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Leveraging hybrid events to boost B2B marketing success

Multiple trend reports highlight that B2B sales will become increasingly hybrid combining online and offline interactions to meet changing customer behaviours and preferences.1 It’s no surprise that events look set to follow suit. With some sectors or regions being the exception, hybrid events will be the dominating trend for the next 12 months.

11% of B2B marketers surveyed in a recent report said they would be increasing spend on hybrid events in 2024.2 It’s easy to see why they’re making these changes. Adding a digital component to in-person events can improve visibility and reach, helping to generate that much needed industry buzz. Hybrid events also enable B2B marketers to explore different types of content and gather real-time feedback. What works? Which products are most valuable? What have competitors been working on? This can be a real game-changer for time-poor B2B marketers in the aftermath of an event.

More connections, more exposure opportunities that drive innovation

Enabling both in-person and virtual event participation allows B2B food and nutrition brands to significantly widen reach among target audiences worldwide. We all lead busy lives, so enabling remote access helps to promote participation– anybody can attend, wherever they live.

By including experts from across the globe, B2B nutrition marketers have a bigger pool of promising contacts to collaborate with, which can later inform product development. This magnified qualified attendance directly translates to more fruitful networking, idea sharing and new pipeline opportunities for products, campaigns and collaborations.

Hybrid events in practice

It’s clear that the potential of hybrid events is huge. But how do B2B marketers effectively make the jump to hybrid? Here are three of our top tips to ensure show success:

  1. Make the most of innovative technology

AI has an important place in hybrid events, helping to push the boundaries of collaboration even further than with traditional in-person gatherings. Why not incorporate AI-powered recommendation engines, which can suggest relevant networking connections aligned to strategic business goals between sessions and exhibits?

For example, ingredient manufacturers can pinpoint their ideal prospects for supply deals or R&D alignments using virtual matchmaking technology. The system profiles visitor interests and areas of specialisation to enable nutraceutical firms to identify licensing opportunities, contract manufacturers, researchers, co-packers and other potential partners that align with launching a new supplement line.

It also allows easier follow-up beyond the live event, through seamless contact exchanging digitally. Virtual introductions convert promising business prospects into longer-term discussions by continuing branding, negotiating and alignment work even months afterwards.

  1. Create an enriched attendee experience

It’s not one-size-fits-all when it comes to hybrid events; what works for one may not work for another. Know your audience first – are they looking for education, emerging trends or the hottest new ingredients that will inspire the next generation of food and nutrition products? Traditional events that centre around keynote speakers or hand-on learning labs don’t typically translate well into the digital environment. Instead, try using real-time interaction to encourage discussion, alongside pre-made content that can bring presentations alive.

Taking virtual shows one step further, gamification apps are a great way to boost engagement by creating interactive games that test product knowledge based on presentations, while VR booths can be leveraged to provide vivid immersive demos spotlighting ingredients or formulations.

  1. Ensure data-driven insights

It’s much easier to gather the right data with an online presence, too. For example, nutrition companies can incorporate smart sensors tracking attendee flows, dwell times and exhibit interactions to reveal content resonance and pinpoint promising leads for further engagement. There’s also an opportunity to incorporate chatbots, which even facilitate post-event follow-up, driving conversions long after.

With myriad digital engagement, profiling and analytics tools now linking the virtual and physical worlds, technology-empowered hybrid events provide B2B nutrition marketers game-changing opportunities to drive leads, inform R&D and build community.

How to measure the success and ROI of hybrid events

Defining key performance indicators (KPIs) and benchmarking goals is critical to quantify hybrid event success and return on investment (ROI). Useful metrics to track include total registration and attendance figures, lead capture form completion rates, virtual booth traffic patterns, content download numbers, social sharing activity and attendee survey feedback. Comparing these engagement data points between physical and virtual participants identifies which content resonates – and with whom. Tracking post-event marketing qualified leads, deal velocities and revenue impact requires integrating analysis with customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing automation systems but gives the clearest picture of event ROI.

Long term, food and nutrition brands can gauge market penetration lifts in target customer segments or expanded partnerships. With blended physical and digital data inputs, B2B marketers in the nutrition space can continually optimise future hybrid experiences determining which features advance objectives from brand awareness through the buyer journey into direct business growth.

Unmatched opportunities

Hybrid events provide plenty of opportunities to fuel innovation through expanded global networking, heightened data insights and direct partnership building. Embracing hybrid’s fusion of physical and virtual creates an elevated B2B marketing foundation for nutrition brands’ growth ambitions.

Interested in exploring the power of events – either in-person, online or hybrid? Get in touch using the form below.

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