Event marketing is a highly valuable strategy for all kinds of businesses, from technology and education to non-profit, medicine, and retail.
Not only do events benefit their hosts and sponsors, but they also enrich the lives of their attendees. Events inspire, teach, intrigue, entertain, and bring people together in a way unlike most other marketing efforts.
Event marketing is planning, organizing, and executing an event for the purpose of promoting a brand, product, or service. Events can take place in-person or online, and companies can either host an event, attend as an exhibitor, or participate as a sponsor.
It doesn’t matter the size of your event as long as you’re bringing value to your customers, potential customers, and brand. We’ll talk more about how to build an event marketing strategy.
There are so many possible ways to market your business and products through events because events work.
All kinds of marketers and business owners agree:
Conferences are large events typically organized and hosted by one major company and sponsored by a long list of smaller brands and businesses. Conferences are valuable for both B2B and B2C brands. These events typically offer the most dynamic agendas, filled with speakers, workshops, and networking opportunities.
Trade shows or expositions (expos) are large events organized around a specific industry or type of product, such as sales technology or medical devices. Trade shows give companies a chance to show off their products and services and typically bring in the highest number of qualified leads. Whereas conferences are open to the public, trade show attendees are typically pre-qualified buyers, company representatives, and salespeople.
Seminars are valuable, education-centric events attended by a small number of people. They involve discussions, lectures, and intimate networking opportunities.
Roundtables are similar to seminars, but usually have even fewer attendees of comparable “levels”, such as CEOs, surgeons, or teachers. Both events typically last no more than one day.
Pop-up shops are temporary retail spaces that give companies the opportunity to sell their products in a controlled environment. They’re typically organized by e-commerce brands that don’t have a full-time brick-and-mortar storefront. Pop-up shops also allow otherwise digital brands to bring their brand to life through a physical, immersive setting for their customers.
Launch parties or celebrations are small, personal events held at the launch of a new business, upon a big announcement, or to simply celebrate a success or milestone. Some companies put on a yearly party to host and entertain customers or clients. While these types of events shouldn’t be centered on a product or brand, a simple speech or presentation can help align the event with a company and remind attendees why they’re there.
Workshops are similar to seminars and roundtables in that they’re focused on sharing knowledge and educating attendees. But unlike seminars and roundtables, they’re typically open to the public. Workshops can be offered both virtually and in-person, and while they aren’t traditionally promotional, they’re usually centered around a topic relevant to the business … which makes a company seem more credible in their field.
Other types of event marketing include job fairs, customer-only conferences, networking sessions, VIP experiences, sponsorships, awards events, and competitions (like 5Ks or golf outings).
Events work because they’re different than every other type of marketing. They’re immersive, entertaining, and memorable. They’re also useful for businesses in any industry
Event marketing helps companies be successful — we’ve proven this above.
But how do they do that specifically? Why should you invest in this strategy for your business? Here are some distinct benefits of event marketing.
Companies choose to invest in event marketing because events inherently generate leads — 50% of marketers say their #1 reason for investing in events is for lead generation and sales.
As an event host, the registration process alone generates a list of people who are already interested in your product, industry, or at least fall in your target demographic. If you’re participating in or sponsoring an event, you can collect leads through an email list, demo offering, or by running a competition.
Don’t forget — plenty of event attendees convert while at an event. In fact, 79% of US marketers use event marketing to generate sales.
Lots of today’s software and e-commerce businesses never get to meet their customers or clients in person. That’s where event marketing is beneficial.
Almost 50% of marketers believe events are efficient and effective when reaching and engaging with customers and prospects.
Engaging customers and potential customers at events initiates personal interactions. These personal, one-on-one interactions build brand loyalty and help customers humanize your brand. Events also provide a reprieve from the distractions of daily work — meaning you can capture a client’s attention better than over a phone call or in-office pitch. With that attention, you have a chance to sell — or upsell — your products and services.
Hosting or participating in events is a key way for companies to establish and grow their brand. A 2015 study found that 81% of companies listed their top event marketing goal as “to increase or create brand awareness.”
Event marketing allows you to associate a physical identity and aesthetic with an otherwise digital brand. Like with pop-up shops, events provide a truly immersive experience at which consumers and customers can get a real feel for your brand and what it looks like in person.
The best part about using events to build brand awareness? People talk about events. Consumers, customers, media, bystanders, and influencers talk about events in person, on social media, in the press … you name it, making events a fantastic way to educate and alert people of your brand and products.
Regardless of what type of event your company hosts or participates in, there’s most likely an education component. That’s what makes event marketing so successful — they don’t focus solely on a brand or product.
Instead, they focus on educating and entertaining a demographic or industry … and promote products and services on the side. (In fact, this makes for great marketing across the board.)
*event marketing based on HubSpot event marketing planning guidelines.