As you plan for the upcoming fiscal year:
Enterprise event marketers don’t always get the budgets they deserve; they get the budgets they negotiate. In this blog post, we discuss ways to make your case for the biggest possible budgets as your company plans for FY’ 2017:
Step One: Communicate the Big Picture
While there is no shame in asking for more budgets at planning time, event marketers don’t have to scavenge or “tin cup” quite as hard for funds these days. This is primarily because smart CMOs are realizing the potential of event and experiential marketing as customers continue to drown in “content” and digital-only marketing.
Research, in fact, continues to show event marketing moving quickly from an “element” of the marketing mix to an essential enterprise strategy. For example, the 2015 Event Track Survey showed an overall 6% rise in event marketing budgets with 58% of event marketing budgets funded directly from corporate - over 34% in 2014.
This is where a centrally managed, cloud-based event management solution can cement your role as “mission critical.” Data-driven enterprise event software provides you with “evidence based” data that can be tired directly to enterprise goals--from granular demographic and psychographic information on prospects to hot-ready to buy sales leads, and more.
All to help you elevate your role in the c-suite when it comes to budgeting time. Yeah, we know it’s not all about the money, but always better to put yourself in a best position possible.
Step Two: Calendar First. Tin Cup Second.
Numbers aside, event marketing is factoring more prominently in the marketing mix is because it allows companies to capture a human relationship - not just a data point. But all good companies value the customer relationship and strive to deepen it.
A sharp Event Marketer, however, needs to show how expanding investment those event activities can generate even more revenue. Or, alternately, explain why one show might be on the decline while a new show is on the rise - and therefore deserving of more budget.
Old show favorites, as they say, die hard. Often tunnel vision sets in and sales, finance or operations might favor putting too many of your eggs into just a few baskets. This is where a centralized calendar that provides actionable data, lead scoring and demographic information on a 1:1 basis by event can put the “big picture” front and center.
And here is where you can cleverly “tin cup” to get an even larger share of the marketing budget for 2017. Even if its adding just one more show you simply know will work, or incorporating sophisticated experiential elements into your brand messaging like “empathy design” and more.
Step Three: Tin Cupping for MoreLike we said before, there is no shame in asking, or even begging, for more events planning budget. Often simply “speaking the same language” as your peers or superiors can go a long way to getting things done. Here are just a few ways put more gold in your cup. (This is first of many posts.)
- Talking to Corporate. Good planning tools generate actionable data. As corporations are pressured to deliver a better “customer experience” a centralized event calendar powered by a centralized database can help you show a truly “holistic view” of that customer across each event.
A system like the EventCONNECTS module in EventCENTRAL from G2Planet, in fact, can help you track individual touch points prospects have with your brand across multiple events, revealing actionable insights into how to communicate with them, what to communicate to them, and when to do it. We can show you how to tie our tools to the discussion. And more.
- Talking to Digital Marketing. Corporate departments are concerned with the “customer experience.” Digital marketing is obsessed with the “customer journey.” Event planning tools can be used to augment that journey. A customer journey, for example, is mapped and tracked via online touch points. We suggest therefore that you use a digital event planning tool to show how you can help them more accurately capture the human - and not just digital - side of that journey. And take both of your budgets from there.
- Talking to Sales. “Lead Scoring” is the language of sales (besides money). In the same way event planning tools extend the “customer journey” for digital marketing, companies like G2Planet offer all kinds of tools to help you score big with sales and marketing.
A comprehensive event management system can track the specific behavior of a prospect at a show. A great example of this might be a “test drive” at an automotive show or a “before and after” model of user behavior during last year’s event. By asking attendees the same survey question before and after experiencing your brand, you gain insight into the direct impact of that experience on consumer preferences. Measuring the aggregate delta in response can reveal a net promoter score…now that’s establishing a direct connection between event marketing activities and sales!
This kind of data will help you show sales how event marketing will shorten the funnel distance and increase velocity between “awareness and interest” and purchase - which is what lead scoring is all about.
- Talking to Everyone. Events are the most powerful marketing medium and platform for brands to communicate. CRM, customer loyalty, client success and customer support will inevitably have symbiotic potential with your Event Marketing department. A centralized enterprise event management system gives you visibility into enterprise-wide activities relating to events and will enable you to identify opportunities to better leverage vendor relationships, deploy personnel more efficiently, and utilize company collateral more effectively. Now that’s a win-win for every department!
CONCLUSION: Talking to Us
As your enterprise sets budgets for next year, you should negotiate from strength. Getting your Event Marketing Department on EventCENTRAL with G2Planet this fall will not only help fine tune your own plans but sets you financial sights a little higher.
You owe it to yourself. We hope to talk more soon.