Many brands participate in events today as part of their overall marketing strategy. There are two common types of events: In-person and virtual. Businesses can sponsor, host, or participate in events that fall under either category.
In-person events include gatherings such a trade shows, seminars, live demonstrations, sales events, product or service presentations, question and answer sessions, lunch and learns, and more.
Virtual events are hosted online and allow attendees to log in from anywhere with an internet connection. Examples include webinars, virtual conferences, social media contests or campaigns, live streaming sessions, video collaboration, and more.
Companies use event marketing for a variety of reasons, including to accomplish the following:
- Engage with their audience.
- Generate leads .
- Build trust with both consumers and partners.
- Provide training and product education.
- Drive demand for products or services.
- Build brand awareness.
Brands also use event marketing as an opportunity to upsell—that is, to introduce customers to additional products or services they may have not previously considered, ultimately resulting in a bigger sale. Events are conducive to upselling because both online and offline formats are inherently interactive and often open-ended, allowing brands to step outside of their traditional pitches to offer more value to their audience. As a result, attendees who engage with companies at events are better able to connect and align with businesses overarching personality and focus—not just glimpse their distilled marketing messages.
It’s that relationship-building potential that also makes event marketing a critical component to a healthy lead generation strategy. Often, event audiences are tailored around a specific product or industry. Anytime companies can surround themselves and engage with their target audience—whether online or in person—the lead gen potential skyrockets.
According to the 2012 IDC Tech Marketing Benchmarks Study, on average event marketing constitutes 1/5 of a marketer’s budget. There is a good reason why companies invest so much of their marketing budgets in event marketing, leads captured at events convert. According to a Marketing Charts study in August of 2014 event marketing ranks 5thin overall effectiveness. Keep in mind that the cost of a lead captured at an event will most likely be higher than any other lead when you consider shipping costs, sponsorship fees not to mention travel and expense for your staff as well as lost productivity in the office.
Shawn Elledge founder of the Integrated Marketing Association has been producing Integrated Marketing Summit’s all over the U.S. since 2009 with one international event in London 2012. Shawn is more than glad to provide some one on one advice if you need help with your event strategy. Meanwhile, you might want to check out Martec Showcase for event management software solutions.