Markety Events | B2B events get up to 20% of marketing budget: how is their ROI doing?
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B2B events get up to 20% of marketing budget: how is their ROI doing?

B2B events get up to 20% of marketing budget: how is their ROI doing?

According to sources like Forrester and IDC TechWatch events are taking between 15 and 20% of B2B marketing budgets. This percentage remains stable on a budget that grows with 5-6% per year since the last big global crisis in 2008.

Events are the last standing tactics of “pre-digital” marketing but are still seen as the most important source for leads and brand awareness. When asked to list the most effective marketing tactics, B2B marketeers put events on top with a 75% score (source: MarketingProfs / Content Marketing Institute report 2015).

With this in mind, the silence is painful when asking for event ROI measurement. A stunning 60% of B2B companies have no clue how to get this done (source HubSpot / Eventbrite 2014 research).  But management pressure to justify all type of marketing investments increases: for events the ROI ratio investment : revenue influenced by events should be minimum 1:10.

For a proper ROI calculation, the challenge is to establish the link between your event or trade show, the visitors of your event or booth and the impact on revenue. This is best done with a Marketing Automation and CRM system in place to follow the lead along the decision-making and buying cycle. An event or trade show is of course not the only touchpoint that makes a customer decide to buy. A Marketing Automation system enables to integrate in our database what we learn about a prospect at an event and continue to nurture the lead based on these learnings. Events are also an excellent occasion to document interests and feedback of a customer or prospect in your CRM system. Many companies don’t do this yet, treating events as a world apart. According to Pardot, up to 70% of B2B companies are not using events to qualify leads or prospects.

Existing methods and formulas of event ROI calculation are the subject of many studies and articles, for instance this blog by Ruth Stevens or the model by EventWings.

The event ROI measurement exercise is driven by 4 types of factors:

  1. The type of event (conference, trade-show, roadshow …)
  2. The audience that is targeted (prospect, customer, partner…)
  3. The objectives of the event (lead generation, awareness, product launch …)
  4. The measurement tools in place (badge scan, survey, distributed test products …)

Obviously for the reporting of KPI’s related to the ROI of events, tools like CRM and Marketing Automation are useful. Tools used to capture behavior at the event itself, like KAYO or Akkroo, are helpful to provide the right input.

Even if the exercise seems difficult, especially when never done, it is worth doing it. Insight in event ROI will make your teams proud of their event results, provides them with quantified feedback for improvement and gives management insight in the contribution to the business of events.

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