streamlined way.
This is not to say that technical content is the only way to nurture customer relationships. Successful account management depends on more than just content. But when meeting with customers at live events is too expensive or simply not possible for logistical reasons, content can help fill the void and ensure that you retain strong relationships with your clients.
Live events are great opportunities for marketing teams. But they are also expensive, logistically complicated and (occasionally) canceled unexpectedly. Leveraging technical content to help drive marketing operations is a smart way to work toward the same goals – showing off products, generating leads and nurturing existing customer relationships – without the cost, challenges, and unpredictability of live events.