Business agree: Perhaps now more than ever, events are important. At the same time, social media and technology improvements have presented challenges to meeting planners.
But the need for education, engagement and networking remains strong.
“Today’s most successful companies leverage events to drive brand awareness, demand generation, pipeline acceleration and customer engagement, allowing their sales and marketing teams to meaningfully impact every stage of the buyer’s journey,” according to a new report on event marketing by Certain and Heinz Marketing.
Key findings from the report:
- ROI remains difficult to measure. Those surveyed said determining revenue generation is challenging. In fact, of the one in four companies that spend 25-50 percent of their marketing budget on hosted events, fewer than 20 percent actually make a direct tie to revenue.
- When it comes to marketing, quality matters – not quantity. Of all channels available to sales and marketing, email was identified as the most used and most effective activity.
- Even if an event is successful, without the right technology, efforts are moot. In the survey, three out of four B2B professionals report their current mix of technology
- and resources is ineffective, resulting in lost data around leads, spend and revenue.
- The lead hand-off to sales is critical to events; however, more than half of B2B professionals report such handoffs are ineffective. When leads are lost or inappropriately assigned to sales, it hinders marketing’s accountability, prevents the sales team’s ability to close deals and affects the likelihood of future events.
The report offers some best practices to make the most of marketing efforts:
- Clearly define measurable goals and objectives. Having clear goals will help professionals plan and position events more thoughtfully, which help shapes the development of content.
- Know what you want to track and how you’ll measure performance. Whether tracking revenue, new opportunities or attendance rates, organizations should have a process in place to accurately measure KPIs.
- Define the ideal attendees. And event will never be successful if an organization is targeting the wrong group. After that’s defined, B2B professionals can develop a thoughtful strategy around how to educate and engage audiences.
Pre-, during and post-event
While most organizations realize marketing starts well before an event, many use multiple channels to promote. But, it’s better to pick a couple channels and do them well. So, determine which channels – i.e. email, Facebook – your members and attendee hopefuls use.
During an event, staff should track data in real time. Use social media to engage attendees and encourage participation in sessions, activities and breakouts. Using event hashtags to to post quotes, lessons, photos and videos from an event helps drive awareness.
Post-event, the report suggests sharing content and highlighting key insights to maintain relationships. At the same time, partnerships and content marketing are among the best-performing post-event tactics.