Events Are Taking A Larger Piece of The Marketing Budget


It’s official. Marketers of all types and sizes are using more events to attract customers and boost sales. A Harvard Business Review Analytic Services Survey conducted earlier this year, and sponsored by Splash, found that about 30% of businesses spend over 20% of their marketing budgets on events.

In some cases, businesses score more revenue and leads by hosting, rather than sponsoring, events. This trend is especially true for marketers that sell to other businesses. However, B2C operators are also linking more revenue to the events they host. For example, retail stores may use an in-​person appearance by a celebrity to drive sales. When that event is paired with giveaways or free lessons, shoppers will come. As we all know, shoppers like to be entertained as part of the retail experience.

Most Popular Event Types

Top hosted events for B2B operators include multi-​day conferences (24%), industry trade shows/​conventions (23%), and one-​day conferences or seminars (22%). At least 44% of B2B companies also sponsor industry trade shows/​conventions. While B2C operators host one-​day conferences (16%), product launches (15%) and in-​store events (15%), they’re very focused on sponsoring entertainment events (21%) like concerts or comedy shows.

Brick-​and-​mortar businesses aren't the only entities using event marketing. The digital world can be a poor substitute for forging the personal relationships that increase customer loyalty. The Event Marketing Evolution research report points out that online specialists, like Yelp, “embrace event marketing.” The company “hosts hundreds of events for its core users…usually at small business sites.” These in-​person events help online companies increase customer engagement and loyalty.

Event ROI

Despite the sizeable investment businesses are making in events, only 23% know how to track ROI. The most frequently included metrics are:

  • Number of attendees 64%
  • Number of qualified sales leads 56%
  • Brand awareness 48%
  • Social press mentions 41%
  • Amount of sales pipeline generated 40%

Most of these metrics are focused at the top of the sales funnel. Analysts have been studying the impact of using tech-​based solutions to improve the process of measuring ROI for companies that invest heavily in events. They're also looking for ways to measure ROI closer to the bottom of the funnel. Not surprisingly, tech companies, business/​professional services, and consulting companies are the biggest users of technology that tracks event success.

If your clients are hosting or sponsoring more events, they’ll need your help to spread the word through advertising. You can also help them target event attendees by sharing profile details available on AudienceSCAN at AdMall from SalesFuel.

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.