There’s a good chance that you’re not investing enough of your marketing budget into live events. And your brand may be missing out on a significant amount of growth because of it.
Let me explain why.
At my company Bizzabo, we recently surveyed over 400 mid-to-senior level marketers about the current state of event marketing and where they see it heading. In the resulting report, Event Marketing 2018: Benchmarks and Trends, we found that the overwhelming majority of marketers (80%) believe that live events are critical to their organization’s success, and that the most successful organizations plan on investing more into live events in the coming years.
I’ve already written about why you should invest in live events on this platform before. In this post, I will outline why you need to be investing more than you think.
Live events are the most effective marketing channel
Between your website, blog, digital ads, print ads and all of the other marketing channels that you may be managing at any given time, it’s understandable that you might not be focusing on your events strategy. But here’s the thing: you really should be.
Most marketers (31%) believe that event marketing is the single most effective channel for marketing. It wins over digital advertising, email marketing, and any other channel.1
After all, it’s one thing to engage with prospects, customers, and partners over the internet, but it’s another thing entirely to interact with them face-to-face. Not only does it provide a unique opportunity for building rapport, it also provides a tailored opportunity to learn about your customers.
This belief carries to the top of the organizational hierarchy. An overwhelming majority of C-Suite executives (87%) believe in the power of live events and plan on investing in them more in the future. The same percentage of C-Suite executives believe that their leadership team is supportive of their live events strategy.
When it comes to your marketing channels, live events may very well be your most valuable asset.
The most successful brands plan on investing more in live events
With the effectiveness of live events in mind, it may come as little surprise that the majority (63%) of event marketers plan on investing more in live events in the future – both in terms of budget and volume of events.
If you are not investing much in live events, chances are your competitors are outspending you. However, it’s more than just a matter of keeping up with your competitors, it’s also about outpacing and outlasting them. In fact, the majority (91%) of overperforming businesses place a greater emphasis on live events as a marketing channel than other under-performing businesses or businesses that are just performing as expected.
Take a look at the world’s most successful brands – Forbes, Salesforce, Airbnb, Apple, Target, HBO – and you’ll see that, aside from incredible success and brand recognition, each of these organizations also invest significantly in live events.
Forbes holds events for CIOs, healthcare professionals and more; Salesforce produces what is arguably the largest user conference in the world; Airbnb organizes events for both guests who use their platform and the hosts that accomodate them; Apple has earned international recognition for its Worldwide Developers Conference; Target is known for its annual employee events; and HBO has effectively employed experiential and event marketing campaigns to promote their most popular programs.
You can see that the most successful brands care about live events, and the majority of them (80%) also plan on investing more into them in the future. Not only is that the case, but they also plan on growing their event marketing budgets by more than the rest ($4,500 more).
If your organization aspires to greatness, at some point you are going to need to invest more in live events.
Leveraging event technology improves event ROI
One of the biggest obstacles to live event campaigns in the past was proving ROI. People purchased a pass, attended an event, interacted with a brand, and then went home. Aside from event revenue generated and any deals closed on the showroom floor, proving event ROI can be a challenge for even the most meticulous of event marketers.
The evolution of modern event technology in the last couple of decades has provided a solution. In fact, Frost and Sullivan report that the event management software industry is valued at $28 billion and is projected to have a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 3.3% moving forward. According to the Event Software Buyer’s Guide, $50 million alone was invested in new modern management software solutions like Bizzabo, Social Tables, and Slido.
This market demand is reflected in the adoption of new event technologies.
- An overwhelming majority of event marketers (86%) believe that technology can have a major positive impact on the success of their events.
- Overperforming companies said that they would increase event technology spend by $4,500 more than event professionals from the performing as expected or underperforming categories.
- Almost 60% of event management software users are able to measure ROI better than those who do not use software.
Event marketing is growing, and it’s the overperforming organizations that are leading the charge in investment. It’s dual investment both in events and event technology that has empowered the most successful organizations to prove the ROI of their event strategy.
While digital marketing will without a doubt remain a valuable channel for communicating with prospects, customers, and partners, event marketing is the new go-to channel for advancing business goals.
Those who invest in live events stand to gain a marked competitive advantage over their competitors, and in doing so, set themselves up for long-term success. Look at any of the leading brands and you will find that they are investing considerably in their live events strategy – and they are most likely also investing in event technology.
Of course, it’s not just a matter of investing, it’s a matter of investing wisely. In pursuing your live events strategy the first step is determining the objective of your events: whether that be lead engagement, customer retention or something entirely different.
From there, secure alignment across your organization, employ the other marketing channels in your arsenal to promote your event, and leverage available technology to get the most out of it.
Otherwise, you are just missing out.