For destinations, meeting planners are a critical component to destination popularity, increased bed tax and a strong community economy. Outside of direct sales efforts, marketing to meeting planners is often executed with a mistaken strategy copied from leisure marketing. The playing field is extremely compressed and complicated. Because the people who plan meetings at corporations may or may not be called a “meeting planner,” it’s difficult to buy a list that would allow you to reach this market with a sales blast or prospecting cold calls. As many as 70-80 percent of the corporate meetings planned may be organized internally by someone working in an administrative position, and the turnover rate for them can be as high as 40 percent a year. The key is to nurture a B2B demand generation utilizing strategies and tactics that have proven to work for private corporations in generating leads and demand.
Using Social Media:
In platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram, B2B marketing has matured to include tools that yield a strong ROI in demand and lead generation.
Using the right tools and data, you can find compelling ways to distribute content to the most interested people at the most opportune time. In the realm of B2B marketing, the stakes are higher. They must not only work to appeal to a single person, but to an entire organization. As mentioned above, meeting planners often do not identify themselves with this title.
Multiple maneuvers, working simultaneously, in a social media advertising campaign can increase odds and provide a steady stream of leads to the DMO sales team.
In targeting the audience, “job title” is not enough. The goal is to seek exposure on an organizational level with these strategies:
- Cultivating the targeting based on market, organization size, decision makers, habits and 70%+ match of desired meetings, a set of personas can be developed and grown with “act-alike” intelligence amplification. These personas will yield propensity, meeting habits, and other habitual identifiers. Ultimately increasing the relevancy of messaging and providing a platform for matching strategy to goals.
- Personas will be the foundation of prescriptive messaging in advertising and adaptive content.
- Buying-cycle interruption. When a meeting is being considered or planned, there are habits by decision makers on social media that provide opportunity to mark the persona’s discovery process in real-time and interrupt the buying cycle with prescriptive ads from the DMO.
- Loyalty development, outsmarting fragile meeting loyalty. Coaxing loyalty and repeat meetings requires an understanding of including the meeting planner in the brand story. By layering in past organizations who have met in the destination, the social ads can deliver in such a way as the DMO becomes part of the customer’s identity.
- It is imperious to layer in a measure of competitive targeting into a meeting planner campaign. Usually this is done in both buying cycle interruption and interest targeting.
Maneuver 1: BRAND AWARENESS
With this set of social ads, the goal is frequency and availability. We are psychologically “turning on” the target audience’s recognition to the point of being “top of mind” and building a symbiotic familiarity.
The CTA (call to action) in these ad sets is influence presentation, best served with custom landing pages, multimedia or microsites.
If the ad content is useful, engaging, tells a story, people tend to share. The ads must tell a story that the meeting planner and organization recognize themselves in, while highlighting the destination and pairing it with the emotional triggers of the individual.
Maneuver 2: CONSIDERATION
In the consideration step, our goal is to earn the right to ask for the sale. Further down the funnel, the ad strategy “dials in” to pain points, delight and meeting visualization.
The CTA becomes more intimate and offers are matched with behavior and availability. Content is still a paramount strategy in this set, but speed to ask is accelerated.
Maneuver 3: CONVERSION
Direct leads. Using social media “lead forms’, this set of ads asks for the meeting planner to submit their interest in the DMO without ever leaving the social media platform. While, it is tempting for B2B goals to only run lead form ads, without the full maneuvers listed above, the quality of the leads will be diminished.
These leads can feed directly into the DMO CRM to be managed. It is imperative for the DMO sales staff to serve social ad leads within the platform they made the request. Nurturing these leads is more akin to great customer service than high-pressure sales.
EXPECTED RESULTS FROM THIS BEST PRACTICE METHOD:
An average impression to sale ratio among B2B sales in social media advertising is 20%. Conversion (getting the lead) is closer to 50-60%.
- Potential ROI:
- 6:1 financial return
A sample result using these methods can be seen:
- Accelerated impact:
- Increase database for ongoing, lifetime value realization.
- Repeat buyers and recommendations to colleagues.
- Mitigating impact:
- Does not make allowances for depressed market demand, competition compression or rate parity issues.