The five biggest frustrations in event marketing and how to avoid them

The majority of your event’s ROI is won through impeccable communication before, during and after the event. Companies need people who can absorb every request, demand, change and setback thrown at them, and still turn everything into a well-oiled event marketing machine. Whoever is put in charge of the event has to unite marketing and sales departments (usually the most prominent stakeholders in these events) in order to make the right contributions. Both departments count on the event to yield value, but they often lack the know-how and engagement to work towards it.

“It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it”. It is a dirty job because no matter how gifted or talented you are, these high-pressure roles go hand in hand with obstacles that seem easy to avoid, but somehow rarely are. When it comes to event marketing, these are the five of the biggest recurring frustrations:

1. Lack of control and overview

2. No engagement from sales

3. Wrong guests, empty seats and no-shows

4. No flexibility and recognition on administrative workload

5. Inadequate registration and attendance tracking

1. Lack of control and overview

How many people have been invited yet? Are there any cancellations? Are we going to get all seats filled? Or are we exceeding capacity? How many tools are we using? Are they synched with each other? Is everyone involved able to access an up-to-date guestlist? Is everyone communicating the same message and using the right tone of voice? Are you inviting the right kind of guests? The first and most significant frustration is the lack of control and overview during the entire marketing event process. It usually starts out well with a couple of documents to keep track of everything. As soon as more people get involved, whether from inside the company or 3rd party, communication tend to get complicated and messy. Add the introduction of multiple tools that don’t quite work together, and the hassle increases exponentially.

Where’s the most up-to-date guest list? This one’s inaccurate.

For a significant amount of companies, this is the number one issue, and the time-saving potential of their event organisation is enormous. The return on investment isn’t just the value you create but also the losses you avoid, after all.

2. No engagement of sales

Are your salespeople committed to making the event succeed? Will they provide you with their preferred guests on time? Can they invite their guests themselves? If so, can you track who has done so and who didn’t? Can you provide invitation or reminder templates to ease their workload? Are you able to provide them with an overview of who’s coming at what time so they can flawlessly interact with their stakeholders? The second frustration is a lack of engagement from your peers. There’s no “i” in “teamwork” nor is there in “success”. A successful event will never be the pièce d’oeuvre of a single individual. It’s the culmination of efforts of all parties involved. They need to be involved, engaged. It’s in their best interest to use the event as a hotspot for potential business opportunities.

I know it’s not ‘part of your job’, but please send out these invitations.

Give the sales team responsibilities and accountability over the invites. It would be a real shame if everything up to the event itself was orchestrated perfectly, only to have your own team neglect the guests and waste the perfect relationship-building opportunity.

3. Wrong guests, empty seats and no-shows

Do you have an idea of the number of (potential) no-shows? If certain people don’t show up, is there a plan of action to fill seats? Even if it is last minute? If so, who exactly would show up? Are they individuals of value or merely seat-fillers? This one is not always completely under your control, but having the wrong guests or empty seats is very annoying. If you don’t have a gameplan for potential absentees, you’ll have to wing it and get lucky with your attendance. But relying on luck equals stress, of course. Also, you don’t want to promise your CEO a table where he’ll be surrounded with top tier guests, only to have him/her flanked by random replacements because you couldn’t reorganise the seating in time.

How many empty seats left … ? Ok, let’s start calling around.

Empty seats or lower-tier guests give your event a rather poor image. People might speculate why certain seats are empty or, if they are the last-minute option, wonder why they weren’t invited in the first place. Not a lot of organisations put thought into some kind of contingency plan, and it isn’t always needed. But when it is, it avoids headaches like no aspirin can.

4. No flexibility and no recognition on administrative workload

Are you able to quickly implement changes without having to reply “this will take a while” every time? What if people want/start to invite extra people or have people on the guestlist they no longer want to invite? Do your peers appreciate the effort and time that go into these changes? The amount of work that goes into managing the marketing event activities is often severely underrated. Things are never set in stone, and changes not only lead to more work but also raise doubts in the responsible one’s abilities. When you’re not sufficiently equipped to handle changes, having no flexibility and getting no recognition will cause a lot of stress and even friction. 

Well, that ‘small change’ means changing all copy…

The administrative and logistic burden is big enough as it is. There’s no need to add another layer of worry and work on top of it. Surround yourself with the right tools to deal with constant adjustments and avoid the lingering burnout. Your best ability is your availability.

5. Inadequate registration and attendance tracking

Can you provide a smooth registration experience to your guests? Do your people-facing colleagues have a way of knowing when their top guests arrive? Can they quickly access their correspondence to make a swift connection and conversation? What if someone sent a colleague in their name? Can you adjust on the spot and spread that information? The last common frustration is one that is only noticeable during the event itself. When guests come in, and they have to wait or aren’t given any attention, you’re dealing with a poor registration and attendance process. For example, a paper registration overview can cause mayhem very easily when it’s crowded. Jotting names down and changing badges takes time and people hate to wait. Also expect a lot of “have you seen him/her already?” from your sales team.

Where’s the CEO? Is he here yet? How come his badge is gone already?

You’re not even off the hook when everyone’s inside. After the event, the attendance list is the number one resource to base your post-event marketing on. Let’s be honest. There’s nothing more embarrassing than reaching out to a person to ask if they had fun at the event, only to find out they couldn’t make it and sent a colleague instead.

Consequences and solution

There’s a high probability you recognised at least one of these frustrations, right? Loot at the bright side, though. The more frustrations you can relate to, the more opportunities you have to increase your event ROI and turn them into an important driver of overall business success for your organisation. Because, quite often, events start out as mere ad-hoc projects, which means limited staff and resources. So the chance of running into these frustrations is high if you don’t take measures to avoid them from the very beginning. If you can eliminate these obstacles and turn the first events into genuine successes, you’ll have the leverage you need to increase the budget allocation. At inviteDesk, we’ve been through all of these frustrations ourselves and decided to do something about it. We have developed a platform where whoever’s in charge of event marketing can take control of the entire process. It makes it super easy to engage with sales and align all communication towards your guests. It’s specifically tailor-made to solve every single difficulty you’ve encountered while reading this blog post and integrates with your existing marketing automation or CRM tools. But maybe it’s better we just show you and answer any questions you might have, so get in touch and let’s have a short discovery call.