Who convened the largest audience used to be the top metric on the leaderboard. Nowadays smaller events can generate big results. As Event Strategists, planning and executing a strategy is all about the caliber of the audience, the elusive Executive. To work, they require a different approach than a traditional event strategy. Getting this demographic into the room matters, being that they can move the needle for your business and can champion your brand.
Executive events are small, exclusive, invite-only functions. They can be facilitated round tables, dinners, or peer to peer 1:1 meetings, but they are always targeted at preselected attendees. These types of events tend to prioritize lead quality over lead quantity and focus on engagement.
The best way to look at executive events is not to compare them to the traditional industry trade shows and conferences, which usually account for most event budgets. Most C-Level executives may attend but don’t typically walk the expo floor. They understand the need to connect with peers and want those opportunities, but their time is limited. So they are very particular about where they spend their time and with whom.
We’re now seeing an influx of Executive events popping up more and more. They want more in-person networking and are craving face to face connections. Our insights and experience have proven that interactive and interpersonal exchanges offer a unique experience that simply can’t be replicated in large events or virtual formats. The events and content will need to be worthy of their time and effort in attending so the focus should be the quality of the experience and have an engagement factor. Top executives won’t take time away from the office unless they are convinced or see significant value; and they will readily punt an invitation to their team if the case is not persuasive.
They value the opportunity to rub shoulders with their peers, but they must be assured of the quality of the other attendees – this means they’ll want to know who’s on the guest list. They want to share experiences with each other and expand their industry knowledge. They could hear new industry trends that could influence business decisions going forward. Many conversations at Executive events deepen very quickly into something that is more relevant and interesting than what they would get at a larger, open event. In turn, offering these types of options for the Executives will be attributed to the overall event strategy and goals.
The event’s agenda is the primary draw, and it needs to be tailored specifically to the Executive audience. They seek intriguing, surprising, and useful ideas that address their business challenges. They also want solutions that push beyond common knowledge. Results and impact matter; benefits and features don’t. Keep the content focused on two or three things they need to do to create value right now; share it in the form of a story, and that will pique their interest.
Just remember, executive events are not only about lead generation. The event can open new deals, create influence and make an impact on your brand. Executives move deals faster and help close. Since it may be difficult to measure the results of a particular event in the short term, design your event program for a long-term perspective and not try to evaluate it in a quarter, for example.
Communication to the Executive attendees is important as well. Making it clear that the event is for business leaders in the way it is constructed will also help to reassure them that it will be small and exclusive. These Executives are invited to many events throughout the year and can become frustrated with superficial levels of conversations that the average business event invites. Having the right grade of people together in one room makes for very effective connections.
Take stock of why you want to engage executives through an event, and where you are starting from in making the ask. If you don’t have a relationship or some connection in your business to your target executives, getting them to care about your event will be a stretch without context. The key is a thoughtful and directed event strategy. Establish that and you will secure the credibility of your event.
Thinking about heightening your executive programs or starting one? Impact Point Group is here to help you develop the strategy to move the needle for your business. Contact us and we’ll get you started.
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