What moments in our lives do we remember most vividly?
It's the ones that engage more than one of our senses, ones where we participate, that we are part of, not just observing from afar.
This is why marketing that creates an experience is so effective. We remember because we were engaged, we were a part of the experience.
One of the pillars of account based marketing is to create opportunities for your accounts to engage with you in meaningful ways, such as networking/idea exchange dinners, special event experiences, focused conferences or workshops.
Why? It's not merely to create a sense of reciprocity-- the reason is that we remember, regardless of the relevance. Who recalls the last email you got from a vendor unless it happened to be highly correlated with something you needed at the time? But, do you recall the time when a vendor took you to a really fantastic restaurant to have meaningful conversations with them and your peers? Of course you do. You may not remember what you talked about, but you probably remember the place, that you had a nice meal, the sense of camaraderie, and I also bet you remember who that vendor was.
The point is that marketing that creates strong positive personal experiences also creates lasting memories.
Company user conferences, if you have the resources and customer base that is willing to participate, is a great way to build such attachment, and a great platform to build these memories. Company conferences are great is that unlike a trade show you aren't competing for attention with anyone else, they are there to interact with you and you alone.
Some years back at a customer user conference, I booked Dana Bowman as a speaker. Dana is a former US Army Golden Knights parachute team jumper and is a double-amputee as the result of a horrifying accident during a performance. Rather than being defined or confined by his physical challenges, he's overcome and embraced it in a new career as a speaker, and yes, as a double amputee parachute jumper.
There was also of course a tie-in with the company, in the form of some shiny metal prosthetic covers (he calls them his "Iron Man" legs. But the real highlight was Dana parachuting out of a helicopter and landing on a patch of grass towing a huge American flag as a prelude to his session.
It was something that everyone talked about for the rest of the conference, and no doubt went home and talked about too. Yes, you can watch the ridelaong footage (which is pretty cool), but there's no substitute for actually being part of the whole experience.
How can you engage your audience in an experience that they'll remember...and remember you in the process?