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How To Guide - Fundamentals of Event Marketing

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  • 1. How-To Guide© 2013 Demand Metric Research Corporation. All Rights Reserved.Fundamentals of Event MarketingExecutive SummaryAccording to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), there are 14,451 tradeshowevents held annually in Canada, Mexico and the United States. Tradeshows are just one ofa variety of event types that organizations are using to promote their brand and generateleads. Events have strong appeal for many organizations because they facilitate face-to-face interaction with large groups of customers and prospects.This How-To Guide is designed to provide practical advice for executing an eventmarketing strategy. This guide outlines use cases for event marketing, event marketingbest practices, the keys to a successful event, and a detailed action plan to begin yourevent marketing initiative. It is intended for use prior to and in conjunction with ourExecuting an Event Marketing Plan How-To Guide.What is Event Marketing?From a marketing perspective, an event is simply an activity designed to bring a specificgroup of people together at some venue at a specific time and for a specific purpose.Here are some other definitions of event marketing:“The activity of designing or developing a themed activity, occasion, display, or exhibit(such as a sporting event, music festival, fair, or concert) to promote a product, cause, ororganization.” - BusinessDictionary.com
  • 2. How-To Guide© 2013 Demand Metric Research Corporation. All Rights Reserved.“Event marketing is the effort to spread recognition of an entity by association with asocial event. Constant competition for the public’s attention rages in print and broadcastmedia. Event marketing moves that competition to the experiential arena and hopes toengage the participant more fully and make memories more lasting. An experience that isfun, participatory, and readily available may translate into the desired action by the eventattendee, making the effort cost-effective.” – WiseGEEK.comThe fundamental events marketing premise is to offer something of value to attendees,often education or entertainment, that draws them to the event. This gathering ofattendees, who are typically customers or prospects, is then exploited for marketingpurposes.What Constitutes an Event?Events come in a wide variety of forms, including but not limited to the following types: Trade Shows  Conference Exhibits Webinars  Virtual Events Ribbon Cuttings (e.g. new office)  Press Conferences Focus Groups  Training & Education Sessions Customer Socials or Reception  Product Demonstrations Sponsored Sporting Events  Business dinners Shareholder meetings  Product Launches
  • 3. How-To Guide© 2013 Demand Metric Research Corporation. All Rights Reserved.Value of Event MarketingEvent marketing is an excellent strategy for many companies because: Events concentrate groups of customers that represent a company’s target market inone place and at one time. They facilitate face-to-face interaction with customers and prospects, which is usuallythe most prized form of interaction. Because of the face-to-face interaction (or real-time interaction in the case of virtualor online events), they create a stronger impression than other forms of promotion.This impression is ideally favorable, but poor execution at an event can damage therelationships or create negative impressions. The quality of interaction at events can accelerate the sales cycle. As the diagrambelow illustrates, different types of events are effective throughout the sales cycle:
  • 4. How-To Guide© 2013 Demand Metric Research Corporation. All Rights Reserved.Event Marketing SpectrumFor some companies, events are the primary marketing strategy. For others, events are justone of many tactics used to accomplish sales and marketing goals. Your company’s levelof commitment to events will vary depending on the forces driving your marketingstrategy. Using the chart below, determine if events are a strategic part of your marketingmix or if they are more tactical in nature:Events as a “Tactic” Events as a “Strategy”Infrequent events, as needed.Frequent events needed to hitrevenue targets.Complementary to mission. Critical to success of mission.Ad hoc team, minimal resources. Dedicated team and resources.Viewed as a cost center.Viewed as critical investment withclear ROI.Decide which side your organization falls on this event marketing spectrum by selectingthe characteristic below that best describes your disposition: Low - You use events infrequently, but you still need to do them well. Med - You use events periodically, and want to get more out of them. High - Events are a strategic part of your marketing plan, and want to show ROI.
  • 5. How-To Guide© 2013 Demand Metric Research Corporation. All Rights Reserved.Note: Even if events aren’t a strategic part of your marketing mix, you must be sure to dothem well or risk damage to your firm’s reputation.Key Success Factors for EventsReview the key success factors below and consider the reasoning provided.Key Success Factor ReasoningClear objectives for each eventIf you are unsure of objectives, how can youshow results?Meticulous planningEvents can be stressful if they are not carefullyplanned.Flawless executionYou can’t afford to have an event turn into adisaster.Solid promotionEvents are only successful if you have enoughattendees.Measurement of resultsYou need to know which events provide themost ROI.
  • 6. How-To Guide© 2013 Demand Metric Research Corporation. All Rights Reserved.Action Plan: How to Get Started1. Review our Executing an Event Marketing Plan How-To Guide – to understand theall the steps in the event planning process. The first step in this planning process isto set objectives for your event marketing initiative. For many companies, theobjective is lead generation. Whatever it is for your organization, have clearobjectives and build your event marketing strategy around them.2. Identify where you fit on the Event Marketing Spectrum. Whether events areinfrequent and tactical for your organization, or frequent and strategic, understandthis and prepare to invest appropriately.3. Download our Event Marketing Plan Methodology to create & manage your eventmarketing strategy. Make sure that your planning accounts for each of the keysuccess factors identified in this document.4. Prepare your company. – As prescribed in the Event Marketing Plan Methodology,establish a budget for your event marketing plan. Even more important, put a set ofmeasurements in place to track the results your event marketing efforts produce.Bottom LineEvent marketing can accomplish many key objectives: lead generation, sales cycleacceleration and overall brand perception enhancement. Does it make sense for yourbusiness to use events as a marketing strategy? To answer this question intelligently, firstconsider your objective for participating in or hosting them. Reasonable objectives includelead generation, brand awareness, thought leadership, partner recruiting, media exposure
  • 7. How-To Guide© 2013 Demand Metric Research Corporation. All Rights Reserved.or something else. Set an objective before you do anything else, because you’ll optimizeyour presence at an event around this objective. Your planning and preparedness willdetermine the extent to which event marketing will produce the desired outcome.Assessing your organization’s current commitment to event marketing and creating adetailed event marketing plan will help you get a return on your investment in events.