Event Marketing: How to Maximize B2B Event Marketing ROI


event marketing maximize

Introduction to Event Marketing

Consumers today are often overwhelmed with all the offers, services, products and opportunities being thrown at them.

Businesses are aware of this highly competitive market and do not hesitate to fling countless pitches to try and lure potential buyers. In order to stand out, the benchmark has been raised, and brands must provide qualitative and appealing ways to catch the consumer’s attention. Event marketing is one of the most effective methods businesses use to connect with customers. Along with this, it also boosts revenues – 83% of brands say that event marketing has consistently increased their sales.

What is Event Marketing?

Event marketing is the process of developing an exhibit, presentation or display to showcase a service, product, brand or cause by making the most of in-person engagement. The strategy appears to be effective for businesses: 95% of marketers believe that in-person events can help achieve business goals.

However, just because event-based marketing focuses on in-person engagement, it doesn’t have to require physical liaising. Events can be carried out in several formats, online or offline, webinars, seminars, conferences, or even lunches, to engage with current and potential customers. Marketing events give customers a first-hand interaction with a brand and an opportunity to comprehend a company’s initiative, voice and perspective.

Consumer habits have changed, and people are more scrutinous in their decision making, often preferring to give themselves time to ponder which choice best suits them amid a wide array of potential candidates. Consequently, marketers must be ready to leverage these events to build relationships, trust and confidence with potential clients.

While some businesses may stall at the potential costs of event marketing strategies, the benefits are palpable. Effective marketing strategies can help enterprises build brand presence, develop leads, promote new projects and launches and increase customer engagement. It isn’t just customers who can be wooed by a proficient event marketing plan either – partners and sponsors can see that their investments are worthwhile through successful B2B event marketing activities.

How Do You Develop An Event Marketing Strategy?

The event or service you want to promote must be tied to your business objectives. Physical, in-person events like conferences, seminars, or product launches, are traditionally the more grandiose way to showcase a brand. Still, ever since Covid-19, there has been a stark rise in what was initially seen as a more cost-effective option: online events such as webinars, virtual events and live streaming. However, the return to in-person events is inevitable, so brands must note which type of event best suits their needs.

Here are some of the best practices when elaborating an event marketing strategy.

01. Set measurable goals and review your objectives

Marketing activities are rarely impulsive actions. As with most initiatives, event marketing plans should begin with a list of broken-down objectives and goals that are measurable. Tracking and measuring the success of your event will be a vital stage later on in the process, so it is important to establish early on how these targets will be measured.

Here, marketing and sales teams should determine, for example, if they wish to increase brand awareness or focus on lead generation and targeting prospects.

02. Have a coherent theme

Just as important as it is to set measurable goals, marketers must create events that reflect their brand and the message they want to convey. This is why it is important to research events to decide whether it is worth using your company´s budget in preparing the event and if the potential ROI will warrant the resources spent.

03. Prepare research for your event

When hosting an event, you need to make as good an impression as possible. This requires gathering as much information on guests, speakers and the costs of an event to justify if it’s worth it or not. Event marketing research is key to ensuring there’s a market, to better understand your audience, and to help establish your role in the event, KPIs and potential ROIs.

04. Target the right audience

The success of a marketing campaign is tied to identifying the right audience. People who are interested in your event must be able to access information about it or learn of its existence on multiple channels. Even listing platforms are efficient ways of delivering digital presence to both physical and digital events. Event planners can list their events on these listing platforms to enhance visibility and allow themselves to be discovered by potential customers and attendees.

05. Set a budget

The amount of available budget can affect many aspects of corporate event planning, from the selection of the venue, to the catering, staffing, technology and speakers. Internal revenues need to be approved and it is important to be able to convince CFOs that the allocated budgets will deliver positive ROIs. Additionally, external revenues can also come from sponsors. Budgets must be allocated flexibly to be prepared for unanticipated expenditures. Detail must be put to include contingency funds as well as supplier costs.

06. Establish content and management tactics

Once the theme and objectives are set, you should prepare your marketing content and schedule. This is where you need to highlight the key messages and the narrative of your event. Only when it is clear what content you want to portray should you take the next steps and create an event website and start promoting the event.

07. Create the event site

More than ever, it is vital to have a strong and coherent digital presence. An event website is the place where your targeted attendees can make the decision to become real attendees. By providing a website that delivers a positive user-experience, you can increase expectations of your event. Focus on how your event can be beneficial to attendees, and make these benefits and offerings clear to potential attendees on your site.

