Events are an important part of any marketing strategy.  The chance to get in front of a group of people, give them your elevator pitch, and convince them they need your product or services, can’t be matched. Face time in a world of digital marketing is still so important.  But are you choosing the right events and making the most of those events to give you the best ROI?

Too often companies fall into a pattern of over exhibiting.  Attending every event possible to show their presence and get their name out there.  This strategy only works if are focused solely on branding, you have a large budget, and are utilizing other avenues (such as industry articles, press releases, blogs, social media, advertising, your own live events etc.)  If this is your strategy, then you’re good doing great, you probably have a large marketing and sales team to support you

Know your demographic and make sure your face to face time is with the right audience
Who are the attendees? Does your product appeal to them?    You may have an innovative product or service, but if you are not pitching it to the person who will directly benefit from this, your pitch may fall on deaf ears, and your ROI will reflect that.  Take the time to do the research and find out the titles of attendees and types of firms that will be at conference, and make sure those are the people that will solidify your sale. This is where doing your Buyer Persona homework will give you an advantage.

Attending big conferences, and weighing your options

You have done your research, know your demographic, and decided that attending one of the big shows is imperative to get you in front of the right people.  The more attendees, the higher the price tag for a booth and may mean spending $10,000 and more. But no risk, no reward, right?

Before you writing that check or charging that card, weigh your options and think outside the box (or event, as the case may be).  Consider attending as a vendor, without a booth, and make yourself available to clients and prospects that are attending.  Some options to look at are as follows:

  • Plan and host a dinner or event and invite prospects, leads, and current clients.
  • Research what sponsorships are available. Sometimes you can sponsor or co-sponsor a reception or breaks, etc.
  • Partner with another company and share the cost. You might be able to share a booth e, or co-sponsor an offsite dinner or event.  This option allows for more visibility and exposure to the other company’s contacts and new prospects.
  • Check with the hotel for space availability to set up private meeting and demos.

Any of the above can save considerable money, and still allow you to get in front of attendees and develop more personal relationships to complete sales.  If after weighing your options, getting that booth space is the still best decision, it is imperative you make sure you have an event strategy in place to maximize your investment.

Finding small events where you can stand out

You know your demographic and you want to stand out. Smaller events are a great way to do this.  The price tag of a booth is less, and chances are better that the attendee list will include e-mails.  With lower costs, smaller events offer great opportunities and sponsorships that can help your visibility beyond your booth space and help you meet or exceed your goals for ROI.

Depending on the number of attendees and their job titles, weigh your options to determine how your dollars can best be spent to get the most face-time with them.  Hosting a private reception or dinner for key prospects is a great way to develop relationships.  Send invitations out ahead of time with an RSVP, and have extra invitations at your booth to give to hot leads.

Determining the right events to attend is key.  but whichever events you are attending, you should be setting goals and looking at your ROI.  Developing and planning an event marketing strategy including pre and post show marketing campaigns is imperative to help you realize the highest returns and exceed your sales and marketing goals.  It is vital for Sales and Marketing to work together in order to make this to happen.

Author:  Angela Roark – Director, Events.Legal
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay