Wednesday, February 18, 2009

53% of senior marketing execs say event marketing is "the discipline that best accelerates and deepens relationships" with customers

While marketers are getting more tech-savvy, it seems they still have a soft spot for good old-fashioned event marketing.

According to the EventView 2009 survey, more than half (53 percent) of 300 senior marketing executives say event marketing is the discipline that best accelerates and deepens relationships with target audiences.

The survey was completed earlier this month by George P. Johnson, The MPI Foundation and the Event Marketing Institute. It included a healthy swath (41 percent) of marketers whose companies pull in revenues in excess of $1 billion.

This is reported today on

More than a quarter (26 percent) of those surveyed said event marketing is the discipline that drives the greatest return-on-investment. "The economy is forcing marketers to elevate their game to survive, specifically in regard to deploying direct response marketing such as events to drive top-line performance," said Bruce MacMillan, president and CEO of MPI.

Twenty-nine percent of marketers will transition their strategy from event marketing to experience marketing in the next 12 months. The difference being that experience marketing "involves integrated live and online experiences that drive deep brand interaction through highly relevant story telling and brand immersion," per the study. A third of those polled said they already made the switch.

The findings underline two trends coming together at the same time, said David Rich, SVP of Strategic Marketing/Worldwide for experience marketing agency George P. Johnson. "First, a downward economic spiral that is forcing brands to invest in channels like events that demonstrate measurable ROI; and secondly the maturation of strategic event and experience marketing, which takes the strategic, creative, media and digital capabilities of above-the-line marketing and activates them through the on-the-ground execution of an event portfolio made up of different types of internal and external events."

Despite the need to watch spending, marketers are increasingly ponying up to green their events. Sixty-six percent of those polled said they plan on implementing or have already added green initiative-up from 32 percent in 2007.

Of that group, 44 percent are doing so because of a corporate mandate. Green spending makes up 13 percent of their events budget.

Overall, "the real challenge for brands in 2009 will be how to best balance their traditional budget allocations against these trends to drive measurable results," said Rich.

My company, STINSON Brand Innovation, recently released a new white paper for pharma and medical brand marketers entitled, Creating a Quality Brand Experience Through Event Marketing.”

This newest white paper features case studies from the 2008 Experiential Marketing Summit and applications of key learnings for health, science, and technology brands. The white paper covers the following areas for creating a brand experience through event marketing:

· Top 6 Steps to a Successful Event
· Building Brands One Touchpoint at a Time
· Creating High Touch, High Volume Events
· Transforming the Tradeshow Portfolio
· Rewriting the Rules of Event Marketing
· Developing an Event Measurement Dashboard

Increased competition in the event marketing arena has lead us to find new and innovative ways of expanding the brand experience for our health, science, and technology clients’ brands. We apply the learnings from the Summit each year to our own case studies in hopes of making a bigger impact each time we participate in a new event.

This Brand Experience white paper not only includes mentions of case studies from well-known companies speaking at the Summit, but also provides charts, worksheets and tactics to help guide the audience in the steps it takes to create brand experiences at any type of event.

The white paper is available for free download at

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