Stop Sponsoring and Throwing Events Without Data

Joshua Lawton Market, Thoughts on the Future Leave a Comment

I don’t know about you, but we are tired of marketing dollars being wasted on anecdotal evidence and the “because everyone else does it” line. Too often, this is the mantra for how companies assign their marketing and advertising budget. When Justin was selling digital billboards here in the Austin area he had a client call 2 weeks before SXSW begging for advertisement because they realized their competitor was going to be advertising.  

If you don’t know this already, SXSW is a marketing force for companies that want to show they have arrived as the “event of the year.” Massive event marketing spends are allocated for this event but during the last SXSW only a few of the major venues were packed while the rest of the venues were giving away free beer just to fill their space to justify their ROI and the spends are not small. According to Greyhill Advisors, “In 2016 the value of SXSW print, broadcast and online publications coverage totaled $223 million. The increase in SXSW’s media valuation reflects a more comprehensive assessment of international media coverage.”  


“31% of marketers believe that events are the single-most effective marketing channel over digital advertising, email marketing and content marketing.”


Granted, the SXSW example is an extreme case of event and marketing spending but this outlines the issue of event marketing as a line item in your budget. If you do not know your ROI for each dollar spent, than you are unable to mitigate ineffectual uses of marketing dollars. But how do you know how to accurately calculate an event’s strategic ROI? According to The Balance, an event’s strategic ROI can be calculated by two main methods:

  1. “The organization may view ROI by aggregating all costs and comparing this to a value that is estimated by the organization. And then determines the financial benefits of the event. an organizational level and at a participant level.
  2. ROI at the participant level may be measured at the individual level and estimates the value on a per participant basis.”

As any marketer or event planner will tell you, figuring out an event’s ROI today is as much about how the business owner or client feels the event went as it is through the magic of financial calculations. Pack the house? That’s great! But what if none of these people ever end up coming to your store to buy your product? Two musicians jammed out? That’s fabulous! But what if the one musician that you payed more money for decreased the amount of time people stayed at your event? In almost every other aspect of business, data drives business decisions. However, all too often when it comes to events, we aren’t making decisions based on data because we do not want to, but rather because there is a significant lack of data with which to make those decisions.


“44% of event marketers would like new event technology that provides analytics (booth visits, length of stay, etc.) in order to improve the exhibitor and attendee experience.”


And yet even with the lack of data , in 2017 “…63% of marketers plan on investing more in live events in the future both in budget and number of events.” and “28% of companies allocate over 20% of their marketing budget to organizing events.” All of this led to companies spending $26.1B on live events in 2017. 

Event marketers aren’t the only ones experiencing a lack of data, from billboards to ads on buses, calculating the ROI on marketing spends in the physical world lacks data. At Abraxas Technology, we believe that no amount of creative can refute the data. By using our patent pending product at an event, event managers can provide their clients with specific ROI metrics related to the event, and clients and business owners can know and show their investors and boards how many event attendees converted into customers.


Want to learn how Abraxas Technology can help you figure out your event’s ROI. Don’t hesitate to contact us.


Follow us on Twitter @Abraxas_Tech



Justin Gilfus is the CEO and Co-Founder of Abraxas Technology. 

Joshua Lawton is the COO and Co-Founder of Abraxas Technology.



Main Sources Used:



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *