Once upon a time, event marketing referred to the process of creating a promotion plan for an event to drive attendance. Not anymore! Technically, yes, promotion is still a function of event marketing, but there’s so much more to it than that. Event marketing is part of the marketing stack and events are a tool to drive organizational marketing efforts.
Event marketing doesn’t just mean event promotion.
What is Event Marketing?
Event marketing refers to the process of using events as a tool in the marketing mix. Events shouldn’t be thought of as a stand-alone tactic, but rather as an integral addition to your marketing program that can be used to drive business goals. This involves a shift in thinking. Event marketing is a more data-driven strategy to ensure return on investment. Events have an individual impact, but they are part of a larger program. An events program is made up of the events your organization hosts and attends.
Making the Most of Your Events
Take a step back and think about marketing strategy without events. The job of marketing is to raise awareness and identify prospects. Those prospects then go to sales. When marketers have a great machine in place, one that accurately scores potential leads, sales has an easier job. They have prospects that are at the right stage of the buying cycle. When it comes to identifying interest, there are two important paths to be aware of. One is the buyer’s journey or the basic path any buyer takes to eventually buy something. The stages are awareness, consideration, evaluation, and purchase. The other path is the customer journey. Stages of the customer journey are purchase, adoption, advocacy, and expansion. Marketers want every lead, every prospect, to go through the buyer’s and customer’s journeys. Great marketers can identify where leads fall along that journey. This is where events come in. Live events provide a touchpoint – one rife with data. Events are an essential tool for moving prospects through the marketing funnel and get them ready to purchase. Additionally, events are the perfect tool to gauge interest through data that can be easily gathered on site. Event marketing strategy is about planning impactful events that allow marketers to capture attendee data and then activate that data.
Building a Cohesive Events Program
While your old events program may have been more piecemeal, to establish an event marketing plan that works, you’ll need to evaluate where you stand. Start by creating a list of all of the events your company hosts and attends. Then, identify key business goals and align those goals with the events you attend or host. The success of your events depends on whether or not they help to meet marketing or business goals. Events serve many purposes. From gathering leads to establishing where a prospect is in the buyer’s journey, events are a big driver for sales. They also help promote a brand and share information. If the events in your current program don’t have a clear purpose, then they don’t belong.
Collecting and Activating Data from You Events
Data plays a large role in event marketing. To build out attendee profiles and measure success, you’ll need to determine what data to collect. This is where event technology comes into play. From event mobile apps to registration to RFID tracking, you can track engagement, sessions attended, and more. Identify event goals early. Once you do, you can determine what data you need to track before, during, and after the event. Event data should integrate with sales and marketing systems, so all of your attendee information lives in one place. These integrations allow you to deliver leads to sales and push them through the sales pipeline quickly and effectively after the event.
Calculating ROI and Proving Event Success
Part of your event marketing strategy involves proving the impact of your event and tying your events to business goals. You need to determine how much your events are worth and create a formula to determine their effectiveness. Not all events use the same ROI formula. It depends on the purpose of the event. For events you attend, such as trade shows, the purpose is often to gather leads. The success of those events is linked to the quantity and quality of leads gathered. For events you host, it can come down to the brand or the value of the attendee experience. Each event in your events program has a purpose. Determining the success of each event will allow you to calculate the overall success of your events program.
Get Your Event Marketing Strategy Started
Enacting a successful event marketing strategy takes time and focus. The most important thing to remember? Your events are tied together and should create a cohesive events program that is driven by data. For more, read Event Marketing Strategy for Dummies.