What B2B Marketers can learn from a Tony Robbins event!


Full Transparency – I have made Tony Robbins one of my 5 key people to spend time with.

Ok, I’ve never actually met the guy… but if you visit my house his voice is often playing in the background. YouTube is streaming Tony talking or sometimes jumping and shouting while I cook, clean, do laundry, etc. Sometimes there’s oldschool hiphop playing instead, but lately it’s mostly been Tony. I work from home about 50% of the time so I sometimes feel a bit too alone.

But this week? This week I got to see him live in Toronto. And yes! He is as impressive as you would absolutely expect; but really it was the event itself that impressed me more. In fact, it made me think of 3 things that B2B Marketers could take away and use for B2B marketing events.

  1. Constant connection with the prospect

There were at least 6 touches from the event before I actually attended. What we in Business to Business (B2B) would traditionally call a “nurture” program was way more comprehensive than I expected. Multi-channel touches made it feel less invasive. If all six of them were emails, it would just seem annoying.

That’s not just my opinion, by the way. We all have the stats in our automation programs to confirm that. But I was surprised to see that the constant touch from an event with Tony Robbins did not feel invasive at all.

The mix that they used:

  • 2 Email messages
  • 1 text message
  • 1 personal phone call (business development rep)
  • 1 voice message drop with Tony Robbins voice
  • 1 direct mail

Oh and what about using a little marketing psychology? Fear? Greed? Nope – They went straight to shame. Yep, that message from Tony plead with me that he wanted to help me personally but I had to actually show up!

  1. Attention to detail

I was impressed by how much they paid attention to even the little things.

Take lanyards, for example. No one wants to wear a lanyard around their neck all day long.

Sure, if you’re exhibiting or you have some type of special status, then yes. A lanyard with your name on it makes sense. But when you’re one of thousands of people in a huge convention hall, then the ease of a simple sticker that you can take off whenever you need is so much more convenient.

And sure, maybe I’m coming from a shallow perspective of being female and not wanting a sharp cornered piece plastic with my name on it knocking at my breasts all day long, but damn – the simple gold sticker that I got in the direct mail envelope for the event was perfect. I completely forgot about it on my blazer. And the colour denoted what I did and did not have access to. When I zipped over to the bar close by to grab a quick glass of wine with a friend, I didn’t even bother taking it off.

So yeah, the details. Really – does anyone want a bag of stuff to walk around with all day? I think us in B2B have got a bit stuck in the past.

  1. The use of Momentum!

Us B2B marketers tend to drag the day out at events.  We try so hard to pack in so much value into one event. Tony Robbins PR crew really knows how to use lunch time! They slice and splice the crowd so that everyone who wants something even slightly off the main track still gets satisfied! But they don’t try to engage the masses with the details.

Let’s be honest, any successful grown-up doesn’t want to sit still for an entire day. Most of us can’t do it without drinking lots of coffee and carb loading on horrible muffins (which we would never eat on a regular day).

Save the best for last. Wow – I’m notorious for stepping in and out of conventions. I need breaks and my limited attention span constantly urges me to RUN!

At a Tony Robbins event though? Momentum was built with good speakers at the beginning, a bit of fluff in the middle, and the most famous speaker at the end. Sure there were lots of “famous” people – but hey 15,000 people all in one room should bring out some stars.

My favourite speaker was Jim Treliving, billed as the star of Dragons’ Den but admired by me for owning very successful franchises; Boston Pizza and Mr.Lube. And why did he specifically catch my attention? Was it the success? The money? The nice socks?

None of the above. It was the little bit of himself that gave to his audience. He won me over completely because he talked about his relationship with his franchise owners and how he was so proud of them and how he really valued the relationships. He mentioned that he felt that he could invite himself over to any of their houses for dinner. But when he said it you could feel that he wasn’t bragging – you could feel that he genuinely valued all of these relationships and he was grateful and proud of the relationships he has fostered. Out of all of the famous people hanging out – I have to say he is the one person I would most want to be invited to a dinner party with!

So to all the B2B marketers out there – let’s step up our game. Next event I run, I will be looking at engagement in a whole new way. And to quote Scarlet O’Hara  “as God is my witness…I’ll never make people wear lanyards again.”