January 05, 2020
By Felicia Asiedu

You have put a lot of time, money and effort in organising your event, but the result doesn’t turn out as expected. From a lacklustre audience response and low engagement to poor-quality leads and below-par ROI, your event can underperform on several counts. This can significantly impact your case to execute live events such as seminars and trade shows as part of your marketing mix and make it more difficult to get approval to host or attend any in the future.

To avoid such a scenario, let’s identify the symptoms and causes of underperforming event programmes. This will help you understand what mistakes event marketers usually make while building their event strategy.

Symptom 1 – Declining lead growth


  • Low attendance count: You could be targeting the wrong audience. Maybe it is the wrong time of the year e.g. holiday season is usually a bad time to organise live events. Maybe your subject matter is not interesting enough to attract enough people. The first indicator of an underperforming event is always the difficulty in getting enough registrations.
  • Lead ‘melt’ at trade shows: Your event team is on the ground, collecting as many leads as possible. But many a time, because of a lack of integration between different event tools, these leads are never entered into your customer relationship management (CRM) system. These leads ‘melt’ away and the sales team never gets the opportunity to follow up on them.

Symptom 2 – Ineffective lead follow-up


Languishing leads

You have a healthy attendance at your event. However, the process to follow up on leads is slow and sluggish, and it takes forever to get the leads to sales and marketing. As the leads get ‘cold’, the interest wanes and the follow-up is less effective. And if you’re not careful enough, your competitors could be lurking around the corner, waiting to pounce on your leads if you’re not quick enough. Time is of utmost importance!

Not personalising

If your attendee is making the effort to come to your event, you need to make them feel like a valued guest. Not customising their event journey or doing just a generic follow-up in the products and services they have shown interest in indicates you simply don’t care enough.

Information overload

There is a lot of data that is collected at events. At times, it becomes too huge and disorganised for a small team to handle. Taking concrete action on this becomes a difficult task and you miss out capturing important leads.

Symptom 3 – Inability to prove impact


Failing to attribute revenue: You are aware of the importance of attributing revenue to your events but can’t figure out how to get the numbers sorted out. It might be due to poor organisation, or your data being all disparate and disorganised. Unless you can’t prove the positive financial impact of your live events, then you will have a hard time justifying your budget spend to the higher-ups.

Symptom 4 – Inability to execute at scale


Absence of automation: As your team gets more projects to handle and more events to execute, using manual processes puts you at risk of extreme stress, human errors and avoidable delays. If your event strategy lacks automation, you will find yourself overwhelmed dealing spreadsheets, post-it notes and harried phone calls.

Inability to replicate: If you lack automation, you will also be unable to replicate or scale your past events, thus wasting time and money. Starting from square one each time to create a successful event can be a huge drain for your business.

Symptom 5 – Having a fixed ‘offline’ mentality


Outside the traditional marketing mix: Events in the Tier 2 and Tier 3 category i.e. small-to-medium sized events are typically regarded as being outside the digital marketing mix. Being simple events with basic replicable requirements, they are often handled by individuals who may not be responsible for handling events. As a result, the necessary investment in technology is not made and collecting and measuring event data is not possible. With small meetings and events expected to be at the forefront of event management in the coming years, this trend is expected to change.

Lack of integration: If you’re not able to integrate your event programme into the rest of your marketing strategy it means you’re missing out on opportunities. Again, this is common for Tier 2 and Tier 3 category events that are treated as ‘islands’ or stand-alone occurrences that aren’t tied to the rest of the company’s activities.

Symptom 6 – Data silos


Unused data: Event data often remains disconnected because multiple manual processes or point solutions are used to collect it. In many cases, that data also isn’t integrated with an organisation’s systems of record, such as marketing automation or CRM systems. As a result, there is disparate data in multiple silos that stays unused. This is a major loss of opportunity to leverage this data and maximise your event’s impact.

Wasted time: The time it takes to parse through siloed data translates to less time your sales and marketing teams have to get ahead of the competition.

Symptom 7 – Disparate data vs fragmented technology  


Overwhelming amount of data: Manual processes are unable to handle the sheer volume of data generated during a live event. If you don’t have enough resources, this data can become unorganised and unmanageable pretty quickly.

Fragmented point products: When your team has to understand several products, use different systems and deal with multiple vendors, they come under a lot of stress to ensure the process runs efficiently while adhering to different security, privacy and operational policies.

With technology playing an increasingly dominant role in how events are managed, there is a need to have a dedicated resource who has the expertise and technical know-how for event software. Read this eBook to learn all about this new role of an ‘Event Technologist’ and how hiring one can be extremely advantageous for your event strategy.

Felicia Asiedu

Felicia Asiedu

An experienced CIM qualified marketing professional, Felicia is the European Marketing Manager at Cvent and has nearly 15 years’ sales and marketing experience in fast-moving technology businesses. She's responsible for the strategic direction of the marketing team in Europe, including expansion planning, campaign execution, demand generation and event management.

Before joining Cvent, Felicia held multiple marketing and business development positions with technology providers including Rackspace, Telecity Group (now Equinix), Infinity Data Centres and Merrill Corporation (now Datasite). Having had a healthy appetite for events for many years, she also has experience in planning and hosting both corporate and private events as well as speaking at both live and virtual events.

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