To help control your expenses and revenues, your event budget needs to be accurate, primarily as it measures the success of your event performance.

We’ve spoken to expert Charlotte Cheshire on how to maximise your event budget when hosting. Former Head of Salesforce and CLM Alliances, EMEA at Wipro and current Director at Alicorn, Charlotte has all-around experience with managing a company’s event budget. “Our particular product is people, so there is no recurring revenue. If sales are at a minimum every month, we are at a loss”, explains Charlotte. “Where we lose time, we lose deals, so making and maintaining personal connections is key, and this is where our B2B events come into play”.

Determine your event and overall budget

Determining your event’s objectives and priorities will help you create realistic expectations. Decide what sort of event you are looking to host,  who is attending your event, and your goal. Start planning your event by establishing how much money you have available to spend this way you can estimate which costs may change as you plan. 

Create a high-level plan regarding your event format and goals

Establish which venue works best for your goal and people count. If you have speakers or are including dining experience, this must be factored into your venue. Build your event with your consumer in mind. Charlotte’s approach is by providing a good format with your target teams and products. “Reach out to the correct people and determine who your ideal customers are”.

Charlotte has had to work with low to no budgets resulting in rooftop events but her “ideal event would be a Cheltenham Race with a box or a private table at a boxing match as these are the most fun and where the best relationships are built”. Another alternative Charlotte suggests if you have a low budget, is sourcing partners with a higher budget, giving them most of the tickets and Co-Hosting an event.  

Estimate your costs

Prepare for contingencies in your budget. Add around 10-20%  cushion when setting your ballpark budget to serve as your emergency fund to cover any unexpected costs. Another important aspect is to keep track and record all additional costs made, this keeps you a step ahead for your next event. Transportation for clients and your team as well as food and beverage are also elements that should be accounted for. 

“Everyone is after aggressive growth, but to achieve the best growth, you have to build face-to-face relationships and stand out from your competitors. You have to get out there with your team. Without that face-to-face connection, you just won’t grow and you won’t hit the same numbers”

Is your budget going off track? Here are a few steps to consider:

  1. What was the offending item to cause your budget to go off track?
  2. Can you get a deal to get the price down for that venue, photographer, etc or a discount?
  3. What are the essential event items vs. nice-to-haves? Can we remove anything?
  4. Have you adjusted your budget accordingly and updated potential stakeholders?

Finalise and ensure your event can stay on budget.

You’ve come to the end, now it’s time to do a final sweep over your budget and points. If someone needs to sign off on the budget, make sure you present the information in a way that will make sense to them. Once it’s approved, you can share it with the team and get started.

As you can see, there are plenty of aspects to keep in mind when planning your event budget. Calculation mistakes or last-minute changes can quickly derail your budget, but don’t let this put you off as events are the best way to build new relationships.

 

Planning to co-host a B2B event?

PitchLevel helps high-growth organisations win more business by connecting your sales team with prospective clients at bespoke sports hospitality events. We create better results for your investments by sourcing engaged attendees who match your target audience and are ready to connect.

The secret’s out: In-person events are alive and well. 

In a recent survey by EventTrack, 91% of technology customers reported that they would be more inclined to purchase a brand’s product or service after participating in a brand activation experience. (EventTrack, 2023)

Surprised? You shouldn’t be, really. In a world where we crave experiences more than anything else, event marketing makes perfect sense. With the increased budget constraints Marketing and Event teams face in the current economic climate, this year we are seeing an increased need for ROE (Return on Events).

Real-life experience shapes our thoughts and memories much more profoundly than anything we read or see online. Not to mention the overload of spam and zoom fatigue your audience is facing during their nine-to-five. 

Need some more convincing? Here’s why your Marketing mix should include in-person events this year. 

1. Drive ROI with social capital and live feedbac

“Driving sales pipeline is the No.1 metric by which event marketers measure event success” (Source: Forbes: The Future of B2B events in 2023)  

In-person events provide a level of social capital that can’t be achieved virtually. According to the Harvard Business Review, face-to-face communication is up to 34 times more powerful than online communication. This is further supported by a study conducted by Forbes where 95% of respondents said face-to-face meetings are essential for long-term business relationships. People prefer in-person meetings because they:

B2B marketing events also allow you to get live feedback on what prospects find valuable about your product or services and how it has or will benefit them. It also allows real-time insight on shortcomings, drawbacks, and improvements they want to be added.

2. Build a community of evangelists and get referrals 

78% of B2B marketers say that referral programs generate good or excellent leads (Forbes: 2023) 

In-person events are a great way to have your customers become evangelists for your brand. People attend in-person events to connect with other community members who are tasked with solving similar challenges and complex problems. 

Creating an open and relaxed in-person event offers an opportunity for your customers to build their network and share their positive experiences working with your company. Referrals don’t only generate more leads for your business, but they’ve been proven to be of higher quality. 

With a global increase in on-site events this year, it will be even harder to get the right attendees in the room or even tougher, get them to show up! In-person events can filter down your audience by means of being invitation-only or selectively sourcing the customers you want to do business with. Invite-only events also allow for a more personalised experience for your guests and create multiple touchpoints and interactions with your guests ahead of the event date. 

When it comes to B2B event success, relevance is key. Inviting specific, highly relevant prospects to a more intimate setting, will not only benefit your organisers and sales team but also improve the overall experience for your attendees.

Alisha Louwrens, Marketing Manager at PitchLevel

3. Create meaningful branded experiences

Events hosted in person allow brands and organisers a chance to create a more branded experience for their attendees by using swag, social handles, visuals, banners, photo booths, etc. 

Especially in the technology space, decision-makers are inundated with invitations to B2B events. During an in-person event, all your attendees are present in the venue and brands can use it as an advantage to create awareness and set themselves apart from the competition. They can engage with you on social media, tag you in their posts, and engage with event content after. Not to mention the opportunities branding creates for sponsorship, data collection and future.

“People love sharing positive experiences. Outside of the experience your audience gets at your event, the consumer is connecting and engaging directly with your brand, and as an added bonus, they can often be shared second-hand, through social posts, videos, etc.”

Saskia Smith, Creative Director at PitchLevel

4. Get a handle on the market 

A significant benefit of industry events is the insights you gather about what is happening in your market. Sometimes these insights are more general impressions and other times they may be specific to interest in new technology or concerns about new regulations. Shaking hands with a prospect also gives you access to the strategies of your competitors, what they offer that you don’t, and where your competition is headed in the future. 

5. Great events connect on both a personal and professional level

Investing in new customers is between 5 and 25 times more expensive than retaining existing ones. (Hubspot: 2022) 

In-person events are an incubator for building rapport and getting to know your customers and prospects on a personal level. In order for this personal connection to form, there needs to be an establishment of trust which can only be achieved in an authentic way. 

Connecting on personal passions is a great way to find common ground and start to build trust. Sharing a passion for sports for instance can bring people together to share their opinions and thoughts which can often prompt lively debates between complete strangers. 

In-person events offer an easy way for people to connect and have authentic conversations. Personal connection is what will set the foundation for building a professional relationship in the new era of B2B events.

Ready to host an event that drives real ROI?

PitchLevel helps high-growth organisations win more business by connecting your sales team with prospective clients at bespoke sports hospitality events. We create better results for your investments by sourcing engaged attendees who match your target audience and are ready to connect.