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Brand vs Performance Marketing: Which is Better For Events?

In our time helping newly founded events (conferences, meetups, festivals) and established events there seems to be a common topic that is discussed each time. One in which event management thinks in terms of brand marketing vs. performance marketing.
Brand marketing helps build the brand for the long-term whereas Performance Marketing is often viewed as mostly concerned with growing the event. To be sure, they each have their value and we need both for every event.

What is Brand Marketing?

An event brand is the total image of the event through the eyes of the customer. From how it writes marketing copy to how it handles customer questions to how management leads the company. It is why the company exists, how they operate, and what they bring to their customers. Everything that a company does and how people interact with a company defines a brand.
The event will need to have brand components such as brand position, brand attributes, and brand story. Those components should inform and give direction in everything a event does. Which includes…

Performance Marketing

Performance-driven marketing is mostly a numbers game and Orion follows the following strategy.
Finding the right audience fit,  brainstorm on angles to communicate with this audience, turn this angle around in actual marketing copy,  create images that support this message, guide your audience through the right channels in sales funnels and let them convert.

However, performance marketing that is done without the direction of the brand only gives you short-term gains. When done using the brand as a guide, you still find combinations that work and in the meanwhile, you are in the process of building your brand and so we always need to start with the brand.

Starting with the brand in mind

You can start with performance marketing and it will give you short-term wins. However, reaching your goals without a clear direction is always a bad idea, way harder, and more expensive. The brand direction is something your customers need to create a connection and to recognize your brand.

The best version of performance marketing lies somewhere in between branding and performance. Yes, you check all parameters and try to optimize based on numbers. But the message, marketing copy, and images we use need to be in the same direction as the overall branding. In the starting days of our agency, we helped out a personal training company with their workout event. We came up with a campaign based on what we saw worked in the market and ran promotions through LinkedIn eventsFacebook events and more.
We also ran a few tests and we brought results but the whole campaign was so separated from the brand that it didn’t help them in the long term. After we sat down and decided on the branding/ performance objective of the company we still brought results but with a longer time span and the brand started to see more and more results organically as well.
By knowing your brand position, your brand attributes, and how to translate that position into messaging and imagery that resonates with your target audience, you’re able to create performance marketing that helps reinforce the brand.

Ok so do I chose a brand or performance agency?

Questions like this we hear all the time and it’s a very important question. I think that it’s different for every company based on the team, the current state of the event, who their audience is and what their budget is for marketing.
We are more than happy to provide events with a free 1-hour consult to discuss their current setup and ways to set up their marketing efforts. In order to prepare, we would suggest you go through the marketing audit and we will provide you with a report & and steps to take. If you need help with taking those steps we are here to support you.

Manno Notermans

Manno is a wanderer of the world looking to make an impact and change the world for the better. He has over 10 years of experience working in various marketing positions. Manno’s main focus the past few years has been accelerating the growth of businesses, increasing revenue, and profit with out-of-box creative ideas and implementations.