When it comes to marketing spending cuts, events are often the first to feel it - with ultimate budget-holders viewing them as a high-cost and tough-to-measure channel. But while at surface level this might seem like a logical fiscal choice, this fails to take into account the unique, almost anomalistic, value events add to the marketing equation.
Events are an unparalleled opportunity to reach all of your target audience, all in one place. By registering to attend your event delegates have explicitly expressed interest in your brand, content, or product, presenting you with a highly qualified and captive audience.
So when belts start tightening and marketing budgets get slashed, here are five tangible, measurable ways to #defendthespend:
1. Create the Ultimate Connected Brand Experience
Events present a golden opportunity to facilitate a connected, cohesive brand emersion. In an era in which the consumer is hyper-stimulated and distracted by marketers vying for their attention on their phones, computers, tablets and televisions, events are a chance to shut out the noise and create a connected brand experience (Forrester).
Every touch point at your event presents an avenue for brand exposure. Registration pages, event signage, presentation templates, collateral, lighting and the venue can all reflect your brand and help form a connection with your delegates. The more your delegates interact and have a positive association with your brand, the more likely they will be to buy whatever you are selling.
2. Deliver Content to a Captive Audience
Content has a tremendous impact on the purchasing process. In fact, buyers go through about 57% of the purchasing process before even talking to sales (Executiveboard.com). And events are the perfect place to deliver targeted, curated content. Your audience is primed and hungry for relevant content and answers to their questions; 75% of attendees cite events as a valuable source of content (Hubspot and Eventbrite).
A great way to ensure that you are providing the right content is by asking your audience what they would like to learn. This will help strike the right balance between delivering what your audience wants to hear and driving the conversations you want to have. Technology can help you engage in conversation with your delegates before, during and after your event, helping you proactively gauge what content interests them, and reactively understand what content was more or less useful.
Bottom line is: year over year growth in marketing’s contribution to revenue is more than six times higher for those who innovate on content (Kapost), and events are the optimal content delivery channel.
3. The Most Efficient Way to Discover Your Brand Advocates
By facilitating a positive brand experience for your delegates, you are increasing the likelihood that they will not only be inclined to buy into your product or service, but they will also want to tell their friends about it. These individuals are incredibly valuable brand advocates, who can be identified - and nurtured - at your events.
Influencer marketing is one of the most effective means of bringing in new business: 92% of consumers globally say they trust recommendations from people they know above all other forms of advertising (Nielsen). Events are the perfect means to foster and leverage the power of your biggest fans - and influencers.
4. Generate Valuable Business
When approached strategically, events can be your best shot at warming up a cold lead. From registration to post event follow-up, events provide you with multiple opportunities to engage with prospects and move them down the marketing funnel. New leads can be captured on-site in an organic, high-touch way. Lead-scanning event app software can capture delegates’ contact information by simply scanning their badges, streamlining a process that used to involve stacks of business cards and hours of data entry.
According to DemandGen Report, nurtured leads produce, on average, a 20% increase in sales opportunities. With so many touch-points before, during and after, events are the ultimate lead nurture channel. They also give organizers better insight into their customers’ behavior, likes, and dislikes, ensuring they are able to provide them with a more personalized brand experience going forward.
5. The Power of Face-to-Face
By interacting face-to-face with your delegates, you are able to facilitate a human connection that is often lost in other marketing channels. You are putting a face to the brand, and an associative, positive experience with your product or service. According to a report from Meeting Professionals International (MPI), 40% of prospects converted to new customers via face-to-face meetings, and 28% of current business would be lost without face-to-face meetings.
In the age of digital advertising, SEO, and email marketing, events are the final frontier for face-to-face marketing. And with your target audience all in one place, there’s no need to send your sales reps all over to meet with prospects and customers; the business comes to you.
Events may seem like a high-cost, tough to measure channel, but they are actually one of the highest touch, highest value marketing channels out there. They encompass every aspect of marketing, which is all reinforced by the experiential, human element that is often lost in lower touch marketing channels.
To learn more about how to #defendthespend, download the newly released eBook, "Defend the Spend: 5 Reasons to Fight for Event Marketing Dollars."