How Much Should You Spend On Event Marketing, Really?

Last Updated on October 7, 2021

We all know that it’s extremely important to market your events effectively. If you don’t get the word out, you don’t sell tickets. If you don’t sell tickets, you don’t meet your budget projections. And if you don’t meet your projections…

Yeah, you get the idea.

What I’d like to discuss today – aside from how to market, we’ve already talked extensively about that – is how much of your event budget you should allocate to marketing. This doesn’t just apply to event management, of course. The question of how to know when one’s spending their marketing budget effectively is one that the business world has been trying to figure out for some time.

I could give you a concrete answer to the question, of course. As written by Ann Bransom of Demand Media, “58% of businesses marketing budgets are under 4% of their sales revenue; and only 2% of businesses are spending above 20%.” What that means for you is that the magic number as far as marketing spend is concerned is anywhere between one and eight percent of what you expect your event to make.

Of course, that answer doesn’t really help us much, does it? See, a lot more than just revenue should go into determine a marketing campaign’s value. There’s actually a significant array of different factors you need to account for when you’re figuring out your marketing spend:

Who is attending this event? Is it something the general public can travel to, or is it a summit exclusively intended for a select group of professionals? In the latter case, you’ll be spending next to nothing on marketing – you just need to send out a few emails.

How large is the event? For larger events, you’re naturally going to be spending a whole lot more on marketing, since exposure’s going to be a lot more important (and you’ll have more to spend, of course).

How well known is the brand? More established brands are naturally going to need to spend less on event marketing – they’re probably already pretty well-established on social media, meaning a few Tweets or Facebook posts is all they really need to get the word out.

What type of event are you running? If you’re hosting a charity drive, you’re going to need to do quite a bit of marketing to make sure things turn out well. If you’re simply running an internal conference, however; you don’t need to spend a cent.

How popular is the event? Is it annual? For a convention like the Electronic Entertainment Expo, for example, the marketing budget is probably fairly minimal. Everybody already knows what the show’s about, meaning its marketing team doesn’t need to do much aside from send out an announcement every year.

Where Are You Planning To Advertise? Depending on your demographic, you may advertise almost entirely through digital avenues – social media, email campaigns, etcetera. What that means for you is that you’ll be spending significantly less on marketing than you would with a print campaign.

So, how much should you spend on event marketing? Honestly, it depends.

While no one’s going to argue against the notion that you need to get the word out about your events one way or another, how much you should spend on the endeavor depends entirely on whom you are, what sort of event you’re running, and who you’re running it for. Only once you’ve figured out all those details can you adequately plan out your budget.