10 Things I Hate About Event Marketing: How to Deliver Results (Part 1)

The nature of delivering an authentic and memorable brand experience continues to evolve year after year. Brands want to create and execute true, content-rich, relevant, and shareable big ideas. For all of us in the fast-paced and audience-driven world who are tasked with executing these experiences, this represents a massive opportunity.

At Elevate, we continually evangelize the benefits of face-to-face marketing as a major driver in delivering a brand experience.

  • 70% of users become regular customers after an experiential marketing event
  • Event Marketing usually consumes 20 – 25% of a company’s marketing budget
  • The event industry will grow by 44% from 2010 to 2020.
  • 74% of event attendees say that they have a more positive opinion about the company, brand, product or service being promoted after the event
  • 98% of users feel more inclined to purchase after attending an activation.

Event marketing requires immense planning, and while the work of engaging consumersface-to-face is largely an enjoyable one, there are certain aspects of the process that are harder than others. As a staffing and execution partner, it is our job to lock arms with our clients to ensure we can deliver an effective and impactful brand experience. And we want to help make those challenging aspects easier for everyone.


10 Things That Might Give Event Marketers a Headache

Here are 10 things related to executing marketing events that we have been told are especially painful for our clients – and yes, we have heard the “hate” word.

#1: The Up-front Work: Briefing

Understanding the campaign’s objectives and vision from the offset is the first integral step to success. Without a clear understanding of what it is we need to achieve, we’d be opening ourselves to risk of failure. So, this part comes in two stages – clarifying your objective with your entire team, then setting up a crystal-clear brief for yourself and your partners.

Set objectives by asking key questions

  • What’s the up-stream business challenge?
  • What perception do we want to reinforce or change?
  • What’s the core consumer insight at the heart of the creative concept?


How to brief your partners

  • Clearly define R&Rs
  • Set clear timelines and milestones
  • Details, details, details! Leave nothing to chance and ensure everyone is on the same page.


#2: The Financials: Accurate Budgeting and Forecasting

Once you’ve set out a clear and detailed brief, you need to make sure this is achievable financially. Then, start the process by setting these financial expectations with leadership, or, if you are with an agency, the end client. If the existing budget isn’t going to get your company or the client what they want, be clear about it and give options.

Event execution budgeting tips

  • Set out a clear SOW
  • Assign the right suppliers and set clear R&Rs
  • Build out accurate and detailed budgets – stay away from “estimates”
  • Offer scalable options (additional wish lists)
  • Have a contingency for unforeseen costs

#3: Quantifying Value

In this third step, your company or agency will set clear, achievable, and measurable KPIs.

Experiential campaign measurement is integral because without it you can’t show ROI. At Elevate, without measurement in place we can’t show delivery against targets, and our clients can’t sell a success story that ultimately helps grow business and revenue.

NFL player and coach Vince Lombardi once said, “If you’re not keeping score, you’re just practicing.”

Tips to establish KPIs

  • Understand event marketing objectives, both from a team and from a business perspective. For an agency, we always want to help our clients avoid professional risk
  • Establish clear goals collectively with your team and partners
  • Set parameters and targets that can be measured in a tangible way
  • Define key metrics or performance indicators in a way that makes sense for your client and the brand experience
  • Establish how to define ROI and what success looks like


Long-term KPIs

While some event campaigns are finite, the outcomes don’t have to be. Don’t let results live and die with the experience. Build in KPIs related to tracking success beyond the event footprint and build in mechanisms to continue the conversation with attendees long after the event. This can be through email marketing, social media, and multiple other avenues.

Other amplification tips

  • Use events to generate content. Create an event component where attendees are encouraged to take photos, video, provide testimonials, etc. and then share on their social channels.
  • Hire a professional to take event photos and video for additional content and promotion on company channels
  • Create a case study or other materials to use success as a sales tool to win future work

In addition to building in ways to amplify the experience, apply a “learn and evolve” mentality to continually improve future campaigns.

#4: Leadership/Client Management and Challenges

It’s the nature of events that things go “wrong.” It’s very rare that everything goes perfectly to plan, on time, and to exact specifications. So being able to manage expectations (internally with leadership and with the client in an agency environment) is critical.

Managing expectations – before the event

  • Set deadlines & parameters
  • Expect delays – allow for margins of error within your timeline vs client-facing timeline
  • Be open and honest if something becomes unachievable
  • Document everything


Managing expectations – live

  • Allow for a dry run
  • Keep a “stage door mentality” – don’t let leadership/clients get involved in the nuance of small inconveniences, problems or changes. Direct them toward the big picture of what is going well and all that is being accomplished
  • Set a chain of command and clear communications – establish roles and responsibilities (from directors through to crew)

#5: People

Embrace the human connection. People can make or break a campaign – the event staff working with attendees and interacting with clients and leadership have immense power. On the other side, how attendees perceive your campaign and messaging determines your marketing success.

So how do we get this right? First, make your event human. Take the time to get into the minds of the target demographic and understand what makes them tick. Executing a successful event and designing effective messaging means:

  • Know who you’re talking to. Tailor your message to your specific audience, taking into consideration local differences
  • Deliver an experience that is valuable. It’s not all about your company – give attendees something they want.
  • Leave a lasting impression. Provide a memorable experience that reinforces your brand value and messaging.
  • Make the venue count. How can you use the event location to your advantage?


The power of people (and event staffing)

  • Don’t underestimate the power of “the human touch” to communicate your message and heighten the experience
  • According to 80% of attendants, live demonstrations and free samples significantly help define their purchasing decision. Choosing the people who are delivering this message/experience is of the utmost importance.
  • Make your staff feel a part of the brand to get truly authentic engagements and optimal results.

#6: Moving the Goal Posts (to be continued…)

Join us in a few weeks for elements 6 – 10, further detailing what our clients hate about executing brand events. In the meantime, subscribe to our blog for more great content related to event staffing, event marketing, and brand activation.

Author: Carina FilekCarina Filek is the Global COO at Elevate Staffing. When she's not innovating the business function or leading operations, she can be found at home in London with a canvas and paint brush in hand.


Experiential Brand Activation for Nonprofits, National Geographic Turns Event Attendees into Astronauts, & the Importance of Multi-Sensory Experiences (Elevate Connect)


UK Brand Ambassador of the Month: Sam S.

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