In years gone by it was deemed de rigueur for companies to fork out a significant portion of the annual budget to attend these high profile, headline grabbing, well attended gatherings. It was less about the overall benefits produced in terms of real sales and revenue – it was the only place to be seen.
Times, me thinks, have changed. Perhaps it’s because budgets aren’t what they used to be, social media and online content offer more bang for your buck, or smaller events are cropping up, offering more focussed and targeted content, but we are now questioning what ROI these big events give.
This was something that has been up for debate for a while now, the benefits of a mega event vs the smaller event with a more targeted audience. As a recent delegate at IP Expo it occurred to me that this year the paradigm has clearly shifted.
IP Expo is a key event for the tech sector, held every October, normally at Excel, which let’s face it is a bit of a pain to get to. Normally the designated space is packed with stands of all shapes and sizes, some big, boastie, bright and brimming with the latest ideas, technology and cool giveaways. You will also find the more understated, less flashy, more cost effective but still confidently resonating a clear message stands, and then around the edges are the new to the market, not much money, stands, that have a harder time being seen or noticed but have to be at the gathering for the chance to network and for credibility’s sake.
All that aside, the point is, well what is the point of a big event anymore? And do they represent good ROI? Whilst they may gobble up a lot of budget, for what may not always be a list of hot leads, they do place your brand up with your competitors, give you the chance to showcase your products and create experiences, and with strong keynote sessions, they offer fantastic learning potential. And with what they lack, well, that’s where the smaller events fit in…
What we have consistently found however over the past 2 or 3 years is that our clients, with budgets healthy or squeezed, are increasingly hosting events that appeal to a specific target audience, have message and content that the audience wants to know about and that message is delivered by a respected speaker in an exciting venue. Not only that, the audience engagement both during the event and afterwards in the follow-up, consistently offer strong leads and overall rapport to begin building a worthwhile working relationship.
As 2018 hovers on the horizon and planners plan and allocate budgets for the year ahead, it would be worth researching and comparing different types of events before committing to the biggie. By combining your presence at a few top events with your own targeted events you’ll be maximising your chance at a top event ROI.
If you’d like to chat with us in more detail about our experience of events that work well and how it should be just one strand of your successful marketing strategy then please get in touch.