As a marketer, you see opportunities to create campaigns everywhere you go. So when you attend events you probably see beyond the crowd and the cluster of people. What you see are potential customers. Event Marketing is the one way to convert this crowd into leads and then actual paying customers. 

However, like every other marketing strategy, you’ll need a plan. This plan will be your guide in ensuring that you get the maximum ROI at the end of the day. But, you can’t create an event marketing plan without knowing the details of what Event Marketing is and how it works.

That’s why in this post, I’ll be explaining what event marketing is, why it’s important, roles your business can take on and the types of events you can incorporate in your marketing strategy.

What is Event Marketing?

Event

Event Marketing is a type of marketing strategy that involves product, service or brand promotion to a target market or audience in real-time. It could also be a process of organizing a themed event aimed at selling or pitching a brand to a target market in person. 

At some point in your career, you may have attended an event that ended up being a training, workshop, conference or even just a meet and greet. It could be something as simple as a college open day. If you have, that’s what Event Marketing is about. It’s an opportunity to sell your product or service in person.

There are so many products in the market today that potential customers often find themselves constantly trying to blur out all the marketing noise to find what actually works for them. This is why event marketing is a proven strategy that works. Usually, these events could be either physical or virtual. Thereafter they pitch their product/service with details you ordinarily wouldn’t get from a running ad.

Examples of these event marketing events include TensorFlow’s Annual Developers Summit and Oracle’s Code one User Conference.

Since potential customers choose a brand based on careful consideration, the goal of event marketing is to drive maximum engagement by leveraging the real-time interaction. Through this engagement, companies build connections that blossom into relationships and trust.

Why is Event Marketing Important?

I know you’re probably thinking if event marketing is worth the stress. Well, the answer is Yes. Asides from being a networking strategy, event marketing is also a means to exponentially grow your business. It does this by improving the quality of your sales funnel. 

So from the lead attraction to the consumer retention stage, there’s a visible difference in the quality of people passing through your funnel. Below are some of the reasons why Event Marketing is so important;

1.  Event Marketing generates leads

When you talk to people about your brand in an engaging way, they become more interested in whatever you have to offer. It’s like cold calls but this time, people actually pay attention to the details because it’s more interactive. 

Plus, you’ll be meeting your target audience. Which means they already have an interest in what you do. You just have to harness and fuel that interest. At the end of the event, you’ll have leads checking out your website and in turn, they’ll start including your brand as one of the viable options they have.

2. It educates your potential customers

Since selective customers make up your leads, it’s your job to ensure that they come back to you. It is widely known that customers like to make informed decisions before going with the brand that they feel addresses solves their worries. Through event marketing, you can educate prospective customers on how your product or service will avoid a problem or profer a solution to one.

3. Improves brand’s visibility

Visibility is the first step towards becoming a brand. Through participating or attending several events, you have a chance to show what your brand is about to a broader audience. When you form connections through event marketing, you’re not just approaching customers, but other brands as well. It becomes a chance to forge friendships and create a possible partnership in the future. At the end of the day, you’re improving your brand’s visibility in the market.

4. Upsell features to your existing customers

Although emails, ads and posts will help you advertise your new features, your customers want to find out the details of why changing their subscription/membership plan is such a good thing for them. Usually, when a customer sticks to a pricing plan, they are comfortable with the features and service they get from that particular plan. Event marketing increases the chances of convincing them to switch.

Through your presentation and demos, they can see firsthand what they stand to gain from a different plan. Plus, you’re only strengthening the loyalty they have for you as a brand. This is also useful when you need them to try out a new feature. Just be sure to include how this plan or feature will be beneficial to them in the long run.

How Can My Business Fit into Event Marketing?

There are actually a number of roles your business can play in event marketing. So if you’re looking at which path will be more beneficial to you as a business, here are a number of ways you can launch into event marketing; 

Hosting

Events can’t exist without the efforts put into organizing them by hosts. Being a host gives you leverage because all the materials used in the event will carry your brand logo. As a host, you take the major responsibility of seeing that this event ends up being a success. So before deciding to host an event, take some things into consideration like who your target audience is and the type of content they’ll be interested in.

Also, create a budget you’ll use for the event and if it proves to be a little high, you can contact other brands for collaboration. The collaboration will help reduce the cost and also gain more attendees from their own target audience as well. Plan around how you hope to gather and nurture the leads you get from the event.

Finally, forecast a return on investment. As a host, the only way you can adequately measure the success of an event is calculating the return on investment you get from it. So create measurable deliverables. Things you can calculate as a conversion or a profit. It’ll help in subsequent events you’ll host.

Collaborating as a Sponsor

A host can approach you to help sponsor an event they are organizing or you can choose to sponsor from your own end as well. Being a sponsor means that you collaborate with the host by contributing financial aid or materials for the success of the event.

