When Does Event Marketing Make Sense? (And How to Pick the Right One)

When Does Event Marketing Make SenseEvent marketing (or event sponsorship) is a promotional category that allows companies to reach consumers directly. When successful, one event might yield touchpoints with your intended consumer, greater exposure and profitable supply chain relationships. Are you in need of those? Then event marketing may be worth a try!

One good thing about event marketing: you’ll receive no shortage of requests. The real challenge is figuring out what NOT to do. As Willie Pietersen at Columbia Business School said, “strategy is an art of sacrifice.”

I know I said one successful event can yield all three potential outcomes, but for your first, let’s pick just one for our main focus. What ONE THING do you want out of the event? Once we know that, we can figure out how to get there.

New Business/Supply Chain Relationships

Do you need better supply chain partners? In that case, find the largest industry trade show and try going as an attendee. Let your potential vendors do the work and take note of how they structure their event presence. Take pictures, note what you like, remember what tactics didn’t work. Now you’ve killed two birds with one stone! You’ve hopefully developed some new relationships and completed market research without too much of a financial investment. As for justification and ROI, you will be able to report on efficiencies realized and expenses reduced as a result of your new partnerships.

Greater Exposure

Are you looking to raise your profile quickly? Event marketing is a great tactic for this. In this scenario, your ROI reporting will focus on impressions so you will need to evaluate all opportunities through that lense. I could give you a longer and more complicated definition of “impressions” but for the purpose of this blog, let’s agree to define it as anytime your brand is served up to the consumer. When evaluating opportunities, you’ll need to weigh your available budget against the potential impressions to determine the best fit. For example, let’s say you have $5,000 and are evaluating two packages at the local Women’s Expo: the “Main Stage Sponsor” and the “Fitness Pavilion Sponsor.”

  1. Main Stage Sponsor: Main Stage Naming Rights, Opportunity to Provide Gift Bag Item, Banner, Logo, ⅓ page ad in Local Women’s Magazine with Digital Ad on Website (10,000 impressions) & logo/mentions in eNewsletter.
  2. Fitness Pavilion Sponsor: Fitness Pavilion Naming Rights, Opportunity to Coordinate Classes/Health Activities, Opportunity to Staff Event Booth, Opportunity to Provide Gift Bag Item, Banner, Logo, Full Page Print Ad in Local Women’s Magazine with Digital Ad on Website (5K impressions)

While the second opportunity appears more robust at first glance, let’s evaluate both based on impressions. First let’s start with the event itself, the organizers expect 6,000 women based on previous years. The magazine averages 48,000 readers each month and their email newsletter is distributed to a list of 30,000. Here’s how each package breaks down by the numbers:


Main Stage Sponsor

Fitness Pavilion Sponsor

Onsite Activities


   Onsite Activities


Print Ad


   Print Ad


Digital Ad


   Digital Ad




Total Impressions


   Total Impressions


Once we evaluate based on the expected impressions, it becomes clear that the “Main Stage Sponsor” best supports your goal.   

Consumer Touchpoints

Now let’s say you’re not interested in broad exposure and your main focus is on consumer connection and conversion. Your goal is to connect with qualified consumers and convert them to customers as quickly as possible. Now you’re measuring your ROI in how you can directly connect with consumers. In this case, the Fitness Pavilion Sponsor becomes the clear winner. In addition to some basic brand exposure, it allows you to connect with consumers on the event floor and further engage that same population on a more personal level in the pavilion with customized activities.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this very broad overview of event marketing. Make sure you continue to check out our Cuppa SEO blog over the coming weeks for more in our event marketing series!

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