I think we have all been here: You are sitting in a marketing budget meeting surrounded by colleagues from demand gen, email marketing, digital marketing and social media. Each person goes around the table and uses their extensive data from the past year to indicate why they need more budget in the upcoming year.
And then, it's your turn. As the event professional, you usually have less data, but the pressure is on to prove your ROI and secure funding. You may even need a budget increase to fulfill your goals for the year. So how can you compete with the other highly measurable marketing departments in the room?
Even though you may not know the return on every dollar you spent, you have more data at your disposal than ever before. And if you can show your CMO that events are key to business growth, there's no way she will turn you down.
Here are 5 ways to help you defend your spend:
- Events are your best branding opportunity: Technology moves fast and competitors pop up like wildfire, making your branding more important than ever. The more positive touchpoints prospects have with your brand — it takes at least 7 to 13+ to deliver a quality sales lead — the more likely they'll choose you.
- You can deliver content to a captive audience: Yes, your content marketing manager has data on downloads and clicks on his content. But you know exactly who registered for sessions, which sessions they actually attended, and who they interacted with at your events. Brokering connections and bridging the physical and digital worlds is powerful stuff. And your content team can use that intel to guide content decisions once the event is complete.
- Events are the ideal place to find brand advocates: Influencer marketing continues to be one most effective means of bringing in new business. According to Nielsen's Global Trust in Advertising Report, 92 percent of consumers globally say they trust recommendations from people they know above all other forms of advertising. Your events are the ideal place to find and connect with people you think would be great brand advocates. It's similar to lead scoring. If someone is willing to travel to your event, that's a positive sign. If they are willing to speak face to face, that's even better. You can then pitch them on your brand advocacy program in person.
- Face-to-face interactions at events are priceless: 40 percent of prospects convert to new customers via in person meetings. No matter how much collaboration and telepresence technology has created, live interactions will always be a big part of closing deals. There's no better place for that than the friendly confines of your own events.
- Events can be profitable: Events are the ultimate lead nurturing channel. It's your opportunity to put your prospects in a friendly, on-message environment where they can talk to customers, meet employees and get excited about your company's products. And don't forget, you can generate revenue from your event in a variety of ways. Tickets is one way, but companies like Gainsight generate real revenue at their Pulse conference from sponsorships, booth sales and even digital presence within their DoubleDutch app.
We know from doing our own events, it can take time to show the value. A key first step is to be sure you're set up to track campaigns using tools like salesforce.com to report on leads and conversions. There is no denying the power of face to face and what it can add to your pipeline and eventually convert.
Want to learn more about how to use these five tips to defend your spend? Download our ebook, “Defend the Spend: 5 Reasons To Fight for Event Marketing Dollars."