Most companies in the financial markets and FinTech space incorporate events such as industry conferences, roundtables, briefings and client outings into their annual marketing plans.
But despite the expensive price tag, a strategy and/or a campaign around events is often neglected, making it an overlooked and often unsuccessful marketing activity.
Over the years I have had many conversations with employers and clients who questioned the cost of developing marketing collateral, printing, print and online advertising, developing videos or ‘canned demos’ for their systems and looking for cost/benefit rationale on every spend.
However, conferences and events have tended to receive different treatment, with in-depth analysis rarely happening before an event and almost never afterwards.
Why do you need an events ‘programme’?
If you were to run an online advertising campaign for £15,000, what would you expect to get from it in terms of brand awareness, client / prospect interaction or financial return on investment? If you have answers to these questions, then why should your approach to events expenditure be any different?
With budgets more squeezed than ever but improved technology making it easy to keep clients up-to-date with the most relevant information around your activities, an events programme should be an important lead generator and customer engagement tool – not a day out of the office. It should take the same priority as a new product campaign.
My next post will outline the key elements to include when devising an events programme, but before considering any detail of what’s involved there is one fundamental requirement that I would wholly recommend.
Have a dedicated events person.
By this I mean someone specifically accountable for overseeing the global schedule, marketing and execution of your events – everything from delegate to sponsorship participation at industry conferences or your own client events. So often this function is passed around the office, added to an assistant’s to-do list or delegated to a junior sales rep with very little thought given to anything other than logistics.
However, with one person overseeing your company’s overall event activities, external organisers know who to contact for information, so events tend to run more smoothly because nothing is missed on the assumption that someone else has taken care of it.
More importantly it puts your company in a better position to plan in advance, manage resources, negotiate discounts and to have a strategy to ensure the best value for money for what is often the company’s most significant marketing spend.