This article was updated in July 2022.
Company events are an effective tool for facilitating the achievement of your company’s goals. Event marketing is a proven strategy that’s gaining popularity, but pushback from leadership, especially when marketing budgets are tight, can happen.
Recent research by Bizzabo shows that 50% of companies are allocating more than 21% of their marketing budgets toward organizing events, but 42% of event marketers still have a hard time proving ROI.
Why You Should Host Company Events
Company events are a powerful marketing channel for increasing brand awareness and building community with customers and prospects. A well-executed company event can build customer loyalty, produce a variety of evergreen content, introduce prospects to a brand and company culture, and get the right people in the same room to close a deal.
A company event doesn't have to a huge three-day conference. There are a lot of great options that can be customized to specific business goals.
Types of company events:
- User conferences
- Networking happy hours
The best way to launch a company event program is to just get started using the resources you have.
Common Event Objections
Utilizing company events to help achieve your company’s goals begins by convincing leadership and obtaining approval. Here are 5 potential leadership objections, and the responses you can use to overcome them.
Objection 1: Events are too expensive
Events are expensive. Sometimes leadership pushback results from a concern about funding. It’s important to keep your potential expenses in mind to best convince leadership of your event’s ROI.
You may have to book a venue or pay furniture rental fees. Perhaps you’ll need to hire an AV professional or rent equipment. Maybe you even want to leave your guests with some great branded swag.
Also, remember to consider the cost of time—an event will require someone (or multiple people) to be away from the office. It’s important to account for that cost when planning your event.
This is where it’ll help to think like your leadership team. Consider what they want to achieve within the company overall and show them how events can support that.
Be prepared for what they’ll want to know: How does your event fit into your funnel? What type(s) of pipeline can your event generate? What are your competitors doing?
In response to the objection that ‘events are too expensive,’ try experimenting with this answer template:
“I estimate that our event will cost us [X AMOUNT] and that it will help us reach our [BUSINESS GOAL] by [METRIC].”
Objection 2: Proving ROI is too difficult
Marketers are often challenged to quantify every effort. From events, to social, to inbound marketing, it can be difficult to show how each strategy will lead to revenue generation.
One example of a company that has embraced events is ThoughtSpot, and AI and analytics company. With the assistance of Reach, ThoughtSpot was able to drive more than 400 registrants to their events, generating over $1M in pipeline—just from their event marketing program!
So, while marketers still struggle to gain leadership approval, the ROI is there when events are done effectively. This is aided by remembering the first objection and understanding what’s important to the business.
When wanting to demonstrate ROI, there are other additional metrics to consider. For example, you may look at the number of registrations, or maybe your event is more concerned with the bottom of the funnel and the metric you want to measure is the number of contacts added or meetings booked.
The biggest challenge with measuring ROI is that you won’t have set data until after the event. This is where you bring in the sales team.
Ask them what they need coming out of your event, help them figure out potential pipeline (region, est. # of customers/prospects, etc.), and try to nail down an estimated cost.
In response to the objection that ‘proving ROI is just too difficult,’ open a discourse like this:
“After working with our regional sales reps, I estimate that we can generate [METRIC] by hosting a/an [EVENT TYPE] in [CITY/REGION].”
Start producing engaging, fun events that drive ROI. Get the Ultimate Event Marketing Toolkit.
Objection 3: We already sponsor events, why should we do our own?
Sponsored events are great and offer a lot of value. A sponsored event may lead to a bigger audience and less time away from your team, but they’re also very expensive and offer little room for your team to make its vision of the event happen.
Producing your own company events lets you have things your way.
You get to pick the event format and create a custom invite list. You get to determine what content is shown and how it’s presented. You get to choose what vendors to hire and how to utilize them.
Ultimately, a company event gives you and your organization full control to see things out the way you’d like them.
If your leadership feels it’s not worthwhile to host company events as well as sponsored ones, propose this:
“Event sponsorships are expensive and allow for little originality. Hosting our own event will give us the control we need to reach our audience in an impactful way, on our own terms.”
Objection 4: Our focus is on other marketing initiatives
So much goes on in marketing that it can sometimes seem hard to justify events, but the reality is that event marketing can positively impact all other marketing initiatives.
A company event allows you to promote digital content, have 1-on-1 conversations, continue customer education, announce and feature product updates, grow social followers, and more.
It can play a role in every channel and every program—it’s all about getting the most out of your events.
If leadership is hyper-focused on one type of marketing, make it clear that you see where they’re coming from, and that an event can help facilitate that tactic:
“An event marketing program has the ability to power all of our other marketing initiatives. Here is how I think events will impact our marketing programs…”
Objection 5: We don't have enough resources
Make the most of what you have. Company events don’t need to be big and flashy. It’s all about scaling and being acutely aware of what you can and can’t produce.
Start small with something simple—and possibly scalable—like maybe a webinar (live or on-demand). You don’t need to take on a conference or a roadshow for your first event.
Try something casual that doesn’t take too much time or commitment from your attendees. A small event can have a big impact.
Keep in mind the tools you may already have, like a cool venue, or company subject matter experts. There’s nothing wrong with being thrifty—just be effective.
Have vendors you can rely on and use consistently. Knowing your vendors can do what you need them to will save you time and stress down the road.
Understand your time commitment. Be prepared for outreach and have a timeline in mind. Don’t be afraid to ask your team for support when you need it—that’s why they’re there!
Be resourceful, plan it out, and start small. If leadership believes you do not have enough resources, approach them with this:
“I believe in starting small. It will take me [# OF WEEKS], [# OF HOURS PER WEEK], to produce a/an [EVENT TYPE] that will help us [BUSINESS GOAL] by [METRIC].”
Convincing leadership is not about deception. It’s about clearly determining and stating exactly what your event idea is, and how it will help your company’s marketing initiatives and overall goals.
Event marketing requires making the most of what you have to work with. If you can present what you have in as effective a format as possible, you’ll be that much closer to convincing leadership and achieving event success.