When the Queen of England steps out of Buckingham Palace and takes a spin around London, people feel a unique and memorable connection watching her drive by. Although they are not in physical contact, just seeing her live is a once in a lifetime event that creates a lasting impression.
Companies can create this same kind of connection by getting up close and personal with their prospects and customers. As our world becomes more digitized and isolated, live events become an essential method of strengthening brands and bringing people together.
Meticulously planned, highly creative, and live, an event can be held online or off depending on the product. However, there is no substitute for a live, in-person venue where customers can meet your representatives and experience your products or services.
80% of businesses that are over performing regarding their company goals will increase their live event budgets next year.Bizzabo, 2017
Here are some ways events can strengthen your brand and drive more sales.
Broaden Your Definition of an “Event”
Sometimes, we tend to think of events in a narrow scope such as a store grand opening with lots of balloons and costumed actors handing out coupons. But events are so much more, limited only by imagination. Think Superbowl halftime show. When brand activation companies engaged in these activities, the concept is to generate touchpoints with real people; and that is actually available every day everywhere.
The first step in planning for an event begins with the reason to have one such as:
- New Product Launch
- New Brand Launch
- IPO (Initial Public Offering)
- Company Merger
- Expansion to New Country
- Charity Event
- Holiday or Anniversary
There can be any number of ideas to create a good reason to hold an event. And, once you have an idea, it’s time to think about where it will take place.
Event Venues for eCommerce and Their Benefits
An “Event” is a broad term. Like a convention hall, it’s just an empty shell until it fills with displays and excitement. Just as the inside of a convention hall can adapt to each venue, there are infinite ways to make any event memorable. Depending on your budget and product, there are two main venues, online and offline.
Online Events Cast a Wide Net
While online events are virtual, they are still live and should produce plenty of buzz. You have the potential to reach a global audience and far higher numbers than an in-person event.
Some online events include:
- Exclusive customer sales
- Flash sales
- Online giveaways
- Contests & Awards
- Conferences and conventions
Offline events can crossover by live streaming and giving social updates during the event. The immediate benefits from these types of event marketing company activations are instant sales, lead generation, and gathering customer testimonials or reviews. It’s the best time to ask for testimonials while a customer is excited about their purchase.
However, most event marketing companies agree that the real benefits come after the event. The data collected feeds follow-up marketing programs throughout the year. According to the Eventforte, a hospitality consulting company, 87% of attendees report purchasing a brand’s products or services after the show or event.
Personal interaction is critical to building relationships, and it’s something you can’t replicate virtually.
Offline events are vital to online business brand promotion, trade shows being the number one venue. Trade shows, conferences, and seminars represent the most enterprise live venues. Others include corporate events, brand ambassador street teams, national tours, and pop-up shops.
79% of US marketers generate sales using event marketing.Statista
Sponsoring any in-person event can give your company an advantage over your competitors. Trade shows, conferences, or seminars give your brand instant credibility as an authority. Sponsorship spending is growing each year with over $62.8 billion spent in 2017, $2.1 billion more than 2016.
Directly participating and exhibiting in industry trade shows provides valuable exposure and networking opportunities that are unavailable through online events. The advantages of in-person events include:
- Allows participants to interact with or sample the brand’s products
- Immediate sales
- Unique networking opportunities
- Become an authority or thought leader through keynote speaking or sponsorship
- Gather immediate customer data and personal input unavailable through online surveys
A survey of marketers revealed that 65% stated tradeshows and events are the second most effective marketing tactic after the company’s website. It’s essential to engage and track your attendees to follow up.
Personalization and Tracking Your Attendees Pays Off
While most marketers know how to promote and create a memorable event, they sometimes drop the ball when it comes to gathering valuable metrics. Personalizing the experience increases engagement and conversions. Tracking your attendees while they attend the venue can help accelerate sales.
Personalization and tracking require a marketing automation system that syncs with your CRM. Once it’s in place, you can track your attendee from when they download the event schedule until the event ends. You can stay in constant communication as they interact with different areas of the show. Afterward, the sales team will receive the prospect’s data and can follow up depending upon interest level. By syncing customer data to the CRM, it helps the sales team qualify the leads and accelerates the buyer’s journey.
Personalizing the attendee experience include:
- Customized registration paths
- Smart badges or mobile tracking app
- Sending push notifications
- Attendee-driven events
The key to benefiting from personalization is to capture and use all the customer data collected.
Top 6 Benefits to Event Marketing
No matter what level of participation a brand chooses, live events are worth the investment provided you have adequate planning and data capture systems in place. Beautiful branding design services also help by adding that special flair to the presentation, but again, data is also very important. But, gathering data is just the beginning. Using all of it, in the shortest time possible, is when a company will see the most significant benefit.
75% of companies with event budgets between $50-100 million say they expect an ROI of more than 5:1 for the live event and experiential programs.EMI & Mosaic
When appropriately promoted, events see a quick ROI and long-term benefits of customer loyalty. Modern software integrations enable event organizers to track ROI based on contact databases and revenue tracking tools.
Not all companies use the same metrics. Some use the number of leads, the number of sales, brand exposure, or upsell and cross-sell opportunities created. Regardless of how your company measures ROI for an event, there are six primary benefits to holding or attending a live event.
- Networking – Building personal relationships, especially B2B. Create “real world,” face-to-face connections to your business and brand.
- Increases loyalty – Excellent brand exposure opportunities. Give attendees detailed information and promotions they won’t get elsewhere. Events create a touchpoint for online customers.
- Establishes your brand as a leader – Become a sponsor or keynote speaker.
- Attendees become brand ambassadors – Nurturing attendees after the show helps solidify your brand with them.
- Immediate Spike in Sales and Orders – Offer show discounts and year-long promotions if they purchase at the show.
- Leverage the event for social marketing – By promoting the event on social media and following up afterward, retailers can tap into new markets or sources.
Modern event tech makes it easier for companies to experience brand growth and sales for many months.
One-Stop Event Marketing
Need help planning, executing, and leveraging your data for an event? Reach out to an event marketing company, experienced in organizing events for a wide range of brands, products, and verticals. Whether regional or national, you will get turnkey support from venue selection to marketing collateral. The teams provide reporting and measurable ROI. This will allow you to put on the most memorable event your customers have ever experienced.
Editorial Credit: Adriano Castelli / Shutterstock.com