Event Tech & Business

Event Marketing: All you need To Know

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What Is Event Marketing?

Event marketing is the promotion of a product, brand, or service through in-person interactions. There are many forms of event marketing and each can be catered to address a marketer’s specific goals. A company can host its own event, building stronger relationships with its prospects and customers. A company can attend an event as an exhibitor and introduce their product to potential clients. Online events, such as webinars or live streamed workshops, vary in scope and prove to be just as impactful as live events. Whatever the format, event marketing is a versatile and incredibly effective strategy that builds long-term value upon relationships with clients and partners alike.

Why Event Marketing?

At its core, marketing is communication. It is the ability to clearly convey a message at the opportune time. Live events provide the opportunity for one to connect directly with stakeholders and clearly communicate their message. It’s no wonder that event marketing continues to grow as one of the most important marketing strategies for today’s big companies.

According to Forrester Research, events make up for 24% of the B2B marketing budget.


Types of Events

Improved technology combined with the growing need of events has resulted in a wide range of event types. Having a firm understanding of each type of event will help event marketers determine which ones align most closely their specific goals. Below is a thorough but by no means an exhaustive list of event types.

1) Conferences
These large-scale events make up a significant portion of the events industry. Conferences can be either B2B or B2C and usually have a schedule filled with engaging speakers, educational workshops, and valuable networking sessions. The most successful conferences are the ones that balance a professional environment with an energetic, social atmosphere.


2) Trade Shows
Trade shows are also very large in scale, hosting thousands of attendees from all over the world. These events are usually held within a specific industry and give companies the opportunity to exhibit their products and services. Trade shows are the ideal setting for collecting qualified sales leads that have a higher probability of converting to customers. Whereas conferences are usually open to the public, trade show attendees often must be pre-screened buyers, company representatives, or press.

3) Seminars
Seminars usually take place in a more intimate setting and are heavily focused on educating attendees. The smaller group of attendees allows for more in-depth discussions and valuable knowledge sharing. Seminars usually last one day and often times only for a few hours.

4) Roundtables
Similar to seminars, roundtables also have a specific educational goal in mind. Roundtables can vary in size but are usually smaller in scope. These events are often times set in a more intimate setting, giving each attendee the opportunity to contribute to the conversation. Roundtables are usually comprised of higher level executives such as CEOs or CMOs, which provides a much more concentrated networking opportunity for attendees.

5) Summits
While most events are open to the public, summits are on the opposite end of the spectrum. Summits are often times exclusively reserved for the highest level executives, industry leaders, and government officials. This is where the big ideas are discussed and major deals are transacted. Summits are a bit smaller in scope due to their high profile nature and consist of very important speakers.

6) Virtual Events
Virtual events are ideal for companies that may not have the resources to host a full-scale live event and for companies that cannot afford to travel to an international conference. Virtual events allow people to participate from all over the world and strive for a more globalized and diverse group of attendees. As the technology for virtual and augmented reality continue to evolve at a rapid pace, virtual events may quickly become a mainstream form of live events.

7) Hybrid Events
An event may have elements of both in-person interaction and online engagement. Such hybrid events provide versatile functionality and gives event organizers the freedom to stretch the limits of the event, both in terms of scope and reach. For example, for the annual Google I/O conference in 2016, the Google team decided to provide a live 360 degree video stream of the keynote speech. The 360 video technology allowed attendees to not only listen to the keynote but also feel like they were present at the event. Hybrid events create a heightened experience for both in-person and virtual attendees.

How to Measure Event Marketing Success

In order to maximize the impact of event marketing strategies, it’s necessary to set the right goals and utilize relevant KPI’s. Defining and measuring event success is just as important as the event itself. Below are a list of ways to articulate event marketing goals followed by nine metrics to properly measure event ROI, helping to ensure continued success.


Before diving into the specific KPI’s, it is worth mentioning the S.M.A.R.T. acronym to help you better understand how to achieve event marketing success. Defining goals with this method will help you reach your desired results in the most efficient way possible.


Specific: The more specific you are when articulating your event goals, the closer you will be to achieving them. Asking detailed questions can be a great way to come up with comprehensive answers.

Measurable: Specific goals are all the more effective when they can be quantified because you are then able to measure their direct impact. Easily measurable factors like costs and revenue are the best way to answer the question, “How will I know that my goals have been achieved?”

Achievable:  Keeping in mind the difference between ambitious and unrealistic, make sure to set goals that are able to be reached but never out of reach. You should set a goal that you think you and your team will reach 50% of the time if you had to repeat the event. You can set an additional “reach goal” that you think can be reached 10% of the time, which would serve as motivation for you and your team.

Results-Oriented: Goals should measure results, not activities. While it might be helpful to send 50 individual emails to prospective event sponsors, a better goal would be to secure a hard commitment from 5 event sponsors within the next 6 months.

Time-Bound: All goals should have subsequent deadlines. Create a timeline for your goals and analyze how they will develop over different points in time.