Marketing departments are under increasing demand to deliver and prove results from their spend. As a result, data-driven marketing campaigns have become more in demand as they are the clearest way to indicate ROI. Thus, one of the most expensive and difficult-to-measure marketing channels – events – has seen an increasing need for these campaigns as well.
Data driven marketing takes calculated steps to identify and approach customers, then segment and measure results by analyzing data and when able, gaining feedback in real-time. Up until recently, most event marketing was measured based on anecdotal feedback. But this isn’t cutting it anymore to justify the spend.
Low visibility into event ROI
Many marketers find that in-person events are most coveted by sales team members, but the results are the most difficult to track. Because they are so costly as it comes to travel, show fees, technical equipment and production of marketing materials, it is vital to show the benefit of attendance.
Marketing research groups have found this to be a continuing struggle. The Aberdeen Group found that 69% of marketers attributed tracking event ROI as their most difficult challenge. Kissmetrics reported that 82% of marketers are unable to quantify data gathered from event attendee interactions at corporate events. What’s more, Regalix found that only 48% of marketers have any kind of ROI metric in place when it comes to events.
How should a business go about data-driven marketing for events?
It’s much easier to think about how this is done through digital marketing and then try to apply it to the event. When it comes to an online prospect, data is used to provide strategic recommendations to that individual based on interests they’ve expressed via search engine, social media, or other behavior while shopping online. Targeted campaigns are directed at that individual through multiple marketing channels because the qualifying information can be segmented.
For events, segmentation is critical for data-driven marketing as well. In order to achieve the greatest return from an event, each individual attendee cannot be treated the same. A prospect should be treated differently than an existing customer. Within your gathered contacts, attendees of various job roles should be approached differently as well.
So, the question is, how do you gather this information and what should you do with it?
1) Take advantage of the information given to you.
At the very least, most events provide scanners for you to collect contact information from people who stop by your booth. You may or may not be given information regarding what their job role is, so the information collected here could vary in its worth in terms of you being able to segment data. If you ARE provided with this information, be sure to take advantage of this valuable insight and create targeted email campaigns with landing pages that foster to their specific needs and interests. The more you are able to personalize prospect emails, the more interaction and success you will have.
2) Host a pre-event gathering for existing customers.
If you have existing customers you know will be at the event and with whom you may have upcoming business opportunities, host a pre-event party or cocktail hour and use that to gain some great marketing intel. While valuable insights can be gleaned from conversation, create a survey that the guest must fill out in order to attend your soiree where they will get free food & drink. Ask about why they are attending the event, what kind of problems they have been having and any needs that may be upcoming. Utilize this information for some personalized follow-ups by your reps.
3) Monitor social media closely.
What did people care about at the event? What sessions were the most popular? What hashtags were trending? These answers should fill your content as you target individuals following the event. Come to them with things you know they care about, and will prompt them to engage with you.
If you are diligent about data gathering, segmentation and targeted follow-up, you can report on the event with more than, “Well, Bob from sales said there was a lot of foot traffic, felt like he had a few productive conversations and we’re going to send a follow-up email to everyone we scanned.” You’ll be able to provide stats like “1,200 potential prospects and 500 customers were in attendance, with 60% in our targeted market for ‘ABC’ product and 40% of those who filled out our survey said they were looking for our product in the next quarter, the remaining indicating a need sometime next year. The overall trend of the conference were people looking for [insert good/service here]. We’ll be sending ‘ABC’ message to this group to get them engaged in the short-term, and ‘XYZ’ message to this other group.” Your targeted campaigns are more likely to have success that will directly contribute to revenue, and that’s what everyone’s really after.
Vernon Computer Source provides tech rentals to event marketers like iPads, laptops, printers and digital displays.