Event marketing: unlock the full potential of events and trade shows

In my daily work, I experience that companies miss opportunities to unlock the full business and social potential of their events and exhibitions. In this article, I explain how you can make better use of these opportunities. And achieve maximum results through the application of event marketing.

But let me first emphasize the positive development that confirms the importance of event marketing.

  • 80% of the C-suite agree that event marketing is critical to their success (Bizzabo 2022 study).
  • 31% of marketers believe that events are their most effective marketing channel (2022 study Bizzabo).
  • 8.4% of the marketing budget is spent on events (study Gartner CMO state of marketing and strategy 2022).
  • Trade fairs in the Netherlands 2022 (180 fairs) are again at the same level as in 2019 (183 fairs) in terms of numbers and this is only expected to increase in the coming years (Monitor Fairs of Response and CLC-Vecta 2023).
Cost or revenue?

It’s the eternal debate. Are events a cost item in your company or do events actually contribute to your growth ambitions? How do you, as a marketing department, provide insight into the event results and stay away from this discussion? The answer is simple, but the road to get there is not. The reason that events are hard to measure is that business events and trade fairs are often executed without clear purpose. Events and exhibitions are judged only on an emotional feeling moment during or just after the event. Positive feedback is taken as success, without any metrics in place to measure the set of event objectives. A result-driven approach is missing. And that is a waste of the time and money you put into an event or exhibition.

How can you improve this?

The solution is not difficult. You need to apply strategic event management and ensure that your events are part of your marketing plan. Events are a marketing instrument that you can use to strengthen relationships, build thought leadership, increase brand awareness and internal branding. Your events become a tool to grow as part of your marketing strategy.

You will have to think a step further than just the organization of your events. Event marketing is the complete picture you need, to achieve the desired result. You need to understand how event marketing can help you to build relationships with prospects and customers, generate leads, accelerate your sales funnel, and increase event ROI.

Just like you do with marketing campaigns. You first formulate the purpose, target group, message and measurable objectives that contribute to your business objectives and growth. In the case of events and trade fairs you have a few extra point of attention. You need the create a memorable experience for your guests, including the visitor journey. Secondly always do an evaluation and lastly the follow-up strategy for and by sales. Strategic thinking and acting is an important requirement here.

To summarize

Event marketing is broader than purely organizing an event on request or developing the invitation process for participants. Unfortunately, many people still equate event marketing with event planning, despite the growing evidence proving the potential of event marketing. Many sales and marketing teams are still looking at it through the dated lens of event marketing. They still organize events and trade shows as they always have. Very traditional without changes.

That is probably also one of the reasons that events and exhibitions in some companies are not carried out by experienced event marketers. The job is done by a marketing specialist in addition to their own job role. That’s a choice. But do realize that this means there is less knowledge, focus and time available to be truly successful. In addition, it still leads to unanswered questions regarding the result.

Is it too expensive to hire a permanent event manager, since you only do a few events or trade fairs per year? In this case you can always hire an experienced freelancer on a project basis. A freelance event projectmanager will completely relieve you of your tasks and concerns, and get to work immediately. It will also ensure maximum results, cost control and impact of your events or exhibitions. Success assured.

Do you find this interesting? Feel free to contact us.