5 Ways to Grow Your Business with Events

According to recent research “face-to-face meetings are considered a high-priority investment by 82 percent of senior executives.” in 2016. At the same time, CWT Meetings & Events predict growth in the meetings and events industry in 2016, and American Express Meetings & Events also forecast growth in 2016.

There’s never been a better time to invest in events to grow your business! However, there are different ways to use events, many types of events, and various ways to measure your return-on-investment (ROI) from an event.

Below we outline some scenarios for growing your business using different types of events, and we outline some simple methods for measuring the ROI.

1. Boost product and service awareness with an experiential event

Experiential events such as a brand activation or product promotion are both great ways to boost awareness about your product or service. The key to experiential events is to make them unique, memorable and engaging.

Although some experiential events, such as the Freightliner Infinite Inspiration below require heavy financing, or to be exact 60 synchronized projectors and the 420,000 square foot Hoover Dam in Nevada…

Hoover Dam Projection – Freightliner Show from Creative Technology on Vimeo.

You can organize a smaller scale event, that is so unique that it goes viral. For example, to promote the launch of the third season of Game of Thrones, on-demand video service Blinkbox placed a 40 foot long, 9 foot tall dragon skull on a beach in Dorset, UK (which by the way is famous for its dinosaur fossils). Needless to say the story went viral and gained coverage, not only nationwide, but worldwide!

Whatever the scale and budget of your experiential event, publicity is key. Whether that means going viral in digital and social media, or guaranteeing you have large coverage by traditional media, experiential events are made to be ‘discovered’.

Measuring Return-on-investment (ROI)

You can measure the sales interest following your experiential event, but the biggest key return here is media coverage. Collect and analyse the press mentions and publications, and calculate the amount of reach generated.


2. Generate New Leads through a Trade-show or Expo

There are plenty of industry-specific trade shows, exhibitions and conferences where you can present your product or service. These events are essential for your niche and customers because they outline the trends from the past year, and set the upcoming ones. Traditional, digital and social media coverage is high and attendance is seen as a sign of prestige.

If you can’t afford a booth, stand or sponsorship package, just purchase a regular ticket and use the event for networking, competitor analysis, or simply for observation of the upcoming trends in your industry.

Measuring Return-on-investment (ROI)

One of the simplest way to measure ROI at a trade show is to examine how many leads were generated. Follow-up the leads and put them through your sales funnel. How many of these leads led to contracts, and what is the projected value of these contracts? Calculate the projected value against the cost of exhibiting or sponsoring the event.

Keep in mind that future business may also come through referrals from the event!


3. Generate More Sales with a Lecture or Training

Another way of generating new sales is through an already existing client base – your customers. You can up-sell to your clients by offering value add in the form of a business lecture, seminar or training related to yours, and their, field of business – we’re talking win-win.

Since most of these ‘internal’ company events are private, here is an example from Google. Google’s I/O is a “…developer conference with inspirational talks, hands-on learning, and a chance to hear more about Google’s latest developer products.”

Did you spot the -“We’re making it easier for you to develop your app, engage your users and earn with Google.”?

Of course you don’t need to set up a massive event like Google, what you do need to create is a community feeling in your clients. Inspire them and give them the tools to activate this inspiration! You can show them a new or additional use of your product or service. Train them on your products or services hands-on. Teach them how to use them more efficiently, show them upcoming features, services, or new use-cases.

Measuring Return-on-investment (ROI)

Measure new purchases and upsells the following month or quarter, have a look at where they came from. Are they coming from the clients that attended your event? Again, measure the value of the sales against the cost of your event. What was the ROI?

4. Increase Employee Productivity with a Seminar

Similar to the case above, you can organize a lecture, training or seminar to teach your own workforce new skills. The event doesn’t have to be specifically related to your product or service, there are dozens of speaker bureaus offering hundreds of speakers in various professional fields.

Have a look at inspiring New York times best-selling author, investor, sales guru and keynote speaker Gary Vaynerchuk.

Can you image the levels of excitement and inspiration a speaker like Gary can bring to your workforce?

Measuring Return-on-investment (ROI)

Depending on the issue or affected area you want to tackle, assign a value to measure before the event. Maybe you want to increase sales, improve your marketing efforts, decrease turnover or simply increase your employees’ job satisfaction. Assign a method of calculation and values prior to the event, measure those values before and after the event. Was there any improvement?

5. Increase Employee Satisfaction with Incentive Travel

There’s never been a better time for incentive travel! With the sharp fall in oil prices, US media Market Watch reports January 2016 to be the month with the cheapest domestic airline prices in the US in the last three years.

Usually an all expenses paid vacation for your employee, or employees, incentive travel can also include attendance at an industry event, such as a trade-show, conference or expo. A perfect combination of business and leisure.

Have a look at how a group of Polish employees visited California for an incentive trip and “… enjoyed the ocean, the beach, and the California lifestyle as they learned to surf.”

Measuring Return-on-investment (ROI)

In contrast to the other examples listed, incentive travel programs come as a reward, after a particular achievement and so ROI is measured backwards. First you need to calculate the cost of the incentive program, then calculate the values you want improved within a certain timeline. Publicize the program internally, start measuring performance and award your top performer or performers accordingly!


As we said earlier, you can combine incentive travel with a trade show, but you can also combine an experiential event with an incentive travel program for customers. There are countless possibilities as long you stay within budget, and objectively measure the ROI.

The event industry is growing, and it’s the perfect time to follow suit and engage your most important company stakeholders!


Featured image: derivative of untitled photo by Josch13 licensed by CC0 1.0

Guest Author:

Dimitar Toshkov

I’m a wiseacre Millennial, but you’ll find my articles are the result of meticulous research and careful observation.