Event Marketing Technique #1
Understand Your Strategy and Tactics To-Date
Function4 has developed a set of 12 techniques to build an effective Event Marketing Strategy. This critical component of business-to-business (B2B) marketing is often neglected at most firms. We believe our techniques can help firms elevate event marketing to a more strategic level - better information, improved results & higher expectations.
It is nearly impossible to set a path for where you are going without having a reasonably good understanding of where you have been. This requires an evaluation of what your firm has done, why you have done it, and how your results compared with expectations. It might be a laborious task, and certainly there are marketing executives who would rather skip this step and just start with a clean slate, but ignoring the past can be almost as big a mistake as not shaping a plan for the future. Here’s what you should hope to achieve:
- Learn from past failures using metrics and an understanding of expectations and results
- Learn from past successes and understand why and how they can be repeated
- Understand decisions that were made "away" from the strategic plan due to relationships and firm politics
- Understand where past activity fit within the overall marketing and sales plan
To take this critical first step of self-analysis, firms should try to understand as much of the following as possible:
Set a standard for collecting and measuring the facts around event activity. A firm should be able to catalogue its event activity for the year, including team members who attended events, hosting and co-hosting by the firm, and sponsorship. This may extend into both events hosted on behalf of clients as well as events attended by or for clients, since that activity may contribute to the firm's overall benefit from events.
What did the firm spend on event activity, including attending, travel, searching, planning, hosting, co-hosting, and sponsoring events?
Be honest about how resources (including people, facilities, and even relationships with opportunity cost) were utilized to attend, host, sponsor, and plan event marketing activities.
Where did information about events and decisions to attend them come from? Who made decisions to host events, and how were attendees chosen or found? How were sponsorship opportunities found, and how were those decisions made? What were the alternatives considered for each of these tactics?
To what extent is branding and general marketing important to the marketing and sales plan? How were events used for branding? How were relationships and partnerships leveraged to enhance brand? Does this go beyond one-on-one selling at events, and is it ever measured?
Who did the firm meet at events? How were contacts enhanced into relationships? How were events chosen – or attendees invited/recruited to increase contacts and relationships? How was this tracked?
This certainly applies to CRM tracking, but beyond adding to the CRM, what did the firm learn from events (attending, hosting and sponsoring)? How did data from events help shape the rest of the marketing and business development plan? Did the firm collect the right data in a standardized manner from events that it hosted and sponsored?
During this evaluation, you should seek to understand or reconstruct what your Event Marketing Plan for the year was. If it was articulated, did the activities seem to match the plan? If not, what plan seemed to be implied by the activities? How well did that fit overall marketing objectives?
In our next post, we will move to our second Technique for Building an Event Marketing Plan: Evaluate the Prior Year’s Strategy
Function4 is a platform and software solution that delivers a comprehensive tool set to help your firm create, execute, and measure a data-driven Event Marketing Strategy – integrating hosting, sponsorship, and event attendance, with a focus on your industry and the relevant data and metrics. We have built the tools necessary to help your firm plan and execute a data-driven sponsorship campaign across industry events.
Learn more about how your firm can begin using Function4 today.