Here’s my interpretation of some of their key findings:
68% of B2B companies rate events as important. Clearly still a valued marketing channel for a lot of companies. Top 2 reasons for running events, in order, are education and lead generation. Showing again how important it is to deliver a quality audience to sponsors and a strong educational opportunity for delegates.
Educational events included classes, workshops, training, seminars, and conferences. Some what conspicuously missing in my opinion are webinars or online/distant learning, this is an ever growing option for many B2B companies trying to reach time (and cost) sensitive executives.
Non-Profits host more conferences than B2B and B2C companies combined. Combined with the fact (also in the report) that most companies don’t charge for events (59% of B2B’s never charge), it highlights the need for paid events to deliver a superior networking and educational experience.
The top five promotional channels are not surprising: Email, own website, word of mouth, mail and phone calls. The phone came in only 5% more than social media, yet almost 60% said they rely on social media, showing the growing importance of being part of the conversation and integrating social media into your communication mix. The top five also show how important a solid database remains to event marketers, but interesting that database didn’t rate a mention in the report.
47% still use direct mail – Which is very surprising given the news USPS looks to be in financial trouble and the falling response rates of direct mail. Either, a lot of event marketers are sticking with this tried and tested channel or they fear replacing it with newer online channels or those online channels still aren’t delivering a strong enough response.
Only 11% use blogging? This is staggering… but probably highlights a broader content or thought leadership challenge faced by most event marketers.
Perhaps most interestingly (but not surprisingly and somewhat repetitive) the top 5 challenges for event marketers:
1. Getting people to respond to invites
2. Getting people to pay attention to invites
3. Minimizing no-shows
4. Getting people to the event
5. Confirming who’s attending
So the challenge for all event marketers is the same, getting qualified executives to attend your event. Making it happen is part art, part science and all marketing! A quality product, with great messaging delivered via a multi-channel marketing plan.