What Did You Get For That Event You Spent $50k On?

May 12, 2017 Emily Meyer

Event season is in full swing and our own marketing team has been completely heads down working on the logistics around all the events we are sponsoring in Q2. In the next two weeks alone we have two events–Martech, which we just completed this week, and SiriusDecisions Summit next week in Vegas. A lot of time and energy are spent on events!

The Problem with Event ROI

With all this event spend, how do we define success? Are we getting our money’s worth? Are we just wasting our time? These are questions that our marketing team thinks through internally after every event.

According to Harvard Business Review, B2B marketers spend roughly $565 Billion on hosting, attending, and exhibiting at events which is about 21% of corporate marketing budgets! That is a lot of money!

In my experience speaking to customers and other marketers about ROI, event ROI is something that CEOs and CMOs are incredibly focused on. Unfortunately, asking “what is the ROI of our event?” is a very convoluted question and there are not typically many solid metrics to back up claims of high ROI.

You have all heard the typical response “well….we only sourced 10 new opps, but I swear we were super busy and talked to a lot of companies…we even talked to a lot our current customers!”

Yikes…so why is it typically so hard?

When it comes to events, there are so many benefits to investing in key conferences and field activities that go far beyond simple lead acquisition. At the events that we hold at BrightFunnel, our marketing team has goals around prospect and deal acceleration, customer advocacy, analyst engagements, and more. If you are only looking at success as the first-touch then you are missing out on a lot of critical touch-points.

Justifying Your Event Budget

These days, data is king. Having the ability to clearly and quickly articulate quantifiable metrics on how events drive pipeline and revenue is critical. As a result of ROI being top-of-mind for CEOs, it is no surprise that the CMO shelf life is only 20 months. By the time a CMO or marketing leader has their marketing stack bought and event schedule set, the board and CEO want to know the impact on pipeline and revenue.

They want to see the data, examples, and believe in the ROI. 

Multi-Touch Attribution is the Key to Determining Event Success

Multi-touch attribution is the only way to get these holistic insights.  Refocusing the business around “touched” metrics, in addition to “sourced” is game changing. Think back to the original example I gave above. Maybe the event only sourced 10 opportunities, but it influenced many other critical things—like opportunity acceleration, closed deals, and customer retention or upsell.

Multi-touch attribution not only allows marketers and CMOs to justify their budgets, programs, and show definitive ROI related to events, but it also allows the team to get credit for all their work.

By looking at how events impact numerous places in your sales cycle, defining the true ROI of an event across multiple initiatives becomes much more accurate.

How much of your team’s time is spent just trying to answer these questions?  What would you like your team to spend time on?

By partnering with a multi-touch attribution partner, like Brightfunnel, your team can easily show your C-suite the true value of their investment in something like an expensive tradeshow.

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