What do you do if an event you planned on hosting or attending is canceled? 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.
Granted, 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 live events aren’t always practical.
Let’s look at the most common reasons why marketing teams take part in live events. Then, as an alternate approach, we’ll 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.
Your live keynote is seen once, and then never again. 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. Conference attendees may fill the room. That’s enough to make most marketers happy. But how do you get anyone to log in and watch the demo remotely?
That’s where technical content excels. You can distribute it far and wide, over a long period of time. Strategic positioning maximizes exposure to your targeted audience. Further, product demos conveyed through technical content are something that readers can engage with repeatedly, over long periods of time.
Live events are popular in part because they give marketers a somewhat captive audience for generating leads. It’s a safe bet that most attendees at a DevOps convention are going to have a potential interest in your product. For a DevOps vendor, this makes it easy to build email lists and nurture leads, after the event ends.
Lead generation strategies that are rooted in live events are limited, however. 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. Send clients content that demonstrates how to unlock new functionality in the product they are already using. Or highlight how your product can solve additional pain points. This kind of technical content 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 it helps fill the void; especially when meeting with customers at live events is too expensive or simply not possible for logistical reasons. Content helps ensure that you retain strong relationships with your clients.
Live events are great opportunities for marketing teams. Live events 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.
UPDATE: Digital events have replaced many canceled conferences. Your content marketing strategy is more important than ever!