How Corporate Marketers Use Event Data

November 16, 2018

Corporate marketers use event data to improve event portfolios and experiences in a variety ways, according to a study from Freeman and Chief Marketer. But as the Freeman Data Benchmark Study [download page] illustrates, event data and KPIs are also being used to inform wider marketing strategies and planning.

The survey – which received responses from close to 700 brand marketers – found that 88% are using event data and KPIs for marketing mix decision-making. At least two-thirds also put their event data to use for experience enhancement (70%), corporate database/CRM efforts (70%) and business intelligence (67%). A majority also use the data for product development (67%) efforts, as well as competitive analysis (56%) and market research (54%).

As such, the results indicate that event marketing is a strategic part of the marketing equation, the results of which can contribute to wider planning. This is important considering that past research has suggested that some marketers – B2B marketers in particular – feel that aligning events with overall corporate marketing strategy and goals is a problem.

Meanwhile, event data is obviously used to improve event experiences and portfolios, too. Most commonly, marketers are using data and KPIs from events to inform their event strategy and planning (74%) and to measure the overall success of their events (62%). Fewer (48%), though, use event data to calculate sales impact and ROI, a result that aligns with prior research finding that figuring out the ROI of events remains elusive for many marketers.

So What Data and KPIs Are Marketers Collecting?

Event and experience data clearly is being used to not only improve portfolios, but to also provide key inputs into the wider marketing mix. As such, it’s instructive to see the types of data and KPIs that marketers are collecting for these various uses.

For both B2C and B2C events, the total number of attendees/visitors/participants is the most widely gathered data point. That’s unsurprising, given the relative ease of securing these figures and understanding how they trend from one event or year to the next.

For B2B events, the total number of qualified leads (65%) is the next-most common piece of data, followed by the total number of all leads (57%) and social media activity, postings (also 57%).

For B2C events, social media activity (65%) is a more popular event KPI, while the total number of qualified leads (52%) is of lesser importance than brand awareness (55%).

Overall, the total number of qualified leads is considered one of the most important data points by the largest share (61%) of marketers involved in B2B events, while for B2C events the total number of attendees and participants is the primary metric.

These differences make sense given research showing that brand awareness is a bigger reason for using events for B2C than B2B marketers, while lead generation is a bigger goal for B2B marketers.

About the Data: The results are based on a survey of 678 leading marketers at large companies across a range of industries.

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