We hear it time and again – when planning for the upcoming year, companies struggle to determine where to position events in their overall marketing mix. When faced with the facts of a substantial budget commitment and difficult-to-measure lead return, organizations become conflicted on how much to allocate toward events and how to determine if the overall event strategy should target one or multiple event types. The strategy can diverge when an organization plans and executes events outside the company’s broader goals, targets an audience that is too great, or fails to align with the buyer’s journey.
SiriusDecisions has found that when an organization’s events don’t align with its overall strategic goals, the events have typically been planned and funded by departments or influential individuals without the support of a formal planning or selection process. Ultimately, this results in wasted resources and an unsatisfactory – and often unmeasured – return. When creating an organizational event strategy, SiriusDecisions recommends including the following components:
Events should be positioned within the overall marketing mix in a broad context; many organizations put too much emphasis on the activity related to an event (e.g. number of registrants) and not enough on the outcome (e.g. reaching the right buyer, driving pipeline impact). Every event type should be considered part of a group of integrated, multi-touch campaign tactics that support reputation, demand creation, sales enablement or marketing intelligence program goals. SiriusDecisions recommends starting by identifying a need-based campaign theme, then creating lower-level program objectives. Although event management is a rapidly expanding function that has seen an explosion of new technologies and tactics, in-person events remain a critical part of the b-to-b marketing mix.