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Live events still pull marketers in...….

Which marketing discipline would you consider to be a brand marketer’s top marketing channel? Digital, right? By a long way, right? Well prepare to be flabbergasted. According to a survey carried out at the end of last year, the answer is actually ‘live events’. The survey was carried out by event management platform Bizzabo (no, we hadn’t heard of them either) and according to their survey, “41 per cent of [those surveyed] considered event marketing to be their top marketing channel—up 32 percent year-over-year and ahead of content marketing (27 per cent), email marketing (14 per cent) and social media (6 per cent)” .

Naturally the results of a survey carried out by an event management company suggesting that live events are the favourite tool of marketers may be questionable but to their credit, they did survey over 1,000 brand marketers so the sample size at least would prevent the findings from being heavily skewed (in their favour). And some of those questioned worked at companies such as Amazon, General Mills, KPMG, AppNexus, Digiday and Porsche; who we’d like to assume pride themselves on their integrity when it comes to answering survey questions.

Amongst its key findings was that 62 per cent of respondents plan to increase their budget for live events in 2019 by a very healthy 22 perc cent. That’s a significant uplift in anyone’s book, US or otherwise.

Bizzabo also found that a stonking eighty nine per cent of ‘overperforming businesses’ put a high value on live events, with eight-four per cent of them saying that ‘they have strong support from leadership when it comes to event marketing’. The article which reported on this story (Adweek, December 18th) didn’t explain what an overperforming business was but who cares? Knowing that their senior management are right behind events must be heartening for their marketing departments.

What was especially heartening for us here at Hartley-Stone was that – of the three sectors singled out by the company as being particularly reliant on events - was Software and Services, where ‘92 per cent of overperforming businesses believe live events are instrumental to their success and 82 percent have strong support from leadership’. Heartening as we have a number of clients in this particular marketspace and have organised several events on their behalves (click here to read a case study about one event that we’ve recently organised on behalf of a client).

Bizzabo says the reason why brands in software and services companies invest so much in live events, is to ‘to help accelerate lead generation and sales.’ That’s certainly our experience too. Despite the overwhelming adoption of digital as a mainstream marketing channel, the fact remains that nothing compares to a live event when a brand is seeking to get real face time with its would-be customers and create truly memorable moments.