Last summer David Cooperstein, vice president and practice leader at Forrester Research, wrote a thought-provoking article for Forbes titled, “Marketing change management - like it or not, you have to figure it out.”
One of his key points: “ROI drives budget approval. You want more budget? Prove it to the CFO.”
That’s especially true for marketing events, which are a substantial part of the marketing budget for many B2B companies. Yes, we can assume these events create goodwill for the company, build awareness of its products, and help build solid relationships. But in these times, most marketers can’t get away with using guesswork to justify an event costing tens or hundreds of thousands (or even millions) of dollars.
Management wants performance information. They’ll look at last year’s event and ask you, “How many solid leads resulted from the event? What was the potential sales value of those leads? How many have closed since? And what’s the validated ROI we’re seeing so far on that event?”
Tough questions. You’ll need data and technology to answer them. Data must be collected before, during and after events and linked to existing CRM systems. Then, you need astute analytics to turn the data into actionable insights.
As you evaluate which outside firms can help you use multi-source data to get solid answers that drive marketing decisions, you’ll need to look beyond their sales pitches. Cooperstein advises:
“See who answers fastest, deepest, and with the most appropriate ROI on the investment. Then make sure that firm is compatible with customer databases, internal technology decisions, and your vision of the future of your organization. Then you can tap this resource to manage marketing at an entirely new level.”