Learn about creating an event program

Leverage in-person engagement in your event marketing programs to build relationships, generate goodwill, and earn the trust of prospective buyers and customers.

You want your business to stand out from the competition? An event marketing can help you do just that. A solid marketing mix that incorporates event marketing is critical to connecting with as many potential customers as possible. According to a recent study, on average, event marketing constitutes one fifth of the marketing budget, which is a pretty sizable percentage.
Event marketing can include both online events, such as webinars and offline events, such as trade shows. Here, we’re just going to focus on offline events. Offline events require physical attendance where interactions take place in person. They often require more investment than virtual events but offline events allow face-to-face relationship building. Let’s go over just a few of the different types of offline events. A trade show is a gathering of people in a particular industry or profession that typically features numerous companies in one specific market. A business may sponsor or participate in a trade show to highlight a product or simply to network and strengthen its presence in the market. Conferences are often company-specific marketing events that gather attendees for the purpose of delivering information, such as a user summit. These events tend to be large in scale and are held by companies for training or educational purposes. Seminars are smaller meetings, road shows, or even field events. Some seminars are set up similar to a classroom lecture where an expert shares information with the audience in a traditional formal style. Others are styled as road shows or field events where marketers take their company’s message out to the public to employees or to partners.
Events offer a unique opportunity for attendees to interact with solution providers, to get a first-hand sense of a company’s focus, perspective and personality. If most of your company’s marketing and presence is online hosting events enables your company to make those real-world connections. However, one thing is non-negotiable, events must be memorable to make an impact. When done well, events have the power to create a lasting and positive impression of all that your company can deliver. Whether small or large companies usually participate so they can build branding and awareness, generate new names, engage with prospects and existing customers, and educate attendees.
Since offline events can be expensive to host, you’ll want to make sure that you’re thinking about all the details. Here are some strategies from our experts to make sure that your events are able to outperform expectations. Set realistic and targeted goals up front. The best event programs use the initial planning phase to define what, when, and how you’ll measure success for your event. You should plan for ROI from the beginning and continue to measure ROI after the event. Keep in mind the business can and will trickle in after the event, so consider your sales cycle when thinking about how long to monitor for ROI.
You might consider building a model to understand the sensitivities of your event ROI based on various metrics. For instance, if you hold an event that is well attended by the wrong people you will increase your cost without impacting revenue. Your model may show that the percentage of qualified attendees tends to be a high indicator of success. Incorporate a strong theme and be creative. Delivering a cohesive look and feel helps create a seamless brand experience. Hold a brainstorming session with your team to come up with viable ideas and remember to think about all of the potential elements such as booth staffing, uniforms, promotional materials, swag, and other collateral. It’s not enough to just have a presence at an event. You want to create a presence that compels someone to stop not just walk by. Include multiple touches in your promotion. When putting so much time and energy into planning your event, you want to make sure that you do the promoting right. By communicating with your audience early and often before the event, you will likely have a better turnout. Finding the right number of times for email promotions for an event has a lot to do with the type of event you are promoting. For example, if participating in a trade show you might send a series of promotional emails starting at least the month before the event and spaced a week or so apart from one another to allow people to plan accordingly. Target your promotions to reach the right audience. No matter what sort of promotion you’re using, targeting is vital to get the right attendees registered for your event. When targeting, you want to focus on demographics like job title, company, industry, and location. Keep in mind the type of event you’re hosting. And if there might be additional criteria to apply to your target audience. Include social media in your event plans. Being active on social networks before, during, and after your event is crucial for success. Since events are in real-time attendees often use social networks to engage with other participants in a live environment.
Be the first to follow up with attendees and non-attendees alike. Proper event follow up will set you apart from the competition and keep you fresh in the minds of your prospects. Here are a few points to consider when designing your follow up campaigns. List and qualification. The attendee list is a critical aspect of any event. Lists should be created either directly after the show or every night after the exhibit hall closes. Email follow-up. All email follow up should be written before the event takes place. Reading event synopsis session descriptions and blog posts will help you craft the email messaging. Nurturing and scoring. Nurturing and scoring are critical for a comprehensive event lead management strategy. Continue engaging event attendees through nurturing and score new people appropriately after events.
The success of your event should be based on how much ROI your company gains from it. When it comes to measuring ROI, every company is unique in their level of sophistication and what they want to track but here are three different levels of measurements available in Marketo that will give you a start. Track and report on the status of each person invited to your event program. Marketo can report on the number of people who were invited, how many registered, and how many actually attended your event. Marketo can also report on how many were no-shows. Make sure you are measuring these basic metrics if nothing else. Measure how attractive event attendees are to your business. For instance, you might want to look at how many attendees were prospects who are worthy of pipeline development and how many were current prospects, current opportunities, or current customers. Finally measure the impact of your event on opportunities created, pipeline generated, and opportunities closed/won. Remember that the overall goal in creating event programs in Marketo is to track their impact to pipeline. The ultimate event marketing success measurement is pipeline to spend. How much pipeline can be allocated to the event divided by how much you invested in it. Now that you know why offline events are a crucial component of your marketing mix, let’s go create an event program in Marketo. -