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Event Intelligence Series Part 5: What’s Next?

Steven Yellen |

Event Intelligence Part 5: What’s Next?Welcome back to the Aventri W.I.N. (What I Need) Series where we provide in-depth discussions on important event marketing and meetings management topics, as well as the information you need to win. In the first edition, we talked about the Offline Buyer’s Journey. If you haven’t read it yet, we suggest that you do because it gives a good primer for the current edition where we explore the ins and outs of events intelligence.

Welcome to the last post in this Event Intelligence Series. Here’s a quick recap of the topics that have been discussed so far:

If you haven’t read these previous posts, we recommend that you spend a few minutes going through each chronologically. They will provide a solid knowledge foundation on how event intelligence fits into your event marketing and internal meeting strategies.

Now that you have the basics, what’s next?

Your next action steps will depend on the role you play in your organization, which can be classified under 2 major categories: event/meeting managers and marketing leaders.

Event and Meeting Managers: Proving Event ROI and Getting Your CMO’s Support

As an event manager, you are the primary champion of event marketing in your organization, ensuring that events remain a crucial part of your brand’s sales and marketing mix. Similarly, if you are a meetings manager or meetings director in charge of organizing internal events, ensuring that there’s an appreciation for internal meetings rests on your shoulders.

All these considered, the next step for you can be summed up with the following:

Prove the ROI of your event with empirical and irrefutable data.

This key takeaway is linked with a big hurdle the majority of event marketers and meeting professionals are facing: securing a higher budget.

You Can’t Spend On What You Can’t Measure

As an event marketer, you’re not only competing to make your event stand out versus your competitors, but you are also competing against the other marketing departments within your own organization. Unfortunately, according to a Gartner survey, event marketing receives the second lowest budget allocation, accounting for 5.2% of the overall marketing spend.

2018 CMO Budget Allocation by Marketing Channels and Marketing Enablers

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How a company allocates budget to different marketing channels also reflects its marketing priorities. This means that event marketing ranks low in the priority list of CMOs. It only follows that if and when the time comes to implement budget cuts, event marketing budget will be one of the first things to go.

This is quite ironic considering that face-to-face interactions with customers and clients yield better results.

The Gartner survey provides an answer to why this is happening: “[These] budgets reveal marketing’s continued commitment to digital techniques at the expense of traditional techniques, such as offline advertising and event marketing.” The survey adds: “CMOs struggle to align marketing metrics with business priorities, favoring awareness as their No. 1 strategic measure instead of customer value and return on investment (ROI).”

And there’s our magic word!

ROI.

If you’re able to demonstrate hard dollar ROI for your event marketing spend using event intelligence, you can turn the situation around in your favor and secure better funding for your event marketing campaigns. 86% of event marketers consider event data important or critically important to secure the budget they need:

Importance of Using Event Data to Secure 2019 Budgets

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In short, show your CMO the money (or whatever return) that your events are able to generate and they will give you the money you need to execute your campaigns.

Actionable Next Steps for Event Managers

So how do you get from Point A to Point B?

  1. Set an alignment session with your CMO. As we have reiterated several times in the four previous posts, the success of any event intelligence initiative is to set clearly defined goals and objectives. However, you cannot do this in silos. Your event marketing objectives that your event intelligence will eventually measure should be aligned with the overall marketing objectives of your company. It’s important to sit down with your CMO to get the overall marketing direction of your brand as well as the methodology used for measuring and evaluating ROI by your organization. Be prepared with previous event ROI data (even rough numbers) to make an initial pitch as to how your events can play a key role to help the company achieve its marketing objectives.
  2. Highlight the “offline to online” value of event marketing. In Post 3, where we talked about the specific use case of event intelligence for the offline buyer’s journey, we tackled two important concepts: lead scoring and multi-channel attribution. With event intelligence, you can inject event data into your digital marketing automation system. This means that the benefits of event marketing don’t stop at on-site conversions. With lead scoring, your digital marketing team can target leads retrieved from an event with custom content depending on their activities during the event. On the other hand, multi-channel attribution helps determine which specific content led to the most number of conversions. Given that online marketing is emerging to be the top priority among CMOs, demonstrating how offline event marketing aids digital marketing is a sure-fire way to get upper management support for your event intelligence initiatives.

This may sound like a lot of heavy lifting on your end as an event manager, but it’s not. In reality, this should already be a critical component in creating your event strategy. It all boils down to one thing: proving the value of your events in the bigger scheme of your company’s marketing objectives. Remember the value of events to your marketing organization can be translated to the value you as an event manager bring to the marketing team.

Marketing Leaders: You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

If you’re a marketing leader, the first step is to understand the new opportunities if you begin collecting or incorporating event intelligence data into your overall customer profiling strategy.

In our years of experience, we’ve come to realize that there’s a significant number of marketing leaders who have zero awareness of the offline buyer’s journey. Even if your event managers are already doing event intelligence in some way, shape, and form, you may not be aware of the data that they’re collecting. Additionally, you may not be involved in the strategy of how they go about event intelligence. It’s possible that you’re completely unaware of the concept of the offline buyer’s journey — what it is, what you can track and measure, and how it can strengthen your marketing strategy.

In the first post of this series, we mentioned how there’s a big discrepancy between how much time and money marketing leaders are spending on measuring customer activities online versus the thought that goes into tracking and measuring the offline buyer’s journey. We also stand by our argument that event data carries more weight and is more indicative of customer intent.

So, as a marketing leader, start by doing an audit and ask yourself the following questions:

  • How well do I know my customers offline?
  • Do I know what data my events team is gathering and am I using this data in shaping the overall marketing direction of my company?
  • Do I know if this event data aligns with my overall marketing objectives?
  • If I don’t know the event marketing data that my event managers are collecting, why? Is it because the information doesn’t reach me or is it because I am ignoring the event intelligence reports?
  • Is my marketing team equipped with the technology and the expertise to inject event marketing data into our marketing automation systems?

As a marketing leader, you should have a clear sightline on everything and anything pertaining to event intelligence. A strong appreciation of the impact of the offline buyer’s journey in your customer profiling strategy is mission-critical to your team’s event intelligence projects.

Wrapping it Up: Intelligent Event Marketers Use Event Intelligence

As a marketing channel or a platform for employee engagement (in the case of internal events), events and meetings should have corresponding goals, objectives, and KPIs. Without these, events and meetings lose their value. Event intelligence proves that events and meetings are worth their weight in gold. Instead of just a line item in your expense report, event intelligence demonstrates that events are profit centers, vehicles that bring businesses closer to their objectives.

That’s it for our W.I.N. Series for Event Intelligence. We hope that after this, you’re motivated to start tracking the offline buyer’s journey and implementing an event intelligence strategy that works for your specific goals and needs.

If you think more event marketers should learn about event intelligence, do them a favor and share this post.

If you’re already doing event intelligence and want to take it a step further, don’t hesitate to contact our team.

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This Post was Written by Steven Yellen

Steve Yellen is the vice president of product strategy at Aventri.

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