How to Justify Marketing Resources for Live Events
Meaningful, memorable events do not unfold on their own. They require time, financial investment, and strategic planning by a dedicated organizer. Attempting to plan an event without them is a recipe for disaster and may cause long-term harm to an organization's reputation.
In an era of budget scrutiny, it’s not always easy to justify the need for time, money, and expertise in the event planning process. Key decision-makers and stakeholders are often reluctant to part with dollars or staff unless an event is guaranteed to produce a sizable profit. And unfortunately, it can be difficult to quantify exactly how much money an event will produce over time.
The path to successful event planning begins with an understanding of the “ideal guest” from a stakeholder perspective. You’ll need to learn what has motivated these individuals to take action in the past. Then, you can incorporate these triggers into your marketing strategy and event experience. This information also will enable you to determine what event planning resources you’ll need.
Of course, without a black-and-white summary of the projected revenue growth an event can produce, many CEOs and CFOs are unwilling to devote significant resources to event planning. Adopting an outcome-first mindset is the single-most important step you can take to develop a captivating event.
The best way to do this? Use a forward-thinking approach to gain quantifiable, useful data from the moment your event kicks off until the moment the last guest departs. Below is a three-step process that will help you convince stakeholders that event marketing resources will have a positive impact on your company's bottom line.
Step One: Develop an efficient way to track your event results
There are several ways to tackle this step. Many organizations use a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool such as HubSpot to enter the names of event attendees. By entering the names and contact details of each guest, you can track relevant activity that occurs after your event. For instance, you can enter requests for consultations and sales that are generated as a result of your event.
Step Two: Create long-term value with your event experience
Extending the lifetime value of the event experience will make it easier for you to secure the resources you need for all future events. This step requires the creation of assets from your events that can be used for future advertisements and marketing campaigns. For example, you can take videos and photos of attendees enjoying themselves at your event to help attract prospects or promote next year's event.
Step Three: Link the cost of the experience to the company's revenue growth
Now that you have procedures in place to track your event successes, you have the evidence you need to directly attribute revenue growth to your event. For example, you can use your CRM to calculate the revenue produced via orders generated by event attendees in the months after your event. Then, you can subtract the cost of the resources from profits generated to assign a dollar value to your event's worth.
The Bottom Line
Delivering an outstanding event experience requires resources. By following the steps outlined above, you can master the art of justifying time and money for your next event. To learn more about how an outcome mindset can make a difference in the success of your business, take a look at my LinkedIn post, or and reach out to me directly. With a forward-thinking approach to event planning, you can transform new prospects into long-term clients.
About the Author
Garrio Harrison is the founder of Forage, a marketing operations consultancy. During the day he uses his knowledge and experience with business-focused marketing, IT project management, and startup ecosystems to help business leaders prioritize their marketing projects.Outside of the Silicon Northstars and ILEA, he also volunteers his time helping creatives understand the business impact of their work through AIGA Minnesota, an association of graphic artists, design strategists and digital designers.
The International Live Events Association (ILEA) represents and supports more than 5,000 members globally—event professionals who do business together, share knowledge, nurture talent and progress the live events industry. For more information on how an ILEA professional can help you with your event, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.