As a Chief Marketing Officer, Chief Customer Officer and Co-founder, I have an interesting relationship with marketers. I am listening to, marketing to, learning from and assisting marketers on a daily basis.
While wearing each of these different hats, I’ve noticed that many marketers are driven by two concerns: How am I doing and how can I do better?
It’s extremely heartening to see that so many event marketers care so much about their event marketing strategy. I know that the data says as much. The Event Marketing Institute reports that 77% of marketers view experiential marketing as a vital part of their brand’s marketing strategy and a report that Bizzabo conducted revealed that 80% of marketers believe that events are critical to their organization’s success.
But it is something very different to hear this belief straight from marketers themselves.
The thing is that it has become dramatically easier for marketers to assess their performance. Website graders can quickly describe how a website is performing and illustrate how it can be improved. Third-party review sites can describe how marketing technology best serves a certain type of customer. Event software can provide detailed analytics on an event, and some can even compare that performance to previous events.
I’ve already written about why you should be investing in live events and why you should be investing more in live events than you think. In this post, we’ll explore how marketers can assess those investments through clear goal-setting, assessment tools, and other techniques. Along the way, we’ll also review sense-check questions that marketers should be asking themselves.
1. Evaluate your goals
When it comes to assessing your event strategy, the single-most important step is establishing goals. These goals will determine many aspects of your event strategy, including the KPIs that you will measure against, the event technology used to manage your events, the event venue where it all takes place, the promotional strategy that gets the word out, and much more.
Here’s a look at some of the most common event goals:
Increasing Brand Awareness
An event is a powerful force for getting more individuals familiar with your brand. Before, during, and after the event, there are opportunities to create PR, video, social media, and blog content that spreads the word on your event. At the event itself is the opportunity to create lasting impressions for your attendees. One organization that tackles this very well is Brightcove. Both before and after their annual user conference PLAY, they create compelling video content that features thought leaders and event speakers.
Generating Ticket Revenue
Some event marketing campaigns focus on generating ticket revenue in order to offset the costs of achieving other brand goals (increasing brand awareness, accelerating sales, etc.). For other event campaigns, the ticket revenue may be viewed as a source of generating profit. One example of an organization that has focused on and successfully scaled its revenue is Consensus. Arguably the world’s largest cryptocurrency conferences, Consensus saw huge gains in ticket revenue in 2018.
In some cases, the value of an event is not whether it generates ticket revenue, but how it contributes to the sales pipeline further down the line. The face-to-face opportunity for events can make for a great opportunity to develop interest, nurture business opportunities, and close deals. One of the most famous examples of this (at least in the SaaS world) is Dreamforce World Tour. This event roadshow packages the experience of Salesforce’s iconic Dreamforce event and brings it to different regions around the world. This event series satisfies many different goals, including sales acceleration.
Engaging Customers or Community Members
Your customers and community members are the reason you do what you do. Events can provide a meaningful opportunity for showing them that you care. VIP events with free admission and access to places, people or things that they wouldn’t normally have is one way to show them this. But another way is to launch a large community event where the price of admission is a fraction is a fraction of what it would be to make a profit. The SEO software company Moz annually holds MozCon to bring their community together and show them some love. The conference provides value to attendees through networking opportunities, helpful sessions, facetimes with Moz employees, and more.
Often partnerships are formed to make events happen, but these partnerships can have long-lasting benefits for all parties involved. For instance, Growth Marketing Conference builds partnerships with thought leaders to bring impressive speakers to their events. Many of these thought leaders go on to assist Growth Marketing Conference in their promotion for future events through blog posts, webinars, and social media promotion.
Aside from the above-mentioned examples, events can be held to launch a product, recruit new employees, and engage employees – among other examples.
Your event is not restricted to one goal—it’s often the case that multiple goals work together to make an event successful—but what’s important is that you know what your goals are.
Additionally, it’s helpful to know the priority of your goals. In an ideal world, you’d be able to dedicate as much time and personpower to exceeding the specific goals that you set for your event. Of course, resources are not unlimited, you will need to figure out which goals are most important.
Once your goals are established and prioritized, you will be better able to plan the rest of your event. The end result is an event whose various moving pieces work in harmony with one another.
What are your event goals? How would you prioritize them?
In planning other aspects of your event, are you keeping your event goals front-and-center?
What sort of KPIs are you measuring your event goals with?
2. Evaluate your technology
Along with goals, technology forms the backbone of any event marketing strategy. It’s through the technology that a marketer is using that they will be able to manage event registrations, promote an event, surface valuable insights and provide their attendees with a unified brand experience. Fortunately, there are a variety of tools available for evaluating marketing technologies.
One of the first steps in evaluating your event technology is to see how your technology is currently helping you achieve your goals. This can be done manually by comparing your goals, to your KPIs and how your event is helping you achieve them. You can also take an online event technology assessment to walk you through this process.
If you find that your current event technology is adequately assisting you in achieving your needs, then congrats! You can move on to the next section of this piece. However, if you find that there’s some room for improvement then you will likely want to evaluate other solutions on the market.
When evaluating the technologies available to a marketer, third-party reviews can be very helpful. Through them, marketers are able to learn what other marketers from different industries feel about a particular product—its strengths, its weaknesses, and other relevant information. Here’s a look at three noteworthy ones.