24 Oct An introduction to event marketing
What is event marketing?
Event marketing can encompass a whole host of different types of events – but, in short, event marketing is the promotion of a product or a brand through in-person interactions with your target audience.
Trying to successfully navigate the world of event marketing can be a tricky business, but with the right guidance and a good understanding of your goals you could give your customers an experience they will never forget.
Event marketing can take the form of both physical and digital experiences. Whatever you do, make sure it is well planned out beforehand, to make sure you have a rock solid plan in place to deliver your strategic marketing goals.
Why do event marketing?
Common goals for hosting events include; building stronger relationships with current customers or prospects, or to educate new potential prospects/customers about your business’s products and services, and what you can offer them.
As reported in Event Marketing 2019: Benchmarks and Trends Report, marketeers report that events marketing is the single most effective tool to achieving business goals. With such an impressive tool at every businesses’ fingertips, it is important to get it right when it comes to deciding which events to host and how to run them – especially as they are not cheap to run and can take up a lot of manhours too. Some key factors in the report include:
- The number of companies organising 20+ events per year has increased by 17%
- The most successful businesses are spending 1.7x the average marketing budget on live events
- Business leaders are becoming more supportive of events that can prove an effective ROI strategy
Is event marketing effective?
Marketing is the skill of communicating clearly defined messages to your target market which can include both prospective and existing customers. If events are executed correctly, this provides a live platform for your audience to directly engage with your brand. Think about what you want your customers to think and feel when they interact with your business, and how you can generate those emotions, thoughts and engagements.
Event marketing can also act like a live focus group; think about how your potential customers are engaging with your product or service. Do they like it as much as you think they would? What is the general feedback around the features and benefits you are highlighting? Do you understand the problems your target audience is facing, and do you demonstrate how your business solves these pain points effectively?
Some popular types of event marketing
With so many types of event marketing out there to choose from, it can be a little overwhelming trying to decide what kind of events to host. We have picked some of what we think are the most important types of events for you to consider, and why your business might host them.
Corporate events such as seminars are a great way to educate potential or current customers in an intimate and informative setting. This is often best done when working with warm leads who have already decided they are interested in what you are offering and are committing their time (and possibly money) to find out more. Therefore, it’s important that you deliver real value effectively and make your audience feel like they are learning some genuinely practical, useful information.
Conferences are often large scale events with a number of important speakers supported by breakout workshops. Conferences can be a great way to create a real atmosphere around the topics you are discussing, and provide an inspiring and informational experience that your audience won’t forget in a while. Conferences can be about any topic and can address both B2B and B2C audiences.
- Tradeshows and exhibitions
This is a less formal type of event than the previous two options, as your brand is attending an existing, externally-organised trade show or exhibition, rather than hosting the whole event yourselves. This is a really effective type of event marketing, as not only can you see how a large amount of your target audience are interacting with your product/brand, but you can also scout out competitors and find out how effectively they are engaging with your audience. It is especially important to be organised in these type of events to effectively engage with your audience over the many competitors at the event. It’s sensible to have a plan with your goals clearly laid out in advance, and to record the ROI of your event experience.
- Product launches
Product launches are a great way to get creative and show your potential customers exactly what your product is about, and how your brand portrays itself. It’s also a great way to make your customers feel special, and to create some initial sales that are so important in those first few months. With an event like this, the audience is there for you and no one else, so make it count!
- Experiential events
Experiential events are often creative, engaging pop-up events that give your customers a full experience of your product. With experiential events, it’s important to portray not just your product but your brand look and feel into every aspect of the event – from the food, music, lighting, signage, smells and so on. Experiential events are all about the experience of your audience and really creating a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Events like this are great for influencer marketing; inviting an intimate group of bloggers and vloggers to the event, whilst live streaming and recording it for everyone else is an effective approach.
- Virtual events
Virtual events are perfect for companies that don’t have the resources to put on a full scale event, but still want to create an engaging interaction with their customers. Virtual events can be anything from online webinars to live streaming a huge festival; this is a tactic that can be implemented into all types of events.
Pre-event, during the event, and post-event tips
Hosting an effective marketing event can be a time consuming and costly business; therefore, when it does eventually come to the delivery, you need to make the most of all your efforts by pulling off an amazing event.
Here are some great tips for getting the most audience engagement out of a single event:
- Pre-event tips
In the months leading up to the event, it is important to create an effective marketing strategy. Think about the goals you would like to achieve – is it new sales from existing customers, new customer sign-ups, social media engagement, brand awareness, staff recruitment, and so on? Be clear about what your business wants to achieve before you start organising the event. The goals should be addressed in your pre-event marketing strategy to make sure you are creating the right audience at the event for success.
- During event tips
During the event, you are going to be extremely busy, so it’s a good idea to appoint one person to concentrate on ‘during-event’ marketing. It is sensible to make potential customers that aren’t attending the event feel included. Therefore, setting up live-streaming, live posts and regular social media updates can make your audience feel like they are at the event or at least want to be at the event! During-event marketing can also keep the attendees updated on the schedule of the event and upcoming workshops, talks, offers etc that shouldn’t be missed. Probably the key thing to focus on is capturing the details of everyone who visits your stand – prize draws are a good way of gaining details, but you also need to make sure that quality does not suffer at the hands of quantity.
- Post-event tips
After a tiring event, you will need to draw on those last energy reserves to follow up with customers, attendees and any potential leads generated from the event. Life moves quickly, so it’s important to act within a week or two of the event to extend the hype as long as possible. One of the best things you can do is invest in an event database if one exists, so you can contact everyone who either attended or was due to attend the event.
How to measure the impact of event marketing
As mentioned above, before you start planning any event, figure out your marketing goals and what you want to achieve. Based on your goals, you can work out effective ways to measure the success and ROI of your event.
Simply calculating the % attendance can be a great way to measure the success of your event. Think about how many people were invited/marketed to, and how many people liked the look of your event enough to show up.
How many people gave you their details to receive further information and communications from your business. Did they want to continue to be a part of your journey? Have they engaged since?
- Sales/New customers
How many sales did you make, both at the event and in the following weeks after the event? After-event sales would be a good measure of how effective your brand message was portrayed, and if your audience are spreading your message within their networks. Word of mouth marketing can be one of the most effective in generating sales.
- Social media impressions
Have you got a sudden influx of social media followers/likes or engagements? This gives a great indication of increased brand awareness generated from an event.
Event marketing agency in London
At Abacus, we offer a full event marketing service. We will start with a full consultation to develop a bespoke event marketing plan that is tailormade for your business and then – with our event management partners – we can deliver everything for you from start to finish, if you wish us to do so. If you are looking for an event marketing agency in London, to book your free consultation, please email Stephen Taylor-Brown, our Client Services Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us on 020 3858 7836. You can find out more about who we are and what we do by visiting our website at www.abacusmarketing.co.uk.