Events in Asia: 3 Reasons Why They are Irreplaceable

August 12, 2017

Sophisticated Marketer's Guide to Events

In today’s digital world, much of the B2B buying journey is conducted online — but not all. A 2016 Asia Pacific study by HubSpot found that when buyers are looking to learn more about a product or service, 70% turn to search engines, compared to just 29% who would reach out to a sales representative. But this behaviour gets flipped around once they’re ready to buy — connecting with sales becomes their number one choice.

Events are great for facilitating this connection, but also to accelerate the journey. This is particularly true in Asia, where cultural subtleties can have a major bearing on business dealings. 

1. Relationships matter

Yes, relationships matter everywhere but perhaps more so in many parts of Asia. Long-term business relationships are built on trust, and trust is best nurtured in person. When you invite your target buyer to an event, it’s often to demonstrate your thought leadership in a particular field or showcase a new product in an experiential manner. But events are also an opportunity to spend time with your target audience — which brings me to my next point…

2. Words aren’t everything

Body language can be an important source of information, particularly when your target buyers are used to the high-context cultures of Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, for example. Communication tends to be more indirect in these cultures. Many things are left unsaid, so deciphering the meaning or implications of a sentence often requires reading body language and facial expressions, which face-to-face events allow.

3. Decision-making = consensus-building

In collectivist Asian cultures like Korea and Japan, decision making can be a (long) process of building consensus from the ground up. There’s even a term for it in Japanese — nemawashi, where key decision-makers are persuaded, often individually and in private, to avoid public displays of disagreement. When dealing with buyers from such cultures, events are the perfect one-on-one opportunity to start engaging and persuading.  

While events are an effective marketing tactic in Asia, they are not without risk. Given all the manpower and financial resources that go into organising events, getting them wrong is a costly mistake we would all rather avoid. To help you along, we’ve developed The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to Events: Asia — a step-by-step guide to creating impactful events, complete with templates and resources. Download your copy today!