London recently held its Technology Week and the majority of key companies and players in the industry used varying marketing channels to position and showcase their products, services to the mass market, I decided to visit some of the events to gauge the level of interest at exhibitions and customer events to see exactly how companies were developing business in the current economy.
What I noticed was that all of this pressure on immediate value-creation did accelerate a process that has been underway for some time in the marketing sector. Brands are increasingly making a break with their ad-centric past by re-centering campaign strategy and creative across a variety of mediums.
To drive sales by persuasively engaging marketing-resistant customers in a targeted manner, business-to-business and consumer brands are now giving below-the-line channels such as Web marketing and events an opportunity to originate campaign strategy and creative as well as integrate with other mediums from the bottom up.
As a result, it seems that now is an unprecedented time for marketers to more deeply explore their organisation’s investment in the event marketing discipline and how it drives integration with other marketing channels.
Confronted by a turbulent economic climate and the changing ways in which audiences consume and are influenced by media to make purchase decisions, the C-suite and boardrooms of major brands are looking to senior marketing and sales executives as a source for innovative new strategy. They are looking for measurable ROI on every investment.
Face-to-face interaction continues to be the reason respondents attribute to event marketing’s high ROI rating and overwhelmingly so. Face-to-face interactions are essential in forming customer relationships as they provide the kind of in-depth customer insight, trust building and immediacy about a brand that drives top-line performance.
By correlating marketing investment to its business impact instead of narrowly focusing on the success of the marketing tactic alone, marketers not only more easily secure investment for their programs but are able to create more targeted and effective programs in the process.
Event marketing is a discipline that seeks to evolve from the simple “features and benefits” sales dynamic that characterises most event marketing into more comprehensive and compelling interactions that physically, intellectually and emotionally involve audiences in the demonstration of the brand promise. The result is a powerful increase in the depth and volume of brand differentiation, conversion and loyalty.
Today’s business leaders have charged marketers to invest in areas that both drive revenue and build the brand – a challenging mandate as consumers and business buyers stretch out the purchase cycle, demand personalization and reject mass marketing.
In light of these realities, what is most important in this pressure-filled environment are relationships. Based on trust and intimacy, personal affiliations with brands, products, services and fundamentally between the people behind them are catalysts to business growth.
Senior executives clearly believe that events provide sound ROI but it’s up to event marketers to improve on this perception even further by ensuring executives’ agreement on ROI methodology and communicating those measures in language that more effectively articulates the validity and impact of the metrics.
Developing more efficient communication and measurement systems are thus the twin imperatives of today’s marketer. Those who do so successfully will achieve greater success for themselves and their organisation by becoming a force of profitable change.