Hardly Second Best: Email Is Strong No. 2 In Event Marketing

Email retains a sturdy second place in the marketing of events. And that’s true of both the business and customer sides, according to a study by XING, a European event company.

Of 1,630 event organizers surveyed, 89% cite their own websites as their leading marketing tool. That makes sense because “all marketing activities are linked to the organizer’s own website,” XING observes.

But 76% use email marketing — the star of event marketing,” Xing states. And 73% rely on social media.

In contrast, traditional print advertising is favored by 47%, public relations by 40%, SEO by 28% and influencer marketing by 23%. 

These results are similar to those of a survey conducted by Certain earlier this year. Email was ranked as the second most effective tool, just behind social media.

What are event marketers trying to achieve? To attract more attendees (84%), boost event publicity (72%) and increase customer retention (60%), according to XING.  



In addition, 41% hope to serve as information channel for attendees, 33% to boost the event’s image and 17% to reduce marketing costs.

Their actual achievements are in a slightly different order — 70% have used digital means to boost event publicity, 65% to attract more attendees and 34% to increase customer retention.

Who’s doing it right? Ramp102 GmbH, for its Online Marketing Rockstars conference. It has increased its attendance numbers from 1,200 in 2013 to 26,872 this year.

The company did it with“an intelligent mix of traditional and digital marketing solutions, e.g., email, social media, and content marketing!” XING states.

Moving forward, event marketers would like to use social media more — 65%, compared with only 41% for email. But that disparity may be due to email’s already high adoption rate. And 48% want to make greater use of their own websites.

That said, they’re a bit shy of using blogs, influencers and viral marketing. Email is also the second choice among conference attendees for learning about events.

Of 2,621 attendees surveyed, 66% rely on input from friends and acquaintances. Emails and event newsletters are next, favored by 59%. This is where event organizers “fully hit the spot!” XING reports.

“Attendees especially appreciate the various ways by which they can find information,” it continues. “More than half of them (58%) stated that they appreciate receiving additional and more detailed information about the event.”

Meanwhile, 49% use search to find details on specific events. Way down the list are traditional banner ads — only 20% are affected by them. 

As for go-to sources, 68% prefer organizers’ websites, and 52% prefer email/event newsletters.

Here is the best tribute to effective event marketing: 25% appreciate the interplay on online platforms even when they can’t attend the event.



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