BNP recently conducted a survey on all facets of Live Events and their role in the mix of marketing and media that a B2B customer finds valuable. Events must meet a high bar of importance for a business to agree to fund the travel and registration expenses of one or more employees. Such a high bar goes beyond those obvious expenses, however: There is also the time away from work and the missed opportunities of multiple employees. Attendance at an event must provide a convincing return on investment for the attendee to be able to justify it to his or her employer
For that reason, one of our areas of research was designed to help explore the factors that are considered by attendees and their managers in deciding whether an event is valuable enough to justify the investment.
Here is how the attendees ranked such factors or aspects of the Live Event.
1 | Relevance of topics and/or sessions (if educational sessions offered) (80 percent)
For Live Events that include training or education—perhaps some type of certification—the attendees indicate they are seeking specific training related to their job. Training on how to use new technology or new approaches to doing a specific job are the types of sessions justifiable to both employees and managers.
2 | Quality and/or credibility of the speakers (if educational sessions offered) (80 percent)
Some people are better teachers than others. They can make the most confusing topic seem easy to understand. The reputation and standing of a speaker or presenter has a direct impact on the decision of an attendee to choose one Live Event over another.
3 | Relevant mix of attendees (peers) and vendors (exhibitors/sponsors) (65 percent)
Attendees indicate that having a good mix of peers in attendance is something they look for in a Live Event. However, they view having vendors and exhibitors as a benefit as well. They not only want to learn about new products, but also want to find out about the people behind those products.
4 | Networking (61 percent)
Although not as important as it is to exhibitors and vendors (who rank it the No. 1 facet of a Live Event), the quality of networking with both their peers and suppliers is still an important part of the decision-making process for attendees. They indicate they look forward to visiting with current suppliers, but also find it helpful to meet new ones.
5 | Location (58 percent)
While nearly 60 percent of the attendees said that location was important, the reasons for this could range from costs to time constraints. Also, there are many local and regional events that are small, but may be more appropriate for certain types or sizes of business.
6 | Costs of Registration (55 percent) and Travel (53 percent)
Attendees and their managers rank cost as the No. 6 consideration, but more than 50 percent of attendees still consider the registration cost when deciding whether to attend a Live Event. The cost may determine whether or not the attendee will go to a national or regional event. But the fact that so many qualitative reasons rank above cost indicates that “value” is what is truly sought. When the attendee leaves the Event with new customer leads, more knowledge and key contacts who can potentially help with future decisions or insights into new products and approaches, it’s apparent that Live Events provide a great ROI.