08. Plan email campaigns for your event

Whether it’s for a virtual or an in-person event, creating an email marketing strategy with several emails over a specified period of time can help keep your audience engages. Nurture email campaigns seek to nudge recipients towards a targeted action, such as registering for your event, with each message. It’s important to spread your emails out evenly and to not flood inboxes. Equally, emails should be segmented to be as personalised as possible according to a prospect’s profile, such as location, job description or industry vertical.

09. Prepare social media and other collateral

From social media campaigns, event website, registration processes, and elevator pitches to brochures, promoting your event in the right places and leveraging the presence of your attendees. Before transitioning from a development phase to actually carrying out the event, these elements must be in check. It is best to create segments and establish several touch-points when promoting an event and to have all the necessary channels prepared to connect with attendees during the event.

10. Make sure you are using the best event marketing technology

Even as businesses return to physical events, there has been a shift when it comes to using technology to assist in their B2B event marketing strategies. For example, virtual event marketing platforms allow businesses to gather online and be part of a conference, meeting or trade show without having to physically attend a venue. Event intelligence platforms let businesses gather data before, during and after events, to help in their decision-making, as well as incorporate marketing automation systems to automate tracking and monitoring.

11. Set up the measurement to monitor KPI’s

Different events may have diverse KPIs, but in general, event marketing coordinators want to look out for event registrations, lists of attendees and leads. Having researched the potential leads that can be made from an event, the foundations should be set to determine how many opportunities were created and the cost per opportunity, in order to clarify if there is a positive ROI or not.

The Importance of Researching Events: Data-Driven Decisions for Finding Prospects and Competitors

B2B Events are one of the highest-performing channels for any marketing team. But how can you actually prove this?

As much as it is a qualitative form of increasing customer and partner engagement, it is often too easy to place event marketing as a “slow-burning” approach that is difficult to measure. This ambiguity can be a CMO’s biggest enemy when trying to convince a CFO to increase the yearly budget allocated to event marketing strategies.

Event marketing opens new channels and mediums for brands to connect and engage with consumers and other businesses. When researching events and profiling prospects, event marketers can leverage tools that collect customer data and allows marketers to deliver personalized treatment. 73% of event planners believe that personalisation and data-driven marketing is a priority in their event marketing strategy.

But data-driven approaches go beyond the delivery of personalised information to customers. Marketers must have a data-driven mindset in every stage of their event planning. 

When planning an event marketing calendar, marketing teams must deliver a data-driven strategic plan. The budgets they have must be spent on the right events that can deliver a proven ROI that can be an incentive when it comes to requesting better budgets in the following year or quarter.

Data-driven decision making must be made from the beginning. This includes using data insights when deciding what events to go for. Attending annual events out of habit, supposed prestige or just for the sake of attending, is not only pointless, but it can also be a burden on a marketing team’s budget.

Event marketers should seek events that deliver measurable results. A good way to begin is to build an ROI calculator to help determine a set number of prospects in order to make the event worthwhile.

Here is an example: If your average deal is work $10,000 and you expect your sales team to close 10% of their opportunities, each opportunity is subsequently worth $1,000.

So, if tickets and travel costs are $3,000 for each sales representative, each rep must produce at least 3 new opportunities just to break even.

Each business can establish its own objectives. At Vendelux, we recommend only considering events that have the potential for at least 3x ROI.

Therefore, once you know how much each sales opportunity from an event is worth to your business, you need to calculate the costs to attend or sponsor an event and determine if it is actually worth it.

The final step is to make a data-driven decision regarding the number of prospects your sales team can realistically engage with at the event. This will require profiling the speakers, sponsors and attendees at the event and determining how many of these prospects fit the selection criteria each sales representative is targeting.

Follow-Lists can help you stay in the loop of the events other businesses and potential businesses are going to attend.

Exploring events is only part of the data-driven decision making you can do. Event marketers can also use platforms to find better ways to reach their customers. Vendelux lets marketers discover the top events related to their industry and as well as follow their prospects, potential partners and competitors. By accessing this information, event marketers can build the ideal B2B marketing event plan for their company.

Arduous as it may seem, this aspect of field marketing is an efficient way of ensuring whether you are actually choosing the right events to attend or sponsor and if your budget is being allocated wisely.

Planning Your Event: Tools to Help You Plan Your Event

The event marketing lifecycle can be broken down into three phases: Exploration, execution and evaluation.

The exploration phase is vital. If poor decisions are made during this stage, money, time and resources can be wasted. This is why it is so important to adequately research events before deciding to jump into the fray.

Once companies have researched and decided where they want to go and who they want to send from their organisations, the next step is to try to maximise their impact while they are at the event during the execution stage, and ultimately measure ROI during the evaluation phase. The more efficient the planning phase, the easier the execution and evaluation.

Corporate event planning is no easy task. It’s a process that can require a lengthy process and numerous organisational steps. So, how can you make event planning easier?

