Inner Circle

Digital Marketing  

Attract New Event Attendees With Digital Media

by Joe Mathieu


How should you be thinking beyond the traditional in order to identify and reach colder audiences who are unfamiliar with your brand? Consider using high-impact mediums once reserved only for consumer brands such as podcast channels, electronic billboards and streaming services.  

To see the value in this new approach, event marketers must rethink their tendency to speak to businesspeople only during work hours via so-called professional channels.

When evaluating your digital media targeting mix going into 2023, consider the following: 

  • Nontraditional B2B channels. Channels such as TikTok and Spotify — while not considered B2B platforms — can provide the volume of impressions necessary to drive brand recognition and are more cost-effective than traditional advertising. 
  • Digital out-of-home advertising (DOOH). The advent of DOOH combines the targeting and efficiency of digital media with the visibility of traditional out-of-home placements like bus stops, grocery stores and overlooking crowded business districts. 
  • Connected TV (aka CTV, streaming TV or STV). Services like Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and Paramount+ reach tens, and in some cases, hundreds of millions of subscribers. The two top companies in the field, Disney and Netflix, will be introducing ad-supported tiers in the coming months. CTV can deliver high-impact impressions for a fraction of the cost of television ads. 

Historically, B2C brands leveraged high-visibility impressions on television, billboards and popular websites to gain brand awareness. B2B companies, however, stayed away because of the costs, inflexibility and lack of targeting options (read: wasted impressions equal wasted money).  

Today, with opportunities such as CTV, digital billboards and the popularity of video on social networks, high-value impressions are no longer too costly for folks in the B2B space. Add to that the availability of B2B data relationships within these platforms and future event attendees become discoverable regardless of where they may be spending time online or offline.  

Event marketers interested in seeing if these digital channels would fit into their mix should consider: 

  • The total addressable market of an event. Events that serve tech professionals, content creators, manufacturers, retailers, restaurateurs and other broad industries will likely have audiences much larger than events that serve very narrow, specialized niches. These channels might not be cost-effective for a smaller audience.  
  • The marketing budget. As with any digital channel, it is imperative to commit to a digital spend significant enough to make an impact based on audience size and attendance goals. Keep in mind that any budget invested in generating event awareness will take longer to pay off than other digital media strategies. 
  • The capabilities of your digital marketing team. If these options feel overwhelming, consider working with an agency to get started. 

By incorporating time-tested brand-awareness strategies — utilizing the breadth of new and emerging mediums popping up almost daily — combined with effective digital targeting options, you can breathe new life into your event marketing plan and begin to build a pipeline into new, untapped audiences. 

A version of this article originally appeared in PCMA Convene.