B2B vs B2C events
Event Marketing

B2B vs B2C Event Marketing: Strategies and Tips

April 16, 2018

One of the most beautiful and rewarding things about pulling off a successful event is knowing that you not only absolutely nailed your audience’s expectations, but you gave them an experience that will be memorable for a long time to come.

In order to do that, you need to get to know your audience in depth. Firstly, you need to determine whether your event will be for a B2B audience, a B2C audienceor a mixture of both.

Are you a seasoned event pro or just starting out? If you’re new to the event industry, these might be some terms you’ve never heard of…

What is B2B and B2C, anyway?

  • B2B: If you’ve never heard of B2B, it’s simply marketing lingo for ‘Business to Business’. Some event companies are corporate and exclusively B2B, others have a B2B department or sister company that focuses on executive clients only.
  • B2C: This stands for ‘Business to Consumer’, which means you are working with the general public and marketing to the consumer in the public domain.

Event Marketing for Businesses

You may not know this, but most businesses spend a huge amount on marketing their events every year. In fact, events have been shown to be one of the most effective demand-gen channels for B2B.

The reason why event marketing is such a big part of B2B ROI is because events are fantastic relationship builders. You can build warm leads from events and much more easily convert into a sale, as the power of face to face relationships means that prospects can be rapidly nurtured.

Who do you want to attract?

In order to attract the right people for your event, you need to define who your audience are. It’s important to realise that it may not be your entire business audience.

If you haven’t already, define your audience marketing personas. This gives you a great insight into your various target markets and also how to speak to them.

By building a clear picture of the kind of person that will be attending your event, it will help you with your entire B2B event marketing strategy.

Ask yourself questions like:

  • How old is this person?
  • What business are they from?
  • What’s their job title and salary?
  • Where would they hear about an event like ours?


If you need a helping hand, there are tools that can automate data collection, enabling you to gather demographic and other publicly available information (with their permission, of course!).

Once you have the answers defined, it will allow you to target these people with granular precision. Using data like this can be your secret weapon to outsmart the competition, as we’ve found with our Spotify Data Insights.

How will you reach your business audience?

Now you’ve got your B2B audience figured out, it’s time to make a marketing plan.    

Make a schedule to cover the time before your event, during your event, and after your event.

Timing is everything with event planning, and with the rise of last-minute registrations, it’s even more important to ensure you share your event far and wide.

Building a winning social media campaign is your next step, as it’s the social space where your audience hang out and connect with each other. For B2B events, you might want to focus on Linkedin rather than Instagram, for example.

How do you want your audience to think and feel?

The mood and atmosphere are crucial to get right for your B2B audience. Strike it wrong, and you could end up losing your reputation. But get it right, and you’ll earn yourself a ton of referrals, just through word of mouth.

Put yourself in the business owner’s shoes. Now you know what’s important to them, how would they like to feel when walking away from your event? Who would they like to have met? What information would they have gathered, and how does that make their business better?

Think about little tips you could offer when marketing that will convey the mood or spirit of your upcoming event. You could offer branded goody bags, a business prize draw, or the chance to win an exhibition space. This not only pulls the customer in and creates intrigue, it also shows your B2B audience what’s in it for them.

On the day itself, think ‘content’ at every opportunity. You might want to interview guest speakers for a podcast, write a feature for your Linkedin Pulse, or do live tweet updates from the event.

Your content during the event and your content after the event is a great way to capture more interest. You can never underestimate the power of events for your content, says Joe Pulizzi from the Content Marketing Institute:

“In every year since we’ve been producing our content marketing research, in-person events are rated as the most effective content marketing activity. Such an amazing opportunity for any-sized brand.”-Joe Pulizzi, chief executive, Content Marketing Institute

Once your event is over, no doubt you’ll have a whole host of leads to turn into super-fans. But that can be tricky if you’ve ended up with a pocketful of business cards or a new list of Twitter followers. Where do you begin with all the information? Well, you can use a CRM system to produce audience intelligence,  which captures all the information you may need to transform those hot prospects into loyal customers.

Event Marketing for Consumers

When you’re planning an event for consumers, you naturally have more free rein with B2C. Depending on your audience, you are more likely to get away with more renegade marketing tactics, by appealing more to the emotional nature of your audience.

The mood is everything for your B2C event, and so the first question you need to ask yourself is ‘What experience do I wish to create?’

Who do you want to attract?

Next, you’ll define your customers – just like you would for a B2B event.

Build up a picture of your ideal customer by defining:

  • Their gender
  • Their location
  • Their hobbies and interests
  • Where they hang out online
  • Who influences them online
  • How they like to consume content

How will you find and target these consumers?

There’s so many ways to target your customers in the B2C space.

  • You could set up a retargeting campaign, which involves the use of website cookies to essentially ‘follow’ your potential attendee around the web. Like a stalker, but altogether nicer, eh?
  • You could even offer your event as part of a membership fee, where users sign up to your programme and get a discount to the event as part of a broader package.
  • Another strategy is that of post-purchase referrals. You know how you can get excited about attending an event? Well, why not harness some of that excitement by offering an incentive, like cash back for fans on their event ticket.
  • But social media has to be your main arsenal in your B2C event weaponry. Boosted posts on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook can be a great way to get more exposure, and collaborations or takeovers on Instagram can be invaluable to build the hype around your event.

Utilise social media on the day, too. Issa Sabawani, a partner and owner at Fuse, says that there is an upward trend in ‘Immediate liking’:

Now, you can offer a direct reward, a prize, a premium, for fanning the product right then and there on their smartphone or mobile device. It’s giving them some real immediate value. Immediate liking and friending is becoming more popular”.

How do you want them to think and feel?

B2C events are about the experience, so when marketing your event, focus on what your potential audience need most right now. Ideally, you want your event to be a party! You want as many people as possible talking about your event for months to come.

But how do you do that? By defining your audience personas, as you’ve already done. That’s the first step, says Elizabeth Brooks, Senior VP at LiveNation

“They want to be affected, emotionally engaged, to be changed in some way, to come away “better,” and the experience should make the fan feel good about themselves. If you know how your target wants to feel about themselves, that’s a giant key to engagement.”- Elizabeth Brooks, senior vice president, Content, LiveNation

After the event, feedback is essential to make sure you’ve surprised and delighted your audience. A post-event survey can do a lot to improve your proposition for the future. Survey Monkey has some cool templates you can use.

Planning an event for businesses and consumers?

Creating an event that will host both B2B and B2C audiences? It may seem complicated, but it’s actually simple to achieve. I As long as you have clear marketing strategies for both, your branding will be a way to segment your audiences. In fact, Accenture’s MD of content Mark Kiernan says that the line between B2C and B2B is gradually disappearing.

A corporate event brochure could be produced alongside a customer one, and your business customers could get access to different rooms or speakers. Creating an event with two distinct yet overlapping themes can actually boost your brand, by showing your markets you’re a company that is flexible, yet consistent.

We’re sure you’ll deliver an epic event. Don’t forget to follow Audiencetools on Facebook to stay up to date with our latest software releases and news.

Audiencetools Team

Author Audiencetools Team

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