How to attract a CxO Audience for your event?

Today focusing on the right target audience & attendee level are key to maximize the continuously shrinking marketing budgets

Executives look at their precious time and decide what kind of marketing experience will bring value to them. Events, Trade shows and Conferences without a compelling value proposition are quickly discarded. Event planners are always craving for a C-Level audience but too often the needs of top executives are not met. The key is to build content and agendas where executives are able to network, learn from peers and apply these learnings into their daily lives. They also want hard data points so they could compare their business with industry peers.

Now the question is how do you build a C-Level content-driven program, allowing your company to become an authority and ultimately benefit from a higher level of buyers? How to build a compelling agenda for your must-attend event?

The key to the success of any event experience designed for enterprise leadership is a deep understanding of the target audience. This is a must for building a branded event experience that will effectively engage and drive positive perception of your company.

Any C-level  event must offer a unique brand experience that can be designed for specific, measurable outcomes related to active brand advocacy, and therefore, demand and revenue generation. This is the foundation of a long lasting conversation and relationship with any given customer you are focusing on. The most important is to promise a clear business value to an executive that cannot be achieved through day-to-day business activity in the office or from your competitors. However, you must then deliver on that promise so that you start to build a long-term relationship that benefits your key customers.

Below a list of tips I believe are key to get the desired CxO audience:

  • Build event experiences that are fun, casual, interactive, not too sales focused and deeply engaging
  • Design your content around value generation and business benefits
  • Share best practices from industry and non-industry groups
  • Facilitate access to your customers, executives, experts, speakers and Industry Gurus
  • Take the high road and deliver as an authority but don’t bash the competition
  • Extend your content beyond the event e.g. with follow-up Workshops, Virtual Events or other Online Experiences
  • Generate Momentum around the event – pre and post for internal and external audiences
  • Make sure your event is memorable. It’s not about the amount spent but the experience delivered

Key Ingredients for a successful CxO Event:

Audience Acquisition

  • Top Executives receive too many invitations so targeting and profiling your customers is the first thing to do
  • Invite your audience 3 to 6 months prior to the event date to secure a much-coveted spot in their agenda
  • Feed them with relevant content prior to the event

Decision factors to attend an event

  • Past good or bad event experiences with your company
  • Net New Customers are hard to get versus Install Base Customers so content and best practice sharing will be the deciding factor
  • Thought leadership and learning are key. Don’t try to sell too hard. Charm, embrace and build a relationship with your customers.

Location Factors

  • Close to their offices so your audience can come in and out the same day or fly the night before
  • Central locations, airport hub and customer locations are preferred versus far away resorts
  • Special high touch venues such as 5-star hotels or unique customer experience locations are most preferred

Content and Format are King

  • CxO Level Audiences love to network so audiences should never be too big (50 to 100 attendees for 1.5 to max 2 days)
  • Shared customer and peer experiences work best. Keep your sales pitches out of the formal presentations but deliver visionary keynotes from your company executives, industry experts, analysts and customers.
  • Focus on content that solves business problems and show with customer examples how they are met. Leave room for debate with a good moderator.

Tone is not just for the music world

  • Exclusive and unique. Remember you have a CxO audience
  • Relevant and up to date. Nobody wants to listen to stuff they already know or read before
  • White glove. They expect a personal experience and connection to your company. Be authentic and prepare well.

Event Experience

  • Yes, story telling. Don’t put them to sleep delivering bullet points, excel spreadsheets and a laundry list of benefits
  • Interactive – absolutely. Executives want to be a part of the discussion. They are leaders not just consumers. They want to laugh and have fun too.
  • Networking is the most important thing. Leave enough space for it. Don’t fill the agenda with too many presentations.

Make sure after a memorable CxO Event experience to integrate your campaign in a follow up plan and align with Sales. Your potential customer and net new customers all go home inspired by new thoughts. Then what? They need to be nurtured and treated the same way you treated them during the event. Make sure your promise stands firm and deliver whatever you promised them (a white paper, a call from a company executive, etc.)