Digitalisation has transformed event marketing, and businesses have had to adapt to new processes and technologies to reach out to partners and customers. Nonetheless, digital tools are also available to help businesses plan events efficiently. Here we show 7 digital tools that can help businesses carry out best practices in corporate event marketing.

01. Event Intelligence Platforms

With the events landscape changing since the COVID pandemic and businesses seeking new ways to interact and generate leads, businesses can find the right help to determine the right events with the best potential leads to invest their time and resources in. Event Intelligence Platforms like Vendelux help businesses create strong pre-event plans and protocols to make data-driven, and wise choices in their event planning.

02. Event Management Software

Event planners can use event management tools to manage the planning and process of meetings and events, including the marketing activities, attendee registration, venue management and calendar generation. Event management software can automate the marketing, registration, scheduling and coordination of these events, with some also incorporating event ticketing software.

03. Design Tools

With so much competition, it can often be overwhelming to come up with innovative designs and creative ideas to help you in your event planning. Social media and image sharing platforms like Pinterest offer inspiring visual content, tips and guides to help planners elaborate event themes, menu choices, visual elements and locations.

Inspiration isn’t the only thing design teams are looking for. Graphic design tools like Canva or Visme can also help design teams create visuals for different channels in order to showcase their event.

04. Event Budget Management Tools

Budget planning can be complex. Sophisticated budgeting tools can help businesses track expenses easily, generate budget reports, recalculate variable costs and budget surplus and help demonstrate the ROI of your event while ensuring data integrity

05. Customer Engagement and Social Media Management Tools

Marketers need to seek attendee engagement during their events and promote, showcase and monitor their participation and the views of their attendees.

Mobile event apps like EventMobi can help businesses create engaging material such as polls, surveys or gamification tactics to interact with attendees.

Attendee feedback can also be monitored on social media management platforms can help planners monitor an attendee’s social media activity across numerous networks. It can be a useful tool to target audiences and schedule posts across platforms.

06. Project Management Tools

For event planners, there are multiple facets of an event planning strategy that requires tracking and organisation. Online project management platforms can automate task assignments, resource allocations and milestone tracking for the different phases of an event or project and can be integrated with different departments within an organisation.

07. Hybrid Event Software

Hybrid Event tools help businesses manage events that combine in-person activities with virtual, online components. This way, audiences can attend and engage in any type of event regardless of where they are.

How to Maximise Your Event ROI:

There are many perks to attending marketing events, but there is one crucial question that needs to be asked when an event is finalised. “Did we make more money than we spent?”

Successful businesses often find themselves in situations where they need to maintain their growth with new lead generation opportunities.

Events are the perfect environment for this. However, with COVID initially halting and then reducing the number of in-person events, the ambiguity surrounding which events are now the best to attend has only increased.

Businesses have to figure out where their targeted audiences are congregating in this new landscape. 90% of B2B event organisers say that reaching a new audience and securing new sponsors are two significant challenges they face. Simply scanning through previous attendee lists of past events isn’t enough, because businesses are acting, and previous events do not always have the most current potential partners.

Additionally, online events have opened the scope for even more potential leads, due to the fact that distance is no longer a boundary, and businesses from anywhere can attend an event. 80% of event organisers have reached a wider audience with virtual events. So, with so many potential partners to bolster your ROIs, how can you filter them from all the available events?

Event Intelligence Platforms like Vendelux can provide vital assistance in pre-event planning and in targeting the best events and prospects to follow. With these platforms, event marketers can discover new conferences that they were unaware of and receive alerts whenever current or potential clients along with competitors are going to specific events.

Discovering the right events is only one of the steps to maximising your ROI, as there is also a need platform provides access to a proprietary database of over 30,000 global trade shows, B2B conferences and local meetups so that marketers can compare attendee insights and sponsorship packages to negotiate the best deals for them.

By carefully researching and discovering the ideal events and packages for your business needs, the foundation is set to create the optimal event strategy and plan your annual calendar with clear insights to manage your budgets and drive your event marketing ROI.

In addition to finding the right events to participate in, Vendelux’s Event Intelligence Platform can also help business foment their pre-event protocol. Marketing and sales teams are encouraged to contact top prospects in the lead-up to events in order to attract their interest ahead of competitors.

When trying to pitch a message to find leads and prospects, the importance of personalisation couldn’t be stressed more. Automated emails that are clear templates with little effort to deliver personalised information are unlikely to attract the attention of top prospects. That is why businesses can leverage all the data, such as the tech stack, Vendelux’s platform provides on these prospects to create rapport, have a subject to focus your pitch on and improve your conversion rate.