In exchange for your contribution, you’ll get certain privileges like brand visibility and acquiring leads. You’ll also get to network with the host and other brands which is great for business. Connections are important and they’ll come in handy when you might need to host your own event.

A great perk of being a sponsor is that you get the flexibility that doesn’t come with being a host. All you have to do is ensure that your objectives align with what the host is offering. Finally, go through the questions a host will ordinarily ask before planning an event to be able to forecast if your return on investment is worth your resources.

Presenting

Sometimes an opportunity to present usually comes with sponsorship perks. And if they are available slots, it can be highly competitive. However, if you do have an opportunity to make a presentation or speak on a particular topic, it’s a great step you should take. This is because presenting positions your brand as a highly knowledgeable expert in that sector or area. 

The more you engage an audience, the more interest they’ll have in what your brand offers. And since you position as knowledgeable, you’ll be seen as a trusted brand. So you’re getting brand visibility along with potential leads for just speaking at an event.

Attendee

While being an attendant means not actively contributing to an event, it’s a great way to network as a start-up. You’ll get to learn from industry professionals, understand and observe how event marketing works as a sponsor, speaker or host. Asides from the knowledge you’ll gain, you’ll also make connections with other businesses and get an opportunity to make one or two elevator pitches.

Types of Event Marketing

Oracle's Event Marketing
Source: Oracle

As said earlier on, there are two categories of event marketing which is virtual and physical marketing. Virtual in this case means an event happening online. You can host, attend or participate through a device and a stable internet connection.

The other category of event marketing is the physical where you can attend, host or participate in an event physically. Here, you can walk into the venue and have a physical interaction with people.

Now since these categories are simply a holistic view, here are the types of event marketing available; 

1. Webinars

Webinars are online events that usually facilitate product demos that come with presentation and talks. This type of virtual event is excellent for hosts who want to market their brand to a specific target audience. The links to the webinar are advertised to this audience and the event revolves around explaining how the product works and how it can be used to solve a problem or avoid one.

If you’re hosting a webinar, be sure to include a guest speaker so it doesn’t get boring. Also creatively find out what your audience is interested in before beginning the webinar. This will help you with the engagement you get during the event. At the end of the event, you can share your slides to interested participants.

2. Conferences

As an offline event, conferences are more detailed-oriented. They are hosted by companies who already have a customer base and are willing to educate their audience on certain features or areas of service. 

Conferences consist of several speakers who independently cover specific areas of expertise. This is so that when there are technical questions or areas to be discussed, a skilled representative can easily answer those questions. Please ensure that the topics, subjects and presentations address the problems or questions a target audience might have about your brand.

The great part about conferences is that there are many branded materials that are given to attendees. Over time, there’s passive marketing happening with the spread of these branded materials. Interested parties can refer to it if they ever need a product or a service similar to yours. That’s brand visibility you’ll be needing.

3. Trade Fairs

No one can resist a good bargain and trade shows are the best days to get the discounted offers you’ve been hoping for. This is one event that does the marketing itself. Usually, either as an organizer or as a participant, you’re guaranteed of meeting people with an interest in what you offer. 

A trade fair is an opportunity for them to see what your brand entails firsthand thereby generating a ton of leads if they don’t end up buying. However, since a trade fair is a collection of businesses with similar goals, you might want to adequately create a plan that’ll make yours stand out. At the end of the event, let your booth be worth remembering.

4. Seminars

Now seminars are often confused with a conference. Note that a conference is company-specific while a seminar is a smaller variation of that. Think of it as a corporate version of a lecture. Seminars are organized to discuss and enlighten an audience about specific features or areas. How this works is that an expert delivers a lecture to a target audience. This could be either a classroom format or a sales call. At the end of the day, the goal is to enlighten a potential client to make an informed decision about your product or service.

5. Consumer Events

Event Marketing

Usually, as a token of appreciation, brands usually organize a thank you event. Most times, these events are either breakfast, lunch or dinner events. It could be a small intimate event or a large one. During this period, attendees spend time networking with other attendees and the hosts. This drives customer satisfaction and loyalty because they feel valued. Over time, this can amount to referrals and continuous patronage.

6.  Live Stream Events

There are a number of social networks that can help your audience connect to your events in real-time. If you need to manage the number of physical attendees, you can simply limit the number and then stream it live for other interested attendees to participate. Simply deploy this using a webcam or alternative production gadgets and connect to your streaming network. Some examples are Instagram, Google hangouts and Livestream. 

Tip: When organizing an event, always be sure to include a mix of online and offline types to reach a broader set of audience. Remember the more people you reach, the higher leads and the more potential customers you get.