Enterprise Organizations Tout Effectiveness of In-Person Events for Demand Gen

Marketing decision-makers working at organizations with at least 1,000 employees are seeing results from their event marketing efforts, per results from a survey from Certain [pdf]. More than three-quarters rated the effectiveness of their organizations a top-2 box on a 5-point scale when asked about driving business results such as demand generation and pipeline acceleration from in-person events.

In fact, events ranked as the second-most effective marketing tactic used in 2016 for driving demand and revenue, according to respondents. Direct marketing edged event marketing for the highest average rank of the 6 channels measured, with content marketing next, ahead of email marketing. Webinars ranked as the lowest-performing tactic of the six.

Event Budgets

Given their enthusiasm about event ROI (a position backed by other pieces of research), it’s probably not too surprising that respondents are largely buoyant about event marketing spending. About 7 in 10 predict an increase in spend this year over last, with another quarter predicting that budgets will remain steady.

For this sample of marketers, events represent a sizable portion of the budget: more than one-third dedicated 26-50% of their entire spending last year to events (ranging from smaller field events to large conferences), while another third allocated 11-25% of their spend. Almost one-quarter directed more than half of their budgets to event marketing last year.

That spending supported a rather prolific number of events: more than one-quarter produce between 51 and 250 events each year, and another third produce more than 250. Sponsorship levels are slightly lower, but close to one-third nevertheless sponsor more than 250 events per year, with another quarter sponsoring between 51 and 250.

Corporate meetings (68%), seminars (64%) and parties (63%) are the most common types of events hosted or sponsored by these organizations, followed by tradeshows (52%), VIP dinners (50%) and field marketing events (50%).

Event Technology

Enterprise organizations are more reliant on in-house marketing operations (73%) and event planners (68%) than they are on event marketing agencies (38%), per the report.

Almost half use event management/event automation software, while fewer than one-third use lead capture technologies. Separately, event management/event automation software was ranked as the most important technology to achieving a successful outcome from events, followed by registration management and event & session check-in.

Other Findings:

Separate highlights from the report indicate that:

  • Social media (19.9% share) and email marketing (17.9%) have proven to be the most effective channels or tactics used to promote in-person events, followed by word-of-mouth (13.9%) and direct prospecting emails (13.2%);
  • Attendance (67%) is the most common metric used to measure the success of in-person events, though at least half use a variety of other metrics including revenue generated (56%), attendee engagement (54%) and brand awareness (51%);
  • Fewer than half (46%) measure the number of marketing qualified leads created to determine success; and
  • The majority of organizations follow up on event leads within a week.

About the Data: The results are based on a survey commissioned by Certain and conducted by an independent research firm, which interviewed 151 online respondents between April 10, 2017 and April 12, 2017. All respondents are marketing decision-makers at organizations with more than 1,000 employees.