The Drawbacks of Event Marketing (Or So They Say)
Event marketing is the single best way to generate qualified leads. So, why isn’t it utilized more? Traditionally, measuring the outcome of events the way one would with digital marketing has been difficult, making it challenging to determine their return on investment. This lack of clarity has made them a less popular option in the face of digital channels which provide precise measurements for judging success.
The Real Story
Software advancements have given us the capabilities to bring the physical world online, allowing for data collection at events comparable to a website or digital advertising. (We're writing a series of whitepapers about this. The first pictured below.)
For instance, using RFID technology and our data collection software (Demo), G2Planet can track the activity of any individual as they move throughout an event. This includes, the sessions or activities attended, the time spent at each one, and who they meet or choose to network with (similar to seeing a person's page-level interactions on a website), all providing metrics useful in judging engagement. Ultimately, this means the evidence-based decisions are attainable for marketing activities that happen offline.
Getting the Most Out of Marketing Data
To maximize its utility, marketing data, including event data, must be centralized.
Maintaining a single system of record (like a warehouse where all your data ends up) enables marketers to organize their data around people, rather than channels. Imagine the power of being able to see how someone (we’ll call her Sarah) engaged with your company at an event, on your website, and with a banner ad. Combining touch points around Sarah provides a clear idea of exactly what interests her about your company. Moreover, if 1,000 other people, resembling Sarah demographically, engage in a similar way across other touch points, you have gained a generalizable insight, i.e. “This is how we should explain our product or service to people like Sarah”.
Centralization: Stack vs. System
Centralizing marketing data is not necessarily easy. Consider that marketing operations are exceedingly varied, including content management, CRM, website management, digital advertising, event management, and much more, all generating their own data. Companies have been working on ways to combine them in a useful way for nearly twenty years.
The first popular solution was Marketing Resource Management systems. Basically, one piece of software designed to manage all of an enterprise’s marketing operations, which makes combining their data easy. While good in theory, this was unsuccessful in practice because the breadth and quick evolution of marketing made it impossible for these systems to keep up with developing all the features users needed.
Thus, these systems are increasingly being augmented and replaced by the stack: individual solutions specializing in one area of marketing operations management, that use an API to integrate easily with a central system of record. The stack follows the same logic as starting a business. Typically one hires a team of people specializing in sales, marketing, design, and development who combine their knowledge to create your finished product or service.
Why Any of This Matters
Though still underutilized, event marketing is becoming increasingly popular. Forward looking marketers should be able to identify good event management software. A good place to start is seeing whether the answer is yes for two critical questions: 1. does it collect the data I want 2. does it integrate well with my stack?
G2Planet’s goal is to make data-driven decision making a reality for all event planners, thereby allowing event marketing to fulfill its potential for driving business. As part of that effort we are releasing a four-part series of whitepapers titled data-driven enterprise event planning (DEEP).
The first focuses on the event management software ecosystem. Read it here!