Event marketing can occupy a substantial portion of a company’s overall marketing budget. So it’s important that the events be effective. A previous article in this series discussed establishing goals and objectives for corporate meetings and trade shows. This article focuses exclusively on the human resources and technology required to achieve the maximum return on investment from events.

Get Buy-In From Sales Staff

Event marketing and sales staffs need to work together to fully realize the value of any event. When you’re setting objectives, don’t forget to engage sales. Depending on your organization, this may be the whole team, or just the leaders who will disseminate information as they see fit. But if your objectives don’t align with sales and they don’t see the value, you’ll have an uphill battle when it comes to reporting.

In many cases, salespeople want to go to events because they’re more likely to engage someone in conversation face to face vs. by telephone. Many people don’t answer their phones these days. They don’t want to take a meeting with you. They don’t know you. They have no reason to trust you or want to put you on their calendar unless they already know they have a serious problem that needs to be solved. Having sales reps at the events allows them to build relationships and uncover the potential issues attendees are experiencing that your product might be able to solve.

Send an Event Marketer To The Trade Show

One huge problem with any trade show measurement reporting is the fact that oftentimes, unless the person who is responsible for the measurement tracking is at the event, the information you get back afterwards is skewed.

There’s no guarantee that staffers use lead scanners correctly, even if you provide detailed instructions in advance. Maybe you end up with a lot of scans that are marked with a specific product interest, but turn out to be attendees who just wanted a free t-shirt. Or maybe some of the reps just get business cards from the hottest leads and don’t bother to scan them. While they may be put into the system later, they won’t be associated with the event.

I always recommend that the event marketer, or someone who fully understands that role and can be trusted to both manage things smoothly onsite and report back accurately, be onsite for most events. Don’t rely on hearsay, when it’s your neck on the line if the CMO brands the event as a boondoggle.

Employ Helpful Event-Marketing Technology

There is a lot of event technology available these days. There’s no excuse to not leverage at least some of what’s out there, for example:

  • Lead retrieval for exhibitors
  • Event-specific apps that hosts, sponsors, and attendees can all leverage to keep up to date on the agenda and activities
  • Registration software that companies can use for seminars and meetups
  • Full-blown event planning software
  • Software for organizations looking to implement a strategic meetings management program (SMMP)

At the very least, you should have some form of customer relationship management (CRM) software in place that you can use to upload, assign to sales for follow-up, and track the progress of any leads generated at the event. The next step is to have that tied into a marketing automation platform that allows you to communicate with and more granularly track any activity on the marketing side of the house. Neither of those is strictly event related, but they help with the tracking process tremendously.

Putting All The Resources In Place

Executing a successful event-marketing program requires having the right people in the right place and measuring what’s important. Because sales and marketing don’t always have the same goals in mind, it’s often up to the event marketer to make sure events are staffed with the most valuable employees and the data collected is the most relevant to the company. Technology can help also by getting information from the event into the right databases so events can become more than a nice day away from the office.


About the Author:

Danalynne Wheeler Menegus is a freelance writer, editor, and marketer with more than 20 years of experience in B2B event marketing. She is the editor of Corporate Event News, a TSNN publication designed for corporate event professionals. Danalynne has held senior product and event marketing roles at corporations including Dell, Sybase, and IONA Technologies.