The art of online to offline event promotion
Inadvertently slaughtering a golden goose

The event marketing - meatgrinder questions

In the mid-2000s, I was at an event conference in Las Vegas. A friend of mine had invited me to a "who's-who's" evening party at the Bellagio. During the party, I met an event organizer from California. For reasons I cannot explain (probably alcohol), I asked him the following four questions.

"How much cash did you spend on your marketing/advertising budget?"

His response, was about 250,000 USD cash (it could have been 150 - it's been 15 years) . Based on the size of his event, the number seemed a little high. But I didn't want to be too nosy, so I rolled on.

Next question:

"What was your most successful marketing or advertising piece/initiative?"

His response, "Great question, I'm not really sure. I think it was newspaper advertising."

Then, an important follow-up question:

"What was the return on investment for your most successful marketing/advertising piece?"

He responded with, "Unfortunately, I don't know."

Based on the event organizers answers, I asked my final question:

"If you're not absolutely sure what is the most effective form of marketing/advertising ... why do you still invest $250K (150K) cash in your marketing and advertising?"

The gentleman's response was delayed (you could see him mentally reconciling his answers to the previous questions).

After a few seconds, he finally responded with:

"Because that's what we've always done."

Out of dozens of event organizers whom I've asked the questions above, only one could confidently answer each question. Notably, several organizers responded with similar answers, "we don't know ... and that's what we've always done."

I strongly encourage you to use the questions above, after every event.

Get your team together and go through all your advertising and marketing. You must hold all your marketing and advertising ruthlessly accountable. If your advertising and marketing can't show ROI, cast it out!

Incidentally, the one event organizer who was able to answer the questions above with conviction, has a highly successful and profitable annual event.

Want to get more info on how to track your event marketing and advertising? Check out the articles below: