Anyone's who's hosted a dinner party knows how complicated - and how expensive - the preparation and execution can be. But usually the results of such an event are readily discernable, prompting you either to excitedly plan the list for your next Evite or to forever stow away your chef's hat. In business, the returns for an event -- be it an online Web presentation or a tradeshow booth -- can often be difficult to measure beyond the sheer number of business cards you've collected. In an attempt to tackle that measurement gap, Marketbright has announced the general availability of its Event Manager solution, intended to automate the processes behind improving attendance and registration, promoting the event, and tracking prospects from an event.
According to Erik Bower, vice president of marketing at Marketbright, the standard to-do list for an event includes:
- automated reminders;
- automated confirmations;
- email campaigns;
- personalized follow-ups for both attendees and nonattendees;
- attendee tracking;
- wait listing and halting registration when capacity levels are reached;
- lead scoring and lead nurturing;
- integration with third party delivery mechanisms (e.g., Citrix's GoToWebinar and Cisco Systems' WebEx); and
- integration with social media sites (e.g., Eventful and Yahoo! Events).
Events are typically a company's most expensive demand-generation campaign, outpacing the cost of other popular methods such as email marketing and online banner advertisements. So to be able to track the effectiveness of that investment is critical, says Johnnie Konstantas, vice president of marketing at data governance solutions provider Varonis Systems. To her, the most appealing aspect of Event Manager is its ability to not only track conversions but nurture prospects from events, something that she says companies haven't been able to accomplish manually.
When the process was conducted manually, Konstantas adds, the marketing team would have to create a spreadsheet of leads and hand it over to the sales department to follow up; any developments would be scribbled in an adjacent column. Through Marketbright, leads are entered into the solution and communication is set automatically depending on a systematic analysis of each lead's interest and worth. The key, she notes, is that "even if there isn't an immediate interest [after an event], when the timing is better, [you can be] there with an offering."
Event Manager can be purchased as an independent solution that integrates with other marketing automation and sales force automation solutions. By tying events into the grand marketing automation scheme, companies can set up triggers: an individual who downloaded a white paper, for example, can be invited to attend the next Web event -- a combination that Bower says "is very powerful and pragmatic."
While Bower adds that Marketbright's solution is based on the philosophy of "set it and forget it," he admits that marketers can't expect the solution to work wonders. "They need to drive it very hard to get attendees and keep up the level of interest." Marketbright does promise to ease the burden of time spent working on the mechanics, allowing marketers to focus on strategies and creative. In addition, Marketbright works with customers to discuss best practices and effective event management strategies. One simple tactic that has proven effective, Bower says, is using numbers in the title of an event, such as "Top 10 Tips..."
"People have short attention spans," Bower explains. "They want to know it'll be easily consumed and well organized."
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