There are many reasons corporate events fail to elicit the desired response, despite spending eye-watering sums on world-class events, yet when you look beyond the impressive keynote speaker, bespoke menu, and breathtaking venue, attendees remain miles away from becoming brand advocates.
Corporate events, when done properly, can spark a conversation between your guests and your brand, kindle what’s hopefully a long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationship and ultimately, deliver ROI. Yet few manage to achieve this.
A recent experience I had with one of SA’s premier car brands illustrates this industry-wide issue:
This luxury motor vehicle company had spent millions on an exclusive event where hand-picked guests got to test drive their latest model. I was invited the day before the event in question, and (like most of their target market) need at least a month’s notice before an event if I’m to attend. This was a pity, as had they had some foresight, they could have gained a customer.
An associate who attended the event was also in the market for a new car, yet his experience also left much to be desired. The reason? After attending the event, test-driving their new model, and being impressed with what the brand had to offer, he hasn’t been contacted since. The unfortunate reality is that he was ready to buy, and had car brand X followed up with him, he very most likely would have.
Why go to all the trouble of organising an event of this calibre, only to let guests who were ripe for buying slip through their fingers?
Here’s where brands big and small are getting it wrong:
Failure to use data to its full potential
Had the team at the luxury car brand X done their research using the proper client engagement solution, they would have known that I already drive one of their cars and upgrade every few years. This mistake is one of the big reasons corporate events fail. If they’d made use of this valuable information and sent out an email invitation targeted specifically to my history with the brand, I might be driving their newest model today. (And telling all of my colleagues and associates just how great an experience I had with brand X.) Alas, this isn’t the case.
Failure to get their event timeline right
As well as giving me only a day’s notice, (which is one of the most major event etiquette faux pas out there), this brand made the very costly mistake of not following up with their guests – the very guests they’d spent thousands on. Putting a stop to all marketing activities immediately after the event ended essentially rendered the entire operation futile. Had they put half of the effort into following up with attendees as they did into orchestrating the event itself, they’d have met their sales targets and realised event ROI. Failing to follow up with guests is the industry equivalent of spending hours slaving over a gourmet meal, serving it to your dinner guests, and then clearing their plates halfway through the meal and asking everyone to leave.
Failure to prioritise customer engagement before and after the event
As mentioned above, your event is far from over once the venue has been emptied. Your brand is competing with a deluge of other marketing messages on a daily basis, so if you want guests to keep your brand top of mind, you have to use an end-to-end guest engagement platform. It’s pivotal to actively demonstrate that your guests’ attendance is valued, and then – here’s the important bit – give them a reason to carry on interacting with your brand. Whether this is done via a post-event survey and thank you email, a personal follow-up call or the like, this is a crucial step that can make the difference between an event that falls flat, and an event that culminates in ROI.
A full-service Event Relationship Management (ERM™) tool exists, and the brands who’re using it successfully convert guests into customers, solidify their relationships with guests and strengthen their brand equity.
Our RSVP software is so much more than an invitation management system. It’s a full customer engagement solution that provides you with all the tools and data you need to form authentic relationships with your guests.