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May 15, 2007

EVENT PORTFOLIOS 2: Delivering results, justifying spend

If you’re going to hold events, and research tells us that this is a growing and increasingly effective form of marketing, you might as well do it properly and use it as a key part of your marketing strategy, not just an add on. Thinking about your events in a more strategic way will hone their effectiveness, align them with your general business objectives, and integrate them within your other marketing activity. In fact, a carefully planned event portfolio can significantly boost a business’s overall marketing potential.

Stronger performance

“Defining an event mix that has been deliberately selected to optimally achieve specific marketing objectives will result in greater performance of these event investments – this is a ‘no brainer’,” says Kim Myhre, vice president/general manager EMEA at experience marketing company George P Johnson, and an authority on event portfolio development. “Different event types serve different marketing objectives. A large third-party trade show is rarely useful for gaining significant share-of-voice or facilitating deep customer engagement, but can be very useful in driving broad awareness and generating new contacts and opportunities. Smaller, more intimate proprietary customer events can be very effective at building customer loyalty and driving up-sell opportunities, but will be less effective in generating broad marketplace awareness or finding new potential prospects. You get the idea…”

Developing an event portfolio where the mix of event types is optimised to achieve appropriate marketing objectives does result in greater overall marketing performance, according to Myhre. As a result, it also boosts the bottom line.

“Planning a portfolio that includes only those events that best align to a business’s marketing objectives and then doing just the right things at those events not only saves a company money by avoiding costs that might have been spent on unnecessary and/or ineffective events, but is also more effective at driving business results suchh as increased sales,” Myhre explains.

Optimising marketing spend

It also ensures greater integration with the other marketing disciplines. This means that a company maximises its overall marketing spend ensuring it gets the most ‘bang for its buck’.

“The ability to demonstrate a business objectives-based rationale behind event selection is a first step in raising the bar on the role of events in the marketing mix,” says Myhre. “Defining the specific measurable results that will be achieved by an event strategy in terms that are aligned to business management priorities – quantifiable increases in press quotes, client meetings, leads, sales, customer loyalty ratings and so on – raises the bar that much higher.”

This is what event portfolio planning is all about. The discipline of defining the right mix of event activity based on business objectives and priorities, doing the right things at these events to drive optimised event performance, measuring the effectiveness and impact of event activity on business objectives, and using this data to make informed experience marketing decisions.

“This is key not only to justify spend on events,” concludes Myhre, “but, more importantly, to define the increasingly important role events will play in a business’s overall marketing strategy.”

Look out for EVENT PORTFOLIOS 3: How to create one coming soon on EVENTS:review

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EVENT PORTFOLIOS: Giving your live marketing real bite

Kim Myhre will be speaking at the Exhibiting Show at Earl's Court 2 on 26-27 June 2007.


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