Why event marketers should adopt ZBB

DSC04318-BThe latest technique on the marketing process block is ZBB or zero based budgeting.

While for many organisations the process of going back to the beginning of plotting any marketing spend represents an enormous challenge, the cyclical nature of the conference, exhibition and festivals sector create the perfect environment in which to reassess how much is being spent and where.

Rather than simply adding an incremental increase onto the total budget, hoping that this will mop up any similar leaps in rate-card, implementing a ZBB methodology offers the chance to really assess how you should be distributing your precious marketing pounds. So this year, instead of just rolling out a campaign, how about you follow these simple steps to create a different, hopefully more effective, marketing plan.

  1. Take time to make a thorough assessment of your marketing campaign for the previous event. Drill down into the detail not only of what did and didn’t work, but how much the implementation of each element cost. Were there areas where multiple different elements worked together to amplify the overall effect?
  2. Look carefully at all the marketing channels you used. What is the longevity of some of the more recent social media trends and how relevant is this to your marketplace? Would revisiting some old favourites like direct mail boost attendance in some sectors of your audience.
  3. What devices are your audience using to engage with you and at what time of the day? Do you need to invest in a technical solution to optimise your messaging to match these behaviours?
  4. What was your data turnover? Did your marketing efforts turn off more people than you gained through other channels? Was there one thing you did that had a greater negative effect or was it a steady rate of attrition as your marketing campaign progressed.
  5. Where were the spikes in your event bookings? Can you identify the activity that caused this and is it replicable?
  6. How is your target market likely to change in the next 12 months and how are you going to change your marketing efforts to capitalise on this volatility? Maybe now is the time to invest in some research.

Too often the biggest change we make as event marketers every year is to the creative look and feel of our campaigns, while just arguing for an extra slice of the overall event budget. How often are we surprised by the new launch that seems to come from nowhere to great success. Perhaps that is because they have started from ZBB and consequently looked much closer at their target audience, its behaviours and requirements rather than just repeating the same old formula.


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