Saturday, November 4, 2017

Events' Uneventful Downfall

Humankind's oldest, events remain, if not the cheapest, the best marketing channel.

But CMOs aren't keen on them, according to a report by The CMO Club.

While 7 of every 10 CMOs surveyed say events accelerate sales, 2 of every 3 say events aren't measurable; and 7 of 10 say events' "accountability gap" throws into question the event spend.

The accountability gap "creates challenges at budget time when the funding decisions are being made about events," according to the report. 

"While events are deemed critically important, they often lack the supporting financial data to objectively prove their value. Compared to other components of the CMO’s marketing mix that have become more sophisticated in measuring ROI, event marketers are lagging in their ability to connect the dots between activities and demonstrated results."

The accountability gap also makes choice difficult―the chief reason companies exhibit in the same events repeatedly, complaining all the while about lack of ROI.

What's a marketer to do? The report suggests you should:

Set unique goals for each event. "Not all events have the same purpose," the report says. "Some are designed to generate new leads and accelerate opportunities currently in the pipeline, while others are focused on strengthening relationships with key customers and gaining feedback to improve how marketers can better respond to their needs." Setting unique goals "will create a foundation for capturing the appropriate data to analyze the events against the stated objectives."

Create unique plans for each event. "Silos" often prevent cooperation between marketing and sales, pre-, at-, and post-event. Preparing written plans will knock down the silos and encourage both groups to capture relevant data.

Deliver an experience. This is mandatory. Quit simply checking boxes. Pick up the phone and call people before every event, be ready with a strong value proposition, and deliver it on site. If your event isn't an experience, it's a waste of time.

Feed your marketing automation and CRM systems. "Rarely are events judged on the revenue produced at that event," the report notes. "Opportunities discovered at the event take time to close and require significant post-event nurturing from marketing and follow-up from sales." Unless you import event data into your marketing automation and CRM systems, you can't track results.

Measure both activities and sales impact. Data captured at events should demonstrate ROI, not just reflect a bunch of activities. Ask your CMO to help you create C-suite-appropriate reports.

If events don't become a measurable marketing channel, they'll continue to be seen as a grievous expense, rather than an income-producing asset, the report concludes.

That could be their downfall.
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