The Goal of Your Event Should Not be Lead Generation: Here's Why

Lauren Taylor on 3/14/17 12:14 PM

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Just as your marketing team leverages different types of content in order to achieve different goals—writing blog posts to grow top-of-funnel leads, for example, and creating case studies to help convert middle-of-the-funnel prospects—you can similarly use different types of events to reach different objectives.

But events typically require more time, money and resources than other marketing channels, and you want to make sure you're extracting the most value from each event you host. While there may be some cases where you can and should host events with the specific goal of fueling top-of-funnel growth, this likely is not the best objective to set for most of the events you're hosting—keep reading to learn why. 

The importance of integrating events into your marketing strategy
As consumers are increasingly turning to their screens, brands are increasingly incorporating events into their marketing strategy. Consumers are inundated with social, mobile, and email ads—which, let’s make clear, are by no means dead. These channels are relatively easy to measure, and organizations continue to use them because data shows that they drive results.

But even though these marketing channels aren’t dead, it’s difficult for organizations to differentiate themselves online, or to create long-lasting impressions on their audience using email marketing or social media campaigns. To really capture the attention of the audience, marketers are increasingly turning to in-person events and experiential marketing.

According to one study, 92% of marketers invest in event marketing, and 46% of those marketers devote 10-25% of their budgets to events. That’s a significant portion of a marketing team’s budget, and most event marketers see success—even if it’s just anecdotal.

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A successful event, however, can more than make up its cost: 23% of those who measure their event’s ROI see a 3:1 return, and 45% see a return of 5:1 or greater. Events, in other words, drive serious business results.

Events are driving business results—so what's the problem? 
A lot of marketers aren’t measuring event ROI, even though they’re spending a significant portion of their budget on events. Even worse, most marketers aren’t even setting a revenue-driven objective as their main goal in hosting events. According to the study cited above, 80% of marketers identified lead generation as the main event objective, and 75% identified an increase in lead generation as the key metric for measuring the success of their events.

By simply focusing on lead generation, organizations are cutting themselves short. While hosting an event can certainly help organizations generate new leads, this (in most cases) should not be their primary objective. Instead, marketers should understand lead generation as an added benefit or indication of success, and should set revenue-driven goals to measure ultimate success.

The benefits of measuring event ROI
The switch from measuring leads to measuring ROI is not an easy one to make in the context of events, however. In fact, one of the reasons marketers might set lead generation as their event marketing objective is that lead generation is one of the only things they know how to measure. Measuring the success of an offline marketing campaign is notoriously difficult.

But with the help of event tech, measuring an event’s ROI is possible, and it’s becoming easier. By making the transition from an event strategy focused primarily on lead generation to one focused on driving revenue and accelerating pipeline, you’ll not only realize the full extent to which events can help your bottom line, but you’ll also develop a better overall marketing strategy.

Think of it this way: if you measure your events the same way you measure your other marketing initiatives, you’ll be able to compare all of your marketing campaigns side-by-side, regardless of whether they’re online or offline. If you know that you’ll see a 2:1 ROI with a social media campaign and a 5:1 ROI with an event, you’ll know how to better allocate your overall marketing budget.

If you’re looking for more information about how you can better measure the success of your events and online marketing initiatives, check out our on-demand webinar, Tracking the Business Metrics that Matter, Both Online and Offline. During the webinar, Event Farm CMO, Alexandra Gibson, and Bizible's VP of Marketing, Dave Rigotti, discuss:

  • How to establish marketing goals based on the business metrics that matter
  • The CMO’s perspective: where and how to allocate your budget
  • How to measure all of your channels the same way & why this leads to better decision-making
  • The role events should play in your overall marketing strategy
  • And much more

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