As marketing leaders, we have had to manage through a lot of change and 2022 has seen that accelerate. Getting maximum value out of every penny of your marketing budget requires a different mindset – finding efficiency, doing more with less, and prioritising harder. Heading into 2023, change can mean making the right investments in every channel and using them all in new ways.
I’m talking about events. Businesses invest as much as 25-30% (sometimes more) of total marketing spend on events. Perhaps it’s time for us to rethink the way we strategically view and plan events.
The digital transformation of events, accelerated by the pandemic, offers an exciting opportunity to incorporate digital elements into your event strategy getting more ROI out of every event we execute as part of our marketing mix.
Integrating digital elements into events means that you can reach new audiences faster, build stronger, more personalised connections, and drive continuous engagement with prospects and customers. By embracing this digitisation, we can transform our events channel into a powerful tool within your wider marketing strategy.
A shift to digital-first marketing
Before the pandemic, many marketing leaders didn’t consider events to be a central part of their marketing strategy. While there was an understanding of the necessity of events – face-to-face interactions helped to close deals, build brand awareness and create a community - events often operated in a silo. Even if you had the technology in place, capturing event leads was very much a manual process.
But the arrival of the pandemic in 2020 forced us all to shift to a new, ‘digital first’ reality. For the first time, in-person events had to become virtual, with marketing teams having to find creative ways to use online events to drive engagement and leads.
This shift has highlighted the importance of events as a data-driven marketing channel; one that drives brand awareness and ROI. Indeed, according to a 2021 Forrester report, the majority (62%) of marketing leaders agree that events will become increasingly important in the B2B marketing mix.
Today, this digital-first approach has many benefits for marketers. Digitisation means that we have much richer data at our fingertips: from attendees' content preferences to tracking ROI and engagement and more.
Events drive engagement
Fundamentally, events are all about driving engagement. And when you have more digitised events, you also have more engagement.
The benefit for marketers is that this means engagement is not just about a single event – instead, you can use digital elements, such as video, apps and on-demand content, to help keep your audience engaged well after your event is over.
Additionally, because digitised events produce high-volume and high-quality data, you can use these insights to build a more immersive attendee experience, enhance personalisation and improve targeting.
Improving attendee engagement in turn allows you to create stronger relationships with customers and prospects, as well as move prospects further down the buyer journey.
And that's not all - the move to digital formats offers a real opportunity to expand your reach further than ever before. You’re now able to engage audiences across the world, around the clock – much of which wouldn’t be possible using a traditional approach to in-person events.
Build engagement with technology
If engagement is the currency for events, technology is the tool with which you can effectively build and improve engagement.
For example, you can use web and mobile apps to make it easier for your audience to not only remain engaged with your brand but also with each other on an always-on basis.
Technology also allows you to capture and track all of the data generated from your events. You can track touchpoints from your events and event content right across the customer journey, making events trackable, quantifiable and more powerful than ever. Integrating event technology with your existing tech stack, such as your CRM and marketing automation, ensures a smooth transfer of data, so that you’re not operating in silos.
Events are a critical part of your marketing mix
In today’s digital world, it’s not enough to take a traditional, pre-pandemic approach to events. Events are no longer a ‘nice-to-have’ – they are a powerful and integral part of your marketing mix. Integrating digital elements into your events will not only enable you to build strong, personalised experiences for your audiences but also utilise events as a data-driven marketing channel. You can use technology to track and score engagement, develop personalised content and, ultimately, prove ROI.
To learn how Cvent’s event marketing platform can support your event strategy, click here.