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The Importance and ROI of Events: Marketers Still Face Challenges

by Vahe Habeshian  |  
April 23, 2013

Even as events remain a vital part of the marketing mix, and a key channel for direct one-to-one customer engagement, marketing executives—lacking visibility into the conversion pipeline—don't have sufficiently effective methods for measuring the impact of events and tradeshows on sales and revenue (and therefore can't prove ROI), a new study has found.

Nearly 9 in 10 surveyed brand marketers (89%) say events still hold some level of importance and value for their organization, with 31% considering them essential, according to the study, Customer Attainment From Event Engagement, issued by the CMO Council and conducted in partnership with the Exhibit & Event Marketers Association (E2MA).

However, just 6% of marketers say their company does extremely well in converting tradeshow leads into customer business, and only 8% say their companies are highly proficient at developing relationships, closing deals, and acquiring customer insights at events, the study found.

Below, additional findings from the CMO and E2MA study.

Marketers view events primarily as revenue-driving opportunities:

  • 64% look to source new prospects and business opportunities via events.
  • 63% hope to gather and cultivate leads.
  • 60% seek face-to-face meetings with clients and prospects.

When deciding which events to invest in, marketers' top criteria are the following:

  • Attendee mix and quality: 79%
  • Cost and potential return: 71%
  • Presence of customers, partners, or channels: 57%

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Vahe Habeshian is the director of publications at MarketingProfs and a long-time editor. Reach him via

Twitter: @habesh

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