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How to reignite your event marketing

By Patrick Smith, chief marketing officer at Cvent


Meetings and events are the number one revenue driver for B2B organisations after the company website, so it’s no wonder that up to 25 percent of a CMO’s marketing budget is spent on marketing those events. (Source: Forrester Research).

Even within the current digital landscape, the innate desire to meet face-to-face continues to fuel the booming MICE industry. Whether marketers want to educate attendees, help customers gain a better understanding of a brand, boost employee morale, or increase sales, nothing beats the power of live events.

Yet for many CMOs, proving the return on investment (ROI) of their event budget remains an ongoing challenge.  According to recent Cvent research, conducted in partnership with the CMO Club in Europe, six in ten admitted proving ROI was a critical factor when allocating their budget to events – and yet many don’t have the capability to assess ROI. 

In addition, the majority agreed that whilst the events programme contributed to their overall revenue growth, the majority (57 percent) need further justification for Board-level budget approval.

Identifying and understanding the many marketing touchpoints that an organisation has on an attendee, pre-, during, and post-event, is a crucial part of understanding the true revenue impact of those marketing efforts.


Proving value – start the attribution revolution!

Shift the mindset

Mention event ROI and many within an organisation will immediately consider the basics – the high-level cost of an event versus the direct revenue generated from registration – but there is a need to go broader than that by looking at the overall value including revenue generated by registrations, total attendance, partnerships, leads and opportunities added to the sales pipeline, and how personalised/memorable the onsite experience was for the attendee. It’s up to event marketers to educate the Board and shift their mindset away from the traditional perception of ROI as a finite cost to an asset for the business.


Have an ROI Mindset

  • At the start, be clear on what your business and events goals are for hosting or attending an event and think in advance what the metrics of a successful event will be.  


Embrace Technology

  • With the right event technology solution in place, you can track the attendee journey at all stages before, during and after the event. The journey that attendees take from being invited to an event, to what they did at an event, offers some of the most valuable data you will ever collect. This data highlights what attendees are interested in and can then be leveraged by sales and marketing to take the next best follow on action.  


Track the Attendee Journey and Personalise Touchpoints

  • From the moment attendees register, you can begin to understand the profile of those who are registering. Armed with that information, you can create registration paths for these unique personas, offering a more customised registration process. These are the first steps towards personalising the total event experience. 
  • During the event, opportunities for personalisation - and further understanding your attendee – abound. For example, with the help of a mobile event app you can gather information including:
  • Real-time feedback. How are attendees feeling about the sessions? Did your speakers address topics of interest? Will you scale up or down the speaker budget next year because of this feedback?
  • What content is resonating? Based on where attendees spend their time, you can approach them with more targeted conversation topics and marketing assets that address their interests.


Enhance Networking Opportunities and Boost Sales

  • Attendees can also book one-on-one appointments through the mobile app, which offers the opportunity for them to not only meet with other attendees, but also for a sales team member to meet with potential prospects onsite without having to go through other sales and marketing channels. Immediately, attendees can go from being prospects to opportunities and these high-quality leads can be fed directly into your CRM system for immediate follow-up. 

With all this rich data about the event attendee in hand, your sales and marketing teams will have the information they need to follow up more effectively, maximise the event marketing budget by only funding those events that are proving value, and ultimately help you demonstrate event ROI – and why events should continue to be a top priority in your marketing mix.  


Patrick Smith is the CMO of Cvent, a market-leading meetings, events, and hospitality technology provider.  Patrick will be presenting a session “Reignite your event marketing – channels for continuous engagement” at Confex on Wednesday 27 February ‘3.40pm-4.20pm (Marcomms Theatre).