We all want to be actively engaged with experiences that mean something to us personally or professionally. These are the events in our lives that lead to great stories people want to hear and that make memories we cherish long after the occasion ends. Our professional events should have the same impact. Events and exhibiting are people businesses. Anything that emphasizes and appeals to each individual’s humanity produces authentic engagement and deeper meaning for all involved.
GES MarketWorks asked corporate marketing leaders, brand managers and event marketers about their event objectives. Revenue, Enhanced Customer Interactions and Brand Awareness topped the charts,essentially tied with about 70% of responses. Corporate responders reveal logic that should penetrate all event strategies and planning. Several factors lead to higher event profitability and success, engagement (enhanced customer interaction), brand awareness and personalization.
Whether you are an exhibitor or a corporate host of a company event, engagement is a major objective. Unlike other objectives, engagement provides the emotional tie that binds people. It acts as the pathway to accomplish and magnify other objective results.
Customer engagement certainly stands at the top of priorities for chief marketing officers globally. In IBM’s 2016 CMO Perspective report , 66% of CMOs held “developing deeper, richer customer experiences as their top marketing priority.”
With emotional engagement, brand awareness is easier to accomplish. People believe because they are emotionally invested. Engagement and brand awareness lead to revenue because they generate an emotional bond with the brand. As Ben Franklin said, “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”
Events create advocacy because deep engagement builds brand loyalty and because engagement happens best in face-to-face events. When we asked responders about event characteristics that drive sales, Enhanced Customer Interaction led the way with 19% of responses, followed by Brand Awareness and Personalization, both with 15%.
Brand awareness happens through personalization of content and interactions. Customers take it personally when you demonstrate authentic interest in their issues and interests. They feel appreciated and understood. That’s deep engagement.
Deeply engaged customers demonstrate more brand loyalty, less price sensitivity, shorter resell cycles, and a greater likelihood of recommending the brand to their friends and colleagues. Those are the motivators behind Gallup’s observation that deeply engaged customers provide an almost 25% “premium in terms of share of wallet, profitability, revenue and relationship growth over the average customer.”
These survey respondents carry weight because 60% said they earn at least a 3-to-1 Return on Investment through their events. More than a quarter of respondents (27%) earned ROI of 5-to-1 or greater. They know, at least intuitively, what Joshua Foer, a freelance journalist and champion memory competitor said, “We remember when we pay attention. We remember when we are deeply engaged.” Learn more about Event ROI
What are you changing in your events to deeply engage customers based on more personal, relevant interaction? Is event consistency driving more attendees to participate less frequently? This infographic will help guide your questions:
To read full peer insights from marketing executives, download our free Driving Event ROI guide.
About the Author
Reagan Cook is Manager, Strategy & MarketWorks (retired) for GES and brings insights from more than 30 years’ experience in marketing and strategy to the environmental, energy, utility, real estate, healthcare, technology and experiential marketing industries. His work on his masters degree led him to fight a “forest” fire that jumped the line. In his environmental work in the energy industry he counted alligators, drove a bulldozer, and created the first coal mine reclamation field tests the size of football fields and 40 feet deep. He also worked for legendary pro-quarterback Roger Staubach and The Staubach Company, which taught him unique team approaches to focus on customer’s needs. That explains a lot about his diverse ideas today.Follow on Twitter More Content by Reagan Cook