It might seem like people are perfectly happy to communicate with each other solely through social media. But event planners have noticed that corporations are increasing their activity and experiential marketing budgets this year because people really do like to meet face to face. The latest twist is that social media is now driving more interest and participation in these events.

The Event Marketing Institute regularly surveys corporations about their plans. In this year’s report, the numbers show that companies will boost their event and experiential budgets  by 7.8%. As these budgets are increased, managers are expecting a return on their investment. Specific goals include:

  • Increased sales 83%
  • Increased brand awareness 73%
  • Enhanced product knowledge among customers 53%

Marketers may also be interested in the opinions of consumer who attend expositions or trade shows. Most consumers enjoy the experience and say their participation is linked to:

  •  Free samples/giveways 70%
  • Want to learn more about a product/service 47%
  • Discount or special offer 46%

As a result of attending these shows, consumers say they often try new products they learned about and recommend them to friends and family members. This is positive feedback for marketers who are measuring their return on investment.

Senior managers also believe that event success is increasingly linked to other marketing programs. More organizations  and businesses in the event industry are using social media to expand awareness and maintain online communities. But analysts point out they need to go the next level and use the information they glean from social networks. Currently, only 40% of firms are using social media as a way to build their databases of names of potential clients. Analysts believe that number is poised to grow.

[Source: Events Budgets to Grow 7.8% in 2012: EMI. Expoweb.com. 16 Apr. 2012. Web. 23 Apr. 2012]