Tips to Bear in Mind With Maximising Event Marketing ROI

01. Always have ROI in mind

It seems basic, but many businesses fall into the trap and attending events for the wrong reasons without carefully thinking if it is actually worth it. By having a defined objective, and target audiences, it is easier to design a plan to deliver the best outcomes. This is why researching and targeting the best events for your is so vital.

02. Ask yourself if an event is really what you need

Events are beneficial for businesses. 83% of brands state that event participation helps them increase sales, 64% of event attendees say they have a more positive opinion about a company after seeing it promoted in an event, and 64% of markets see events as an optimal way to source new prospects and business opportunities .

However, having defined their objectives, businesses must consider if and when events are really the most cost-effective route to achieve specific goals.

Events can provide quality leads, face-to-face engagement with prospects and the opportunity to educate potential clients and sponsors around more complex propositions. So if they find the right event, businesses can leverage it so find great opportunities, but only if the right audiences are there to listen to them.

03. If you are ready to go to an event, determine what type of event suits you

There are many different types of events, from Seminars, to conferences, dinners, webinars or trade shows etc. When deciding the best format to use, businesses must always keep in mind their target audiences and objectives. Whichever type of event can best make the right people attend and engage with your team, the better chance you have of creating prospects and improving your ROI. Sometimes smaller seminars can be better than flashy larger events, if there is a higher number of quality prospects attending.

04. Scrutinise your budget and work on project management

It can be easy to drift off budget when adding extra details to an event plan. It is imperative to keep actions and budgets on track to gain a positive ROI. Many businesses turn to budget and project management software to help coordinate responsibilities across teams and invest in the right areas to earn the best results.

05. Promote your event efficiently

Even when a project’s objectives are clear, and businesses are aware that they need to promote their events, marketing coordinators must clarify the messaging of their event to highlight their offering and the benefits attendees and prospects will get from going to this event. Event promotion should clearly state who can be interested in the event, why they should attend it and what value the event has.

Event websites are an ideal place to state this information and allow prospects to register. Target web visitors with cost efficient campaigns such as email, online banners, social media, blog posts and PR to name a few.

06. Track no shows

Event management software can help automate part of the registration processes and send email reminders to attendees to confirm if they are going to attend to the event or not. This saves precious time and resources, as sales team do not have to personally follow up on all customers who have registered to confirm their attendance. Instead, they can focus on key prospects for whom they might want to call to understand their interests better. Additionally, businesses save up on space and services reserved for people who are not going to come to the event.

Sales teams shouldn’t discard no-shows completely however, as these registrations can still be used in email nurturing campaigns for future events and projects.

07. Measure, evaluate and act after the event

When an event has finished, it is key to evaluate all the data insights that have been collected by staff to get a detailed view of the success of the event. This includes counting your leads and qualitative and quantitative feedback from sponsors, attendees and participants. Sales teams need to be informed on these leads to follow up on them while these potential leads need to be measured against the event invoices to evaluate the ROI.

08. Recycle your materials

A lot of time, resources and effort are put into producing an event. Materials that have been used in an event can be reused in future marketing campaigns. This includes posting content from the event online as podcasts, blog posts or white papers that require registration to generate leads. Customer testimonials and success stories can also be used to promote your brand and checklists, follow lists and processes that have been elaborated during the research phase can be used for future events too.

09. Let technology help you

Organising an event can be a difficulty task, and businesses shouldn’t fret when looking for tools and platforms that can help the same time and resources. However, it is a highly competitive market and businesses must choose the right software or platforms that can help them make the best decisions when developing an event marketing strategy.

To do so, businesses must seek platforms that cater to their needs and allow them to find the best events and prospects so they can use their money wisely. Even when looking at candidates, it is recommended to look solutions that offer demos and free trials so they can see for themselves if the solution fits their needs. If a tool offers solutions to a challenge a business is facing, then there should be little hesitancy in turning to these platforms to improve their event marketing strategies.

Event Marketing is No Longer a Black Box When it Comes to Proving ROI

Even as in-person events are returning, businesses are still concerned that many conferences and tradeshows may be a waste of time and money. Event success to be common and less risky for businesses, but tools are needed to ensure this success.

Data can justify investments and ROI, and while this can seem quite ambiguous, Vendelux’s Event Marketing Intelligence lets event marketers justify the impact of their work and research the right events to succeed and deliver the positive ROIs their businesses need to thrive in this highly competitive market.

Download the PDF!

Consumers today are often overwhelmed with all the offers, services, products and opportunities being thrown at them. In this Ebook you’ll learn how to develop winning event marketing strategies, how to make the best event decisions backed by data and ultimately maximize your event ROI.


Stefan Deeran

Co-founder and COO of Vendelux, the leading AI platform for event marketers and conference organizers.

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