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How Much Has Your Event ROI Dropped By?


We were talking to a company recently and their central piece of their demand generation is events. They shared with us that the return they got on events had dropped 60% in the last 5 years and they were looking for suggestions.

I’m not sure what it’s like outside of the U.K. but I don’t go to events anymore as (for me) the presentations have just turned into sales pitches. There was a time where you could go to an event and learn something, but not anymore. 

Event companies tell me the margins are so thin on events, which is why they don’t pay for speakers. If you pay me to speak, I will create you an entertaining speech never heard before that your audience can take back to their work, you don’t pay me to speak then you get an advert.

Which means that the events margin are thin, so they don’t pay speakers, so the events speeches are adverts, so people stop going. We have a downward spiral. Event companies employ people to pitch, less and less people attend events.

The other thing that makes me wonder about events are the 1980s sales tactics. Do people really think that paying (expensive) sales people to stand on stand all handing out brochure is the way you sell today?

Related: Social Selling Killed the Old Boys Network

Anyway back to our client

The conversation went like this:

C: Our event return has dropped by 60% over the last 5 years.

DLA: What is your objective of attending these events?

C: To connect with our clients and seek new ones,

DLA: Are they on Social?

C: Of course.

DLA: So why don’t you connect with them on social and nurture them with interesting, relevant, inspiring and educational content?

C: Never thought of that, but we have a small sales force.

DLA: Even better, your Sales force can “mark” people and nurture them. The great thing about social is that it allows you to contact many, many people at scale. We are a start-up but also a global company, through the power of social. We can “touch” literally millions of people at zero cost. (We spend $zero on our Marketing).

C: But what about the new business?

DLA: Once you are social, we can train you on Sales Navigator, then you can hunt for new business.

C: Sales Navigator is expensive?

DLA: If you switch your current event spend into social, this may sound to good to be true but you could double the return for half the cost. We won’t say now you should switch all your event spend, but once you see the return you soon will do.

C: So we can increase revenue from existing accounts and increase revenue from net new accounts, for less spend?

DLA: Of Course.

Whose doing this?

Here at Digital Leadership Associates (DLA) we “eat our own dog food” and we are more than happy to take you through what we do for zero budget and get 3 pieces of inbound everyday. Obviously the 3 pieces of inbound is a small number, as we are a relatively small company, bigger companies would expect to achieve more than this.

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