Chances are your bank participates and hosts many client events. However, chances are your bank does not monitor and track their effectiveness. At CenterState, these events are one of our best sales opportunities, as it not only affords direct interaction with clients or prospects but also allows us to bring together other happy clients and influencers to help the sales process. While sometimes more art than science, we are getting better at calculating and ranking the return on investment on many of these events. In this article and the follow-up post, we discuss our methodology and how banks can leverage our framework to increase their marketing performance.
Events fall into one of three categories: 1) Client retention, 2) Brand awareness, and 3) Lead generation (lead gen). Some events, such as shareholder meetings and non-profit sponsorships, don’t lend themselves to selling and are designed to support the community, help retention and build the brand. However, these events can and should be measured. At a minimum, we use a metric called “In-person impressions.” These are an estimate of the number of people at the event that get exposed to the brand. The concept is similar to digital impressions except we consider it a higher value investment since usually there is more emotional sentiment surrounding an event. Our brand is usually cast in a better light than on a website somewhere.
If our logo is prominently displayed so everyone can see it, then the “In-person Impressions” might equal the total attendance of the event. If we are just in a program or just at a table, then the event lead is responsible for estimating the percentage or number of people at the event that gets exposed to our brand.
Notice that even collecting the basic information around impression helps determine what events we sponsor and how we sponsor an event. Calculating the cost per “In-person Impression” can drive the bank away from small, expensive events or try to negotiate better brand placement at committed events. Because other sponsors rarely think along these lines, just by taking a more quantitative approach can help banks increase their return.
Brand Value Equivalence
Events can and should be compared to other ways to get impressions such as leveraging radio, digital advertising, direct mail and public relations efforts. While bankers have to adjust for relative value, the cost per impression can help form the basis for making marketing budget allocations.
Below are some common cost per impression benchmarks for various marketing channels for banks. These are averages and obviously vary widely according to the quality of the event, geography, and percentage of desired target audience in attendance, but these should serve to help your bank determine if your events or marketing efforts are within range.
The graph can also serve to open up thinking. While some events seem relatively expensive, knowing how these events will be leveraged can help drive marketing decisions. For example, if the hosting organization plans to televise the event that can serve to dramatically drop your cost per impression. This is why it not only pays to understand the media’s role in every event (are they invited and are they likely to attend), but it also pays to understand what the hosting organization plans to do to both promote the event before and then follow up. The organization that highlights the event in their newsletter or on their website can increase the impressions and drive marketing costs down on a per impression basis.
Event Portfolio with a Purpose
Of course, banks should consider event marketing like a portfolio. Some events should be targeted at building goodwill, while some events should be sponsored to drive leads. The main takeaway in this article is that banks need to apply a basic framework to better leverage their marketing dollars. Understanding impressions is the first step to apply some quantitative rigor to a function that has traditionally escaped data-driven analysis.
Later this week, we will show our similar analysis for lead generation and talk about how some banks are seeing their largest marketing return on investment by using some specialized techniques.
Submitted by Chris Nichols on January 08, 2017