How to Transform Events into Media Brands

How to Transform Events into Media Brands


Events are one of the most powerful levers within the owned media playbook.

There’s nothing quite like getting your audience together — whether in person or online. By focusing on creating an experience for your audience that educates, entertains, and connects, there’s immense brand value created for the company in the market who is playing the role of convener.

But ask any marketer who’s done it before — planning events is hard.

We spend months (sometimes years) organizing an event that may be over in a matter of hours. Finding venues, aligning vendors, hiring speakers, driving registrations, selling sponsorships, F&B, AV, T&E, and other acronyms that I’ve since blacked out. You also risk millions of dollars of financial commitments to vendors ahead of selling one ticket or sponsorship.

No pressure.

When the last session ends, and the last truck leaves the loading dock, it’s all over. Cue twelve hours of sleep that night in a feeble attempt at physical recovery.

However an underappreciated point for most marketing teams is that an event is a cataclysmic moment where content and community meet. Think about how much content is produced or captured at events — session footage featuring the voices of your audience, behind-the-scenes content, podcasts filmed on the show floor, customer testimonials, and so many others.

I had the opportunity to interview Julius Solaris, event industry luminary and founder of BoldPush, on this very topic a few months ago.

Many SaaS marketers are starting to wake up to the idea that event brands represent incredible opportunities to pivot their traditional revenue marketing motions towards owned media. While some of the more traditional demand tactics are still fully deployed — think paid media, SEO, etc. — event brands represent the spirit of owned media and give demand marketers an opportunity to extend ROI long after the last attendee leaves the convention center.

Let’s look at a few examples.


Gainsight Launches Pulse Library for 365-Day Customer Success Best Practices

While this one is a bit close to home, earlier this summer Gainsight launched Pulse Library — a media property that showcases the last two years of content from Pulse, the industry conference of record for customer success professionals. The company will soon include over 10 years of footage from Pulse conferences around the globe, all available for free.

Thought leadership has long been a strength of Gainsight, who is widely recognized as the champion of the customer success audience.

Gainsight has created over a decade of content and events to build equity in the Pulse brand of programs, and now with Library, are extending that equity into a media brand that continues to build audiences across their expanding portfolio of personas, engage those audiences with original content and exclusive experiences, and ultimately monetize that engagement into durable revenue.


SupportLogic Launches SX Live Library with Exclusive Content Only for Subscribers

SupportLogic is hot off the heels of their SX Live virtual conference for customer support professionals. Last week they announced SX Live Library, a media platform that features content from the live event — most of which are free, but including some high-value keynotes available as exclusive content just for subscribers.

What the SupportLogic team has done here is quite impressive — running the traditional “event recap” play with session content, but also producing subscriber-only content that builds audience loyalty and entices consumption. With targeted distribution, SX Live gives SupportLogic the ability to leverage their thought leadership to build, engage, and monetize their audience.

Like Gainsight, SX Live Library represents only the beginning of SupportLogic’s owned media journey — but with a running start leveraging the equity they’ve created with their event brand.


Key Considerations

If your marketing team operates an event brand that you’re considering evolving into a media brand, here are some things to consider:

Brand Architecture. You’ll first need to have the discussion on whether your new media brand should carry the identity of your event brand, or get closer aligned to your master (company) brand. There is no right answer here, but chances are if you’re reading this post in particular, you may be biased towards carrying the thought leadership equity from your event brand over.

Public vs. Exclusive Content. Remember the name of the game in owned media is building an audience of subscribers — and there’s no better way to do that than by promoting exclusive content or experiences. Giving away all of your session content for free creates a missed opportunity to build subscribers to your newly formed media brand.

Committing to Net New Content. Media platforms are active spaces, not static repositories. If you’re going to make this transition, commit to producing net new content to keep your audience engaged between major event milestones across the calendar. Rethinking your content program through the lens of owned media might include repurposing a lot of your existing effort — editorial articles, webinar recordings, etc., as content available to subscribers on your media platform. I promise it’s not as expensive as you might think.

Measure Impact on Outcomes. Remember that the benefit of evolving an event brand into a media brand is more than just extending the ROI of events. You’ll also be able to access rich first-party engagement data on how your audience is interacting with your content — and beyond that — how all of that engagement is actually translating into pipeline. You’ll find that a demand generation engine with owned media at its center will lead to more efficient programs, and ultimately, more sustainable pipeline generation.

As customers have more choice than ever before on who they do business with, it’s never been a more important time for marketing teams to build a thought leadership position within their markets.

Evolving event brands into media brands are a great way to extend the value of what’s already working, and prove an owned media hypothesis that shapes the future of how revenue marketing teams can impact their business.

BTW, if you’re interested in launching a media platform for your business like Gainsight and SupportLogic, join the AudiencePlus waitlist here.


Anthony Kennada | About the Author

Founder and CEO, AudiencePlus

Prior to founding AudiencePlus, Anthony served as the CMO of incredible companies like Hopin and Front. He was the founding CMO of Gainsight where he and his team are credited with creating the Customer Success category -- a novel business imperative, profession and software category that helps subscription companies grow sustainably by becoming customer obsessed. By focusing on human first community building, content marketing, live events and creative activations, they developed a new playbook for B2B marketing that built the Gainsight brand and fueled the company’s growth from $0 to $100M+ ARR, and eventual acquisition by Vista Equity at a $1.1B valuation. You can follow him here.


How to Transform Events into Media Brands

Many SaaS marketers are starting to wake up to the idea that event brands represent incredible opportunities to pivot their traditional revenue marketing motions towards owned media.

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