When you hear the words marketing content, you might think of a web page, an e-book, a whitepaper or a blog post. Maybe even something printed. An event isn't the first thing that comes to mind, but it's irrefutably true: events are content. There's good reason why events aren't usually associated with modern day digital content marketing: Events are famously difficult to report and measure, hence hard to manage from a data-driven standpoint and because of all this, hopelessly siloed away from the other marketing efforts and channels.
Despite these obvious issues, events tend to swallow the biggest portion of any marketing budget. Companies and organisations believe in the power of successful events, despite not quite being able to use data to pinpoint why.
How can we get the biggest bang for the buck from our events, the same way we do with other marketing content? How can the impact of an event be measured? Here's a list of five things to consider!
1) Narrow your target group down
The whole point of content marketing is to offer timely and relevant content to a very specific target group. This should, of course, be the whole point considering ALL marketing, but when it comes to events there's a lot of work to be done. More often than not, the success of an event is determined based on attendance figures: the more, the merrier. This indicator gives us zero information about the quality and relevance of the target group. Instead, take the plunge and really zero in on those people who are the most interesting to you - even if doing so makes your invitation list look frighteningly short. Precision engineer your event content to produce maximum value and interest for that tiny group - that tiny group is your buyer persona. To provide a little bit of everything to please everyone will only leave event participants feeling lukewarm and indifferent. Remember, we're trying to make an impact here.
2) Place your event on the customer journey
Your prospects and clients all make that journey: awareness, consideration, decision, retention and all those little steps in between. Each journey is unique, and the person should be served content and tools to help gently guide them towards a purchase decision. Which step on the way there does your event represent? Are you organising an educational event to help raise awareness of your services in a completely untapped target group? Or are you throwing a party for existing customers, in order to strengthen your bond with them? What these two examples have in common is the usual process of creating, managing and producing an event but the event content (and communication around it!) needs to be wildly different.
3) Pay attention to continuity and consistency
Once the correct placement on the customer journey has been determined, it's time to have a look at the event as a piece of content. How does your event support your message? Does it bear relevancy regarding the themes you work with in your marketing process as a whole? More often than not, an event comes into the world as a completely separate project that doesn't have much to do with the rest of the marketing strategy. Sad but true, this is often the case when a third party is commissioned to produce a fabulous event. The end product can be the most beautiful event that leaves lasting memories, but the investment is wasted anyway because neither the event nor the event communication tie in with the story marketing is trying to tell as a continuum. Continuity and consistency are the two legs that marketing stands on, let's remember this with events too.
4) What's the next point of conversion?
What happens when the event is over? Thank you messages and feedback requests are already a staple in any company's event communication plan, but that's where it usually ends. The energy from the impact of the event can (and should) be directed towards the next step on the customer journey. That's why the next conversion is so important, and you decide what it should be. You could, for example, invite the person or the target group to another event, or you could offer them som other type of content about the things that piqued their interest at your previous event.
5) Get your metrics and indicators in order
We already determined that a full house does not automatically equal a successful event. Other indicators of success are needed, and they depend on the purpose of your event. Many businesses claim that they measure event success in revenue generated at or by the event. Personally, I have my doubts...How many companies can commit to monitoring the results from a single event three, six or twelve months on? A discussion started at an event can sometimes evolve into a closed deal months, maybe even years later. In these cases, event reporting and measuring needs to be very consistent and persistent and that requires serious commitment from several people or departments.
But don't despair! Any numerical indicator is a better starting point for measuring event success than just guesswork. Instead of incoming euros, your measuring unit could be e.g. that next conversion point mentioned in the previous paragraph.
I'll finish with a sixth bonus tip: If and when you want to dive deeper into the pool of event metrics and event process development, download this free guide to get you started!