Rationalizing Events – Decisions and Investments

For many businesses, events provide an essential channel for connecting directly with customers and generating revenue. Events give businesses the opportunity to show their thought leadership and extend their brand presence. They also provide opportunities for employees to learn and connect with peers. Alternatively, some businesses see events as total boondoggles; not recognizing them as a valuable investment for the employees or for revenue generation.

No business wants to waste time or money towards events that do not provide some value. Yet, time and time again, businesses invest in the wrong events and miss out on the right events. Hence, event activities feel like waste and mis-use of budgets and resources.

Continuing to invest in events using the old mindsets will not help businesses be more strategic and increase their return on investment (ROI). Here are just a few examples of how the event decision mindset needs to shift and evolve:

Old mindset (O): All of our competitors are there…
New mindset (N): What evidence or information do we have to confirm that we this particular event is the right event for us and our business? If all of our competitors are there, it is going to be a very noisy event, what do we need to do to differentiate our products and brand? How much will we need to invest? How does this event impact the rest of our sales and marketing efforts and event strategies for the remainder of the year?

O: Our customers are there…
N: What evidence or information do we have to confirm that we this particular event is the right event for us and our business? Are the customers that are going to the event considered decision makers? Influencers? They will be bombarded by other people (eg competitors) wanting their time, what do we need to do pre-event to make sure that they spend their time with us?

O: We have always gone to that event …
N: What evidence or information do we have to confirm that we this particular event is the right event for us and our business? Are we investing in the right way? Should we increase or reduce our investment? How does this event impact the rest of our sales and marketing efforts and event strategies for the remainder of the year?

O: I earned going to this event…
N: What will you bring back and implement with your projects and team? Who will you pro-actively seek out for conversations and networking? What could you do to help extend our company’s brand?

O: There’s not enough budget to…
N: If these are the right events, what are other ways that we can get value out of these events? Can we use the public agendas to target new customers? Can we review the exhibit hall floor map to gather competitive intelligence? What type of budget will we need next year to ensure that we are at the event and investing at the right level?

O: We didn’t have time to measure or collect data…
N: We don’t have time to waste budget and resources.

Snapshot of survey results – 2012 conference attendance and spend

In October 2012, Lodestone Logic sponsored a survey to generate insights about the time and money that our readers of The Navigator invested to attend conferences in 2012.  As we promised, here is a  snapshot of the survey results.
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47.9% of respondents reported that compared to 2011, their conference attendance has stayed the same.We were interested in gaining insight into how many days and how much money was invested in conferences by individuals and companies each year.  44.5% of the respondents attend 4 or more conferences per year. 64% invest more than 5 days participating in conferences.
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70% of respondents rely on their employer to pay travel and registration costs for conferences.  Respondents also reported that they primarily learned about these conferences via an email advertisement, a referral from a colleague or friend, or by receiving an invitation from conference organizers.

From a cost breakdown standpoint, 74% of respondents spend more than $1,001 on registration fees and 46% of respondents spend more than $3,000 on travel, hotel, and other expenses to attend the conferences.

Based on this data, it is clear that individuals and companies are making a considerable financial investment in attending conferences each year.

Our readers were most interested in the following conference categories or topics:

1.  Pharmaceuticals
2.  Healthcare
3.  Healthcare Information Technology (HIT)
4.  eHealth/Digital Health
5.  Leadership

We have used these survey results to ensure that we are including relevant and meaningful content and conferences for our readers. The results have also informed the development of a business intelligence product and service. This product is currently in beta test with the plan to launch later this year. If you are interested in learning more and potentially being a beta test user, please send an email to contact@lodestonelogic.com.