For anyone living online (i.e. all of us) a swing back to real life experiences actually makes a lot of sense. Many of our virtual relationships are ephemeral and fleeting, and often devoid of real meaning. Consequently, global business spend on event marketing is experiencing dramatic growth, and while it may seem counter-intuitive, this boom is happening right alongside the meteoric rise of digital. Brands are seeing strong ROI from building real life connections with their stakeholders — whether that’s customers, partners or staff.
Sadly, there is a stark lack of meaningful data on event marketing in New Zealand, something we and the industry need to address. But I can share Uno Loco’s perspective. Having been a major player in the sector for 20 years, we are seeing a shift from our clients (who include Vodafone, Fonterra, Coca Cola, Bayleys, Xero and Hyundai) reflecting global trends in what’s often dubbed ‘experience marketing’.
Some of these trends were highlighted in a 2018 survey by leading event tech company Bizzabo. More than 1000 senior business marketers in C-suite roles were interviewed, and here are some of the headlines:
Most organisations invest nearly 25 percent of their budget into in-person events — most of this goes towards hosting their own events, compared with simply attending or exhibiting at industry events.
41 percent saw live events as the most critical tool in achieving marketing outcomes (this was up 32 percent in two years).
95 percent see in-person events as important for building relationships in an increasingly digital world.
Most marketers believe event marketing is the most effective channel for driving business outcomes (41 percent). This was more effective than content marketing and email marketing combined.
84 percent of leadership (C-suite) believe in-person events are a critical element of their success.
89 percent of over-performing businesses believe live events are instrumental to their organisations’ success.
Unsurprisingly there was a direct correlation between the perceived value of events and the ability of businesses to measure their ROI. Although 42 percent of respondents were honest enough to say they couldn’t measure the ROI they were delivering. The three top measures of success were:
Attendee engagement and satisfaction (33 percent).
Sales pipeline 23 percent. Leads generated 14 percent.
Our experience working throughout New Zealand, and internationally with NZ based companies, broadly reflects what’s happening globally. We’ve seen strong growth in businesses bringing people together to achieve their objectives. But in recent years three other important themes have also emerged:
1. Experience design is front and centre. 2. Measuring ROI is mandatory.
3. Nearly all live events are digitally amplified.
Companies are becoming much smarter about understanding where they get the best bang for their buck. We’re seeing a much greater appreciation for the design and delivery of sophisticated experiences. The shift from even five years ago is dramatic, with audience expectations evolving at warp speed, and the industry powering up in response.
At a fundamental level companies are re-discovering a basic marketing truth. There’s nothing like a real, shared human connection. It means people ‘feel’ the message and the brand, rather than just observing it. And what’s more companies are understanding that ROI is directly related to the depth of connection they create. That’s where the magic begins.
About Uno Loco:
For over 20 years Uno Loco has built a reputation for delivering New Zealand’s most creative large-scale events, content and experiential activations.
About Blair Glubb:
Blair is well known in New Zealand marketing circles from his leadership roles in digital, strategy and marketing. He’s spent time with corporates and startups, as well as both sides of the agency / client divide in New Zealand and offshore. He’s chief executive and co-owner of event specialists, Uno Loco.