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B2B marketers know that event marketing is a great way to get in front of the right customers. That’s why more than half of B2B organizations spend over 20% of their marketing budgets on events.

But what happens when event marketing campaigns aren’t delivering the results your team wants (and needs)? With an average event sponsorship costing upwards of $20,000, you don’t have much room for error.

For 68% of B2B marketers, events are all about lead generation. However, generating leads isn’t enough to drive real returns on your investments. If you’re looking to get more out of event marketing, you need to make your campaigns more targeted — and that comes down to having the right data on hand.

Event Marketing Mistakes That Hurt ROI

With so much noise to cut through with digital content, in-person industry events can seem like the perfect chance to get in front of the right people and stand out from competitors. If only the marketing world were so perfect.

The reality is that generating engagement with event marketing is far from a sure thing. If you’re making any of the following mistakes, you might be falling short of the high ROI that successful event marketing promises:

  • Over Promising, Under Delivering: So much time is spent worrying about event attendance. How will you maximize registrations so that you’re generating enough leads? To generate more leads, you work on hyping up the event and driving signups. But what happens when the actual event falls short of the expectations you set? Instead of focusing on pre-event hype, ROI depends on an ability to drive signups without setting expectations so high that you’ll never meet them.
  • Improper Event Follow-Up: Your job isn’t done when the event ends. Post-event follow-up is equally important if you want to maximize ROI. Your goal shouldn’t just be to reach out and thank people for attending. You want to build on the relationship you started at the event by sharing relevant next steps and helpful insights that will align with overarching sales objectives.
  • Poor Location Planning: When you’re talking about in-person events, location means everything. You don’t want to spend months planning an event just to find that your target attendees aren’t in the right area. Sure, people will travel for industry events. But if you can identify a specific location where there’s a large number of ideal attendees, that’s where you want to set the event.

These are just a few of the mistakes that diminish event marketing ROI. Even when you get everything right, event marketing can be time-consuming and expensive. That’s why you’ll want to offset the impact of these mistakes (and others) by taking the guesswork out of the planning process.

With third-party intent data, you can gain insights into your ideal audience that improves marketing effectiveness before, during, and after the event.

How Intent Data Impacts Event Marketing

Intent data is most often associated with account-based marketing. Vendors explain the benefits in the context of understanding total active demand, engaging with in-market target accounts, and enabling sales to close deals.

But the insights you can get from intent data also apply to event marketing. If you want to maximize the ROI of your events, take advantage of intent data at all three stages of the process:

  • Before the Event: In the planning stages of your event, you can use intent data to better understand your most valuable target attendees. Your goal shouldn’t just be to blindly generate as many leads as possible. You want to generate the right leads—and that means segmenting in-market prospect lists to align with the topics your event will cover. When your pre-event marketing focuses on attendees who are more likely to become customers later, you’ll set yourself up for greater ROI down the road.
  • During the Event: When you’re talking about industry conferences, the relationships you build in-person at the venue can make all the difference in event marketing ROI. Don’t just go through the motions and run through the event’s agenda. Let field marketers take advantage of intent data to have more personalized conversations with attendees. The more your event team knows about individual attendees and accounts, the easier it will be to engage potential buyers while the event is actually in progress (without being disruptive or pushy).
  • After the Event: Whether you’re hosting your own event or sponsoring an industry conference, generic follow-ups are the easiest way to derail all the work you put in for a campaign. Intent data provides insights about attendees that helps you personalize email follow-ups according to specific stages of the buyer’s journey. If an attendee is earlier in the buying process, you don’t want to follow up with a hard sell. Instead, take the opportunity to build the relationship by sharing helpful content or potentially scheduling more preliminary product demos.

As common as event marketing is, insufficient data can put you at serious risk of wasted budget money. Intent data fills in the gaps for any event marketer to understand the best ways to meet key goals without as much risk.

Do you know which specific companies are currently in-market to buy your product? Wouldn’t it be easier to sell to them if you already knew who they were, what they thought of you, and what they thought of your competitors? Good news – It is now possible to know this, with up to 91% accuracy. Check out Aberdeen’s comprehensive report Demystifying B2B Purchase Intent Data to learn more.