David vs Goliath Marketing Strategies – Part 3: Get Quality Face to Face Time With an Events Strategy

Whether you are an insurtech, a brokerage, or any other type of organization within the insurance ecosystem, marketing your business against industry behemoths can appear to be a daunting task. For the past few weeks, I’ve been sharing the blueprint for the grassroots marketing strategy that I used to market an insurtech up against multi-billion dollar competitors. I’ve linked part 1 and part 2 here in case you missed it.

In part 3, we’ll discuss how industry events can create a great competitive edge in your marketing. 

Events Strategy

When it comes to marketing up against much larger competitors, one of the most significant competitive advantages you have is authenticity. Billion dollar companies have to make sure their communications are polished in a way that can feel a bit manufactured, making it harder to feel relatable and create genuine connections. Your advantage in the realm of authenticity is something you need to be taking advantage of both online and in person, which is why industry events need to be a part of your marketing strategy. 

While it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle of major industry events, it’s just as easy to stand out and leave with tons of new prospects and visibility. And you don’t need a big booth or a keynote slot to do so. 

Why utilize industry events in your marketing strategy

Especially for a smaller organization working to build a brand that stands out against industry behemoths, personal touch is paramount. Face-time with prospective clients and partners is incredibly important, especially when you can tell the story of your business directly. Engagements at events are more memorable, and those you connect with in person are more likely to turn into more actively engaged members of your network and subscribers to your marketing communications. 

Many of you reading this are probably adept networkers; it’s a core skill in this industry and you may think that you really know your way around making the most of these opportunities. That’s probably true, but I’m sure there’s some strong networkers at your larger competitors too, and your goal is to stand out at an event. For this reason, it’s important to make a distinction between networking well and networking strategically.

Networking strategically involves planning ahead, and working through the ways you can maximize the impact of every opportunity for exposure at an event. 

Planning your events strategy

Every year at Highwing we would spend much of Q4 researching conferences and events we wanted to have a presence at and track them in a spreadsheet. We would track everything from ticket prices to past attendees to determine which events we would prioritize. Most insurance industry conferences will have past attendees lists upon request, and I can not understate the value of this information. 

Determine the events you will attend based on past attendees; are the companies represented potential clients or partners? This will help you know who your targets are as you prepare for the event, and what your pitch to them looks like. 

Once you select the events you believe will be most impactful, make it a point to book dinner reservations at restaurants around the venue so you can schedule dinner meetings ahead of time outside of the normal networking hours at the conference. While I was at Highwing, we would often host multiple dinners on the same night during conferences to maximize the amount of networking we could do. 

How to have a successful event appearance

Once the event is approaching, here’s my playbook for maximizing the impact of a conference or event:

📣 Announce something beforehand – 📣

Use your marketing channels or submit a press release before the event to create talking points and brand familiarity leading up to the event. This will make networking easier overall and show your company has some momentum behind it. 

🗓️ Set meetings ahead of time, book well in advance –🗓️

As I mentioned, setting dinner or happy hour meetings is a good practice, but you should also look to fill up your days with meetings prior to the evening. Many conferences provide meeting scheduling services, and while they can be good, it’s a good idea to try to schedule as much as possible on your own to ensure the meetings are targeted enough. 

🥅 Go in with a few key goals – 🥅

At Highwing we’d have a short list of companies we wanted to set meeting times with who we didn’t already schedule prior to the event. Have a list, visit their booths if they have them, and visit sessions/ speakers on topics that your targets might find interesting.

✍️ 📹 Create content while you are there – ✍️ 📹

Keep your socials and email list up to date with photos, video, or blog posts. The visibility could lead to new connections looking to meet at the event, and those who are not in attendance will turn to you for updates on the experience they’re missing.

☎️ Post event communications –☎️

Be sure to follow up personally. Business cards often get tossed, so use those airline points for wifi and be the first to send a follow up from the event. Strike while the iron is hot.

If you have the opportunity to chase the event with more content, do so. Another press release is best if you have something to announce. If not, a well written blog or email writeup is a good alternative.

For all of the innovation and digitization happening in insurance, it’s still a relationship centric industry, and events need to be a part of your growth strategy. As you look to build deep relationships and high visibility in the industry, having a very intentional strategy around events will pay dividends. Plan ahead, create some buzz, follow up, and reap the rewards!

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Stay tuned for part four of David and Goliath Marketing Strategies next week, and feel free to drop me a note on Linkedin with any feedback, questions or just to say hi!

About William Alverson

Will Alverson is an independent marketing consultant focused on the insurtech & financial services sectors and a contributing author for EmailGrowthHacks.com. He previously served as the Director of Marketing for Highwing, a former division of IMA Financial Group.

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