It’s no secret that 2023 is shaping up to be another challenging year for organizations of all sizes, with fluctuating markets impacting budgets and strategies. Despite this, events remain an integral role in an organization’s success. They are incredible revenue drivers, and events are essential to building brand awareness, genuine connections, and community, foundational elements to a successful marketing program.
As in past years, event marketers must continue creating experiences that cut through the noise and leave an indelible mark on their audiences. Easier said than done, right? With limited resources and quirky tech stacks, running a successful event, let alone a consistent program can feel like a monumental undertaking. But it doesn’t have to be. Identifying the right event strategy, streamlined by the right tools and technology, is the magic potion needed to catapult your event program to success.
Event marketers have been steadily shifting reliance away from larger-scale engagements, transitioning from doing only flagship events like tradeshows and conferences to hosting multiple events throughout the year that offer unique connections to their audiences. To stay top-of-mind, unforgettable, branded experiences are vital to connecting with buyers throughout the relationship’s lifespan – not just a few times a year at conferences or tradeshows.
And based on the results of our 3rd annual Events Outlook Report, most event marketers we surveyed are already embracing a multi-format, multi-touch approach. We also found that most marketers (67 percent) produce more frequent and intimate engagements or employ a mix of flagship and smaller-scale, everyday events. In comparison, a shrinking percentage (37 percent) focuses exclusively on larger conferences and tradeshows.
But What Is an Everyday Event?
At Splash, we define everyday events as an experience specifically designed to be easily replicated and scaled across regions, verticals, formats (virtual/hybrid/in-person), and stakeholders. Workshops, roadshows, networking panels, and community events are all everyday events and can provide the experiences and interactions needed to create a positive, measurable impact on an audience.
Our survey of marketers revealed that globally, one-third plan to center their 2023 event strategies around these frequent, scalable events. And it’s no wonder: in our relatively unstable economic environment, well-branded, recurring events offer the kind of repetition and consistency buyers need to build trust and improve brand recognition, increasing the likelihood of repeat attendees and the potential for revenue generation.
Event ROI is the Deciding Factor
Around the world, event marketers identified that more intimate everyday events produce the highest ROI in their event mix. This is a critical point when factored into the primarily digital buyer journey that, on average, requires nearly 30 touchpoints – before a prospect is ready to speak to sales.
Similarly, as we transition into a cookie-less future, where anonymous untrackable buyers rely on dark social activities and peer-to-peer interactions, marketers are challenged to reinvent how we generate and measure awareness, engagement, and interest.
Unsurprisingly, our report confirmed that marketers reported generating positive ROI as their top-ranked priority, and having easy access to the data needed to prove success is mission-critical.
It’s unfortunate that most existing event management platforms lack an integrated measurement tool as a core part of their offering. Access to critical event data or the ability to integrate it with data from other marketing tools is necessary to unlock the true value of your event program.
The Power of Everyday Events
We can probably agree that everyday events are the ideal vehicle for generating the most meaningful connection with a buyer. However, you need the right resources to develop an effective everyday event strategy. Not just for event execution – though creating replicable events at scale is more straightforward with an integrated mar-tech stack – but for measuring the success of events via ROI, pipeline generation, and revenue growth.
For example, a staggering 81 percent of event marketers say they’d hold more events if they had the right tools, and the same percentage also want resources to help them maximize their events’ potential and drive revenue.
The scale and impact of any event program depend largely on the technology utilized. Without the right tools, silos, inefficiencies, and an inability to prove impact and ROI will likely stand in the way of growth.
With the right technology, event marketers can leverage everyday events without sacrificing team bandwidth, making event creation and management more efficient, impactful, and likely to unlock future revenue for your business. Moreover, spending less time on manual processes offers the potential bandwidth needed to automate and scale your programs, which is critical to expanding programs and achieving long-term success.
The bottom line is that marketers always need to do more with less – everyday events that are simple and repeatable allow your team to focus on creating compelling content and experiences that yield the results you need for success.
The right technology and mix of events are the keys to unlocking the long-term potential of your event program.
The author, Kate Hammit is CMO at Splash.