The Value of Event Marketing
Today’s marketing ecosystem is focused on any number of metrics, analytics and other quantifiable measures of outreach and leads. A marketing professional’s workflow might include charts, graphs and reports with cold numbers—and rightfully so, since these facets of a marketing plan give a marketing professional the data needed to design effective e-blasts, press releases, landing pages, social media posts and other measurable impressions. But as much as these numbers have helped take campaigns to the next level in the digital age, the value of in-person engagement cannot be overlooked.
A 2018 market study by Bizzabo, an event marketing platform, found that 91 percent of overperforming businesses place a greater emphasis on live events than their average and underperforming competitors. In addition, the same study found that 87 percent of C-Suite executives believe live events play an essential role in their company’s success. That’s why live events are one of the most impactful tools we use at Next-Mark to create strong B2B and B2C connections.
Event marketing, also known as experiential marketing, is a type of marketing that includes trade shows, product launches/demos, seminars or grand openings, to name a few. And as we all learned first-hand over the last year and a half, web-based events can also serve as a serviceable placeholder. All of these forms of engagement leverage the power of human interaction to create a more impactful impression on prospective customers and clients, helping to foster a more robust, holistic brand awareness. In short, an event helps our clients show their brand rather than just tell.
At Next-Mark, we pride ourselves on the work we have done, helping clients produce a variety of event marketing initiatives in our home city of Sarasota, Florida and across the nation. Most recently, our Sol of the Circle event series played an integral role in further promoting St. Armands Circle and boosting the destination’s marketing initiatives. As a vibrant cultural center that is part of the illustrious Ringling legacy in the Sarasota region, we felt that a live event series was a perfect opportunity to help develop the brand of the Circle, as a destination for entertainment and recreation across a diverse set of target groups. The series ran through the summer and included monthly live music nights, outdoor yoga activations, unique Family Day events and culminated with Sarasota Arts LIVE, which featured live performances from some of the biggest performance art institutions in Sarasota.
These events aimed to show St. Armands Circle’s target audiences that the Circle is a dynamic venue worth returning to and spending a memorable day among family and friends. The series allowed restaurants, bars and retailers to present a cohesive, unified experience to visitors centered on the sights and sounds of the historic commercial district. The visitors themselves were provided a dynamic, diverse occasion to not only stop at one destination, but also immerse themselves in a culturally meaningful, live experience. A 2016 study by the Event Marketing Institute corroborates the impact of a vibrant live event: 98 percent of event attendees feel more inclined to use a product or service after attending the event, while 84 percent say it gives them a more positive view of the brand, product or service.
Another benefit of event marketing is the ability to attract media coverage from magazines, newspapers, websites and social media influencers. Known as “earned content” in the marketing industry, this kind of coverage signals to your target audience that an objective, third-party entity has found your client’s product, brand or service to be noteworthy. In the case of Sol of the Circle, Next-Mark was able to secure mentions in several publications, including a feature article about the Sarasota Arts LIVE event in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
Looking to the future of marketing trends, the Bizzabo study found that 57 percent of overperforming companies plan on increasing their budget for event marketing. It all goes to show that the digital marketing tools available to us are only one piece of the overall puzzle. Ultimately, humans are social creatures and derive more comprehensive impressions from in-person engagement. Nothing beats the power of a positive live experience.