A new study published today confirms what meeting planners have long known: Face-to-face events don't just generate education and entertainment for the people who attend them; they also generate revenue for the businesses that organize them.
Conducted by event marketing software company Splash in partnership with Harvard Business Review Analytic Services (HBR-AS), the study -- titled "The Event Marketing Evolution: An Era of Data, Technology and Revenue Impact" -- is based on a survey of more than 700 business executives, each of who was asked about their company's event marketing strategies and results.
On average, survey respondents said their organizations host 73 events per year, and sponsor another 62. In fact, more than 90 percent of executives said their company prioritizes hosting events for customers and prospects over other marketing channels, and nearly as many that it prioritizes sponsoring events.
Currently, only 23 percent of companies say they're able to quantify return on investment (ROI) for their events. Compared to their peers, however, they are experiencing annual revenue growth of more than 30 percent, according to Splash and HBR-AS, who attributed these companies' performance to technology: What they have in common with each other, they reported, is "investment in data-driven event technology, the ability to measure top and bottom funnel metrics, and a shift in strategy from sponsoring to hosting events."
"More than ever before, it is crucial for businesses to go beyond the digital space to build meaningful relationships, through human, in-person experiences. However, measuring event ROI is challenging and until recently, it was nearly impossible. Now, with the growing investment in events, and the maturation of end-to-end event technology, event marketers have the ability to report on much more than anecdotal results," said Splash CEO Ben Hindman. "The study confirms that high-performing companies are especially tapping into the marketing power of events and investing in technology that's helping them measure the impact of their events down to actual revenue."
Echoed HBR-AS Managing Director Alex Clemente, "Creating in-person business relationships through events is becoming more crucial than ever. The study shows that, despite the prevalence of social media and digital growth-strategies, event investments are growing. This is corroborated by our survey respondents, which include senior marketing managers, who state that events drive more business value than other channels."
"The Event Marketing Evolution: An Era of Data, Technology and Revenue Impact" is available for complimentary download from Splash's website.