What is Event Marketing?

Chapter 2

Why are Companies Using Event Marketing?

Branding and Awareness

74% of event attendees say that they have a more positive opinion about the company, brand or service being promoted after the event

One of the biggest reasons companies participate in, or host, an event is to establish and build their brand name and identity. With the increasingly fierce competition in almost every industry, being able to differentiate yourself is crucial.

You may choose to participate in specific marketing events to associate with the host’s name and ecosystem, to gain access to a highly targeted audience, or show off your brand’s personality.

Let’s take a look at some different events and why a brand would choose to participate:

  • Dreamforce: you want to penetrate the Salesforce ecosystem. You’re trying to sell to their target market and customers.
  • The Super Bowl: you want your brand name to reach a broad audience and associate with some of the biggest names in advertising.
  • Fashion Week: you’re a lifestyle brand that wants to establish yourself in the luxury category.

When selecting which event you want to participate in, or the type of event you’d like to host, first think about who your customer is and what kind of event they’re likely to attend. That’s where you’ll want to focus your resources.

By creating a memorable experience at events with your target buyers in attendance, they’re more likely to think of your brand first when they’re looking to purchase and more likely to buy from you in the future.

Another way companies build brand awareness at events is by connecting with reporters who will be there. If done right, they can establish relationships with influential journalists or bloggers in their industry, get press coverage on their product, and position themselves as thought leaders.

Customer Engagement

In-person events help humanize your company and create a more authentic connection with consumers. By immersing your customers in a unique and memorable experience, they’re more likely to have an emotional tie to your brand and will be more inclined to share their experience with friends, and maybe even other businesses.

Word-of-mouth is the most effective means of generating new customers. And happy, engaged customers are more likely to talk about your product or service and refer others.

Engaged customers also buy 90% more frequently, spend 60% more per transaction and are five times more likely to buy from the same brand in the future, according to research conducted by Rosetta Consulting.

By creating a meaningful interaction between your brand and your customers, you have a higher likelihood of increasing client retention and creating brand loyalists in the process.

Lean Cuisine managed to engage customers through their #WeighThis event by creating an experience for their customers that was non-disruptive, it allowed customers to share their personal stories on what they have accomplished, or ‘what they want to be weighed on’.

The brand didn’t explicitly sell its products but what it did was create an environment centered around a healthy lifestyle, which is what the brand is known for. The event was a success at engaging customers as it managed to get over 33% increase in positive brand perception:

Lead Generation

79% of US marketers generate sales using event marketing.

Conferences and events are a powerful way to engage with your target audience, gain a more in-depth understanding of their pain points, and facilitate their decision-making process. When people attend an event, they’ve already shown an interest in the product or service you’re offering, and many times they’re ready to make a purchasing decision.

To facilitate the purchasing process, you’ll need a plan in place to capture qualified leads’ information to follow up after the event. Ways to engage with prospects and collect their information include:

  • Demo stations
  • Speaking sessions
  • Social Media
  • Hosting a sponsored party at, or nearby, the event

Where you collect lead information will dictate how you later communicate with that prospect. Each touchpoint shows different levels of engagement and intent to buy, so you’ll need to nurture the leads accordingly.

Before an event, you should set up a lead scoring model. Your lead scoring should incorporate information collected from scanning a participant’s badge (like company size, industry, and title) as well as how many, and which, touchpoints they engaged with during the event and their previous level of engagement with your company.


65% of consumers said live events helped them have a better understanding of a product or service, vastly surpassing digital efforts and TV advertising as methods of recognizing and learning about a brand.

One of the main reasons people attend business conferences, seminars, and trade shows is to learn about new strategies, technologies, and use cases for a product or service.

  • If you’re sponsoring an event and have a booth, have well-trained staff who can give demos that address people’s pain points and can answer prospects’ questions with confidence. Make sure you collect prospects’ information so that you can send them relevant information and resources after your interaction. This outreach will continue the relationship and keep your company top-of-mind when they’re making a purchasing decision.
  • If you’re speaking at an event, make sure your speech is both informative and entertaining. Think about presenting a unique use-case, hands-on training, or discussing a new perspective on how to use a technology or service. Try to engage with the audience by asking questions during or after your session.
  • If you’re hosting an event, select keynote and session speakers, who can provide a unique viewpoint or can educate users on how to get more value out of your product or service. If you can secure a big name in the industry, it will help attract a more substantial crowd and lend your event more credibility.

You can also use online events to educate current and prospective customers. Tough Mudder used Facebook Live to showcase their event that featured Coach T. Mud. The coach not only taught participants and viewers what it was like to run through the endurance event, but also promoted Tough Mudder’s training programs and other materials.

The event had a total of 51,000 viewers, that’s how many people learned about Tough Mudder’s new programs:

Upselling Customers

Many times, upselling is a natural extension of educating your customers. Use demos or webinars as a soft-sell for new product offerings.

If your event staff listen to a customer’s pain points and then give a demonstration of how specific features address their needs, it’s likely that they’ll present new features that require a customer to upgrade or purchase an additional product offering.

By demonstrating that your company understands your customers’ needs and taking the time to address how your product or service can fix specific pain points, whether in-person or via a live webinar, it creates more trust. Your upsell will seems less salesy and more helpful.

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