With millennials making up a quarter of the global population and rapidly becoming the dominant generation within the workplace, you’d be forgiven for thinking that event marketing is dead and the future of marketing is completely digital.

After all, this generation is notorious for being the most technically savvy generation, having grown up in a connected world, preferring to DM, text or Snapchat their friends via their smartphones than actually speak with them face-to-face! Couple this with the continued rise in the use of digital, video, email, content and social media marketing, you could be forgiven for thinking there is no room for event marketing in your marketing strategy.

Before you turn your back on event marketing once and for all let’s explore this in more detail…

Whilst the majority of the population now owns a tablet or smartphone and prefers email over any other communication channel (72% of consumers rank email as the most preferred communication platform. Marketing Sherpa), we still remain an incredibly social bunch, seeking endorsements and recommendations for products and services from family, friends and even strangers before we purchase. We have not become passive consumers and still respond to brand engagement tactics as well as expect our voice to be heard.

Where does event marketing fit into your marketing strategy?

Like all marketing channels, event marketing has its place and according to the Content Marketing Institute, 75% of organisations say in-person events are an effective marketing tactic. You just need to know exactly where that fits in your customer journey.

Mapping out your typical customer journey and touchpoints will enable you to know which communication channels you need to embrace and at which points. Say for example a potential client visits your website for the first time, you are likely to be one of the 72% of organisations that has a pop-up inviting them to sign up to your newsletter in order to receive regular updates and thought leadership articles from you.

Once they begin receiving your e-newsletters, they may begin to follow you on social media, in which case you will begin engaging with them more frequently with promotions and quick tips. Once you are engaging with your audience on a regular basis and educating them about your products and services, you may find that they are proactively engaging in what we call influencer marketing, reading customer reviews and case studies about your company.

Eventually, they’ll get to the point where they are ready for face-to-face engagement to validate their decision making process so far. And this is where the power of event marketing comes in. At this point, you can invite them to a trade show, pop-up, conference, seminar or roadshow, all of which are perfect face-to-face marketing opportunities for engagement, education and networking.

Why is event marketing still important?

You can’t deny the power of face-to-face engagement. From keynote presentations delivered by industry experts to hands-on interactive labs, events provide a powerful mix of educational and networking benefits. Events remain a critical step in the decision making process as they enable the customer to continue to learn, ask questions and enhance their understanding, make competitive comparisons in a cost and time effective way, as well as meet with other like-minded individuals. When used as part of a fully integrated customer experience and marketing communications strategy, events provide a effective, powerful and engaging experience.

Top tips for ensuring event marketing delivers results as part of your marketing strategy

Know its place
With 60% of the buying process takes place online before consumers involve a sales person, you must have a clear and define customer journey and know at which point you should employ event marketing. The goal is to move your target customers through the buyer journey and so using the right engagement tactics at the right time is essential. A typical buyer journey may look like this:

Visit website
Read blog and thought leadership posts
Subscribe to e-newsletter
Follow on social media
Check out customer reviews
Visit at a trade show
Sales meeting

Don’t use event marketing in isolation
All marketing should form part of an over-arching integrated and joined up strategy. No matter where, when or how your potential and existing clients engage with you they should receive consistent, cross platform messages from you.

Use digital marketing to promote your event
With digital marketing comes the power and ability to be truly creative with your pre-show, on-site and post-show marketing and to enhance your presence at any event. Engaging with your audience through video, social media and other digital channels even before they visit an event will put your company on their radar.

Use events to educate and network
Yes, events are a good way to provide face-to-face interaction and validation for your company and product claims but they are also perfect for providing an effective educational and networking platform. People buy from people and so providing an in-person platform such as a trade show, conference, networking event or training session is perfect for achieving this.

Don’t underestimate the importance and effectiveness of events, make sure you continue to include event marketing in your marketing strategies and that you get maximum ROI.

Jo Coxhill is a seasoned marketing expert with extensive experience in event marketing. Contact Jo to find out more.

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