When it comes to choosing between different modes of marketing communications or developing a proper mix for integrated marketing communications, people in marketing jobs are often bewildered. Eric Einhorn, in a 2004 study published in the Journal of Advertising Research, put the problem quite succinctly when he wrote:
We follow our own marketing communications ‘disciplines’advertising, direct marketing, event marketing, on-line marketing, and public relations. And to confuse the marketer even more, these disciplines have traditionally positioned themselves in a competitive context as ‘the answer’ to building brandsalmost as though the others do not existeach with a different ‘philosophy’ or secret of success: advertising builds brands by creating desire. Relationship marketing builds brand through one-to-one relationships. Event marketing builds brands by allowing consumers to experience the brand. All of this is true, but each discipline tends to claim just a little more of the business building credit than it really deserves. (And of course they look the other way when things do not quite work out right.) (“How to Fill the Accountability Gap in Demand Creation,” Journal of Advertising Research)
Einhorn goes on to find: “Advertising has been a traditional way to deliver brand awareness because of its immense reach and efficiency. But event marketing or sponsorships delivered through mass media can create rapid awareness.”
Event marketing has recently gained importance as an integral component of the promotions mix. It is usually confined to two types of events: social entertainment events (sporting events, community fairs, concerts, youth festivals, etc.) and business events (road shows, trade shows, educational seminars, etc). Both types of events are used to create a medieval market-day atmosphere and appeal to a highly engaged target audience.
A 2006 study on event marketing that was published in the Journal of Advertising Research found that:
1. An event attendee who is familiar with the event sponsor’s products appreciates the community involvement of the sponsor more than those who are unfamiliar with the brand.
2. An event attendee who is active in the event’s activities appreciates the sponsor’s community involvement more than less active participants.
3. An event attendee who is highly enthusiastic about the event’s activities appreciates the sponsor’s community involvement more than less enthusiastic attendees.
4. An event attendee who appreciates the sponsor’s community involvement more than others gains a more positive opinion of the sponsor’s brand.
5. An event attendee who has a more positive opinion of the sponsor’s brand is more inclined to buy the sponsor’s products.
So for focused event marketing, the sponsor has to find a target audience that is familiar with the brand and active and enthusiastic about the event. For maximum effect in enhancing brand awareness and brand equity, it is essential to conduct event marketing in areas synergistic with the sponsor’s products (e.g., a running shoe manufacturer sponsoring a marathon). Carried out properly, event marketing brings a high ROI. In fact, in a 2004 survey conducted among 200 decision-making marketing executives in U.S. businesses (all corporations with recorded sales above $250 million), it was found that face-to-face event marketing outperforms all other marketing communications media in terms of ROI.
Recent research has proved event marketing to be extremely useful for:
Accomplishing short-term marketing goals
Enhancing corporate identity
Building brand awareness, equity, and/or image
For people in marketing jobs, traditional media is inundated with cost, clutter, and fragmentation, but event marketing cuts through the confusion to enable face-to-face contact with target audiences. With the recent growth in event marketing, which uses a more physical and interactive atmosphere than traditional mass media, understanding and acquiring event marketing skills has become essential for people in marketing jobs