Sarah Halfpenny Events

Are you spending 36% of your marketing budget on events?


by Sarah Halfpenny

According to the Cvent Global Benchmarking study 2016, 36% of marketing budgets are now spent on meetings and events.

Having spoken at a few events recently, the audience have been surprised when I mention this statistic. Are companies really spending a third of their marcoms budget on meeting their clients, customers and future prospects? Well, yes. And why, well quite simply because an event is a great marketing tactic. They enable a business to communicate a message, position its brand, generate sales and promote its business direct to a select audience.

With clear objectives, careful planning and effective delivery an event can provide a great return on investment. In this blog, I wanted to highlight just a few examples of how an event can contribute to your marketing and communications strategy.

Audience is key] Build YOUR community
Events have their place because they are the only mechanism whereby you can get directly in front of your desired audience. You can choose who to invite, who is important to your business. You can play host, assist with networking and facilitate business connections.

Essentially you are using the live meeting environment to not only connect with others but you are providing a unique environment for your audience to connect with each other. If people value their time with you because they feel a part of something positive, meaningful, exciting or innovative, they will undoubtedly feed into your sales funnel, become loyal members of your community and advocates of your business.

What’s you story?] Produce great content
An event, like no other marketing tactic, also provides an opportunity to create unique pieces of content. Fresh and exclusive content that will help propel your messages beyond the event audience.

For me, event content should not be an afterthought. You need time to articulate the story you want to tell and the information you wish to share during the event. You then need to consider what pieces of content you would like to capture and how that can be incorporated into, and enhance, existing marketing communications.

For example, if your primary focus is on communicating and launching a new product, then you need to leverage every opportunity during the event to capture pieces of unique content which talk favourably about the product and your business. One positive quote or endorsing testimonial from the right delegate can contribute significantly to your PR efforts with immediate effect.

So, whether it’s a video, photo, blog, LinkedIn article, twitter campaign, editorial or report, all the content gathered during your event can be sliced and diced accordingly. What’s more, if scheduled correctly, it can make a significant contribution to your marketing efforts for week and even month to come.

Obtaining data] Gaining intel from your delegates
An event provides additional opportunities to capture data from your delegates and to gain further information about them which is crucial information for any growing business.

Event registration is typically the first touch point whereby you can gather and update contact information and business details from delegates. Whilst this is crucial, the event environment also provides the perfect opportunity to gain further insight into your audience’s lifestyles, behaviours, preferences and views. Through networking with your guests and asking a few questions, this can provide useful information that would not have been gathered otherwise.

Dedicated event apps are also a great way to engage with your audience. Packed full of event information you can easily assess what was of interest. Through tracking entrance into different elements of an event, whether through an app or lead retrieval system, you can also clearly see what topics and speakers drew a crowd. Having this data to analyse can influence business priorities and projects as it will allow you to accurately respond to the trend, needs, wants and interest of your business community.

Post event feedback forms are also a tried and tested way to gain feedback from your delegates. They provide an insight into their time with you and enables you to capture quotes and testimonials which could then be incorporated in key marcoms messages.

In conclusion a meeting and event, in just a few hours, can actively shape and extend your business community. It can produce numerous pieces of new, exclusive and valuable content pieces. Whilst updating important data and gathering information on potential new business connections.

An event like no other marketing tactic can really bring to life your business, its objectives, and its moral fibre.

So, if you have read this and thought that perhaps you need to be doing a bit more event activity, then visit www.sarahhalfpennyevents.com to see how I could support your business objectives.