Sarah Rewasiewicz is a marketing and management professional with 10 years of experience in events. She manages data and growth marketing for Informa Markets in the Infrastructure & Construction group, covering nine event brands. Her background also includes marketing strategy for CONEXPO-CON/AGG and World of Asphalt.
How to Increase Event Revenue Without Raising Prices
As event professionals, we are always looking for ways to maximize value for our audience while finding new ways to generate revenue. The challenge: How do you accomplish growth without continuously raising prices for your customers?
One answer: Consider a discount pricing model for show admission.
Exhibitions and events historically use an early-bird, advance and standard pricing model for admission. The prices are set for a time and automatically applied when an attendee registers for the event. The traditional model doesn’t provide the marketing team with true discounts, which hinders their ability to motivate subscriptions and loyalty from customers and prospects. It also leaves money on the table.
What is a discount pricing model?
We see it daily in our consumer lives. The price for an item is set, and we act when we receive a discount through an email, direct mail piece or when our favorite social media influencer shares their code. Sometimes, when we really want something or don’t want to search for the code we received online or in print, we buy it without a discount. Companies make added revenue off the latter.
My experience with the discounted pricing model resulted in a 14% increase in revenue for show admission. Collaborating with a team, we created a discount pricing strategy to mimic B2C marketing for the event. The price was set at the standard price, but discounts were built for different tactics and customer segments.
For example, the website included a smaller discount available for customers who didn’t have a code handy. Larger discounts or loyalty offers were sent through direct marketing efforts. There was also a callout on the event website for visitors to sign up for show email alerts to receive exclusive discounts. It’s a gentle way to give potential customers a reason to subscribe to your emails and grow your email list.
Before launching your pricing strategy, ensure research and analysis are done to determine your customer’s willingness to pay. That may lead to a price increase in some cases to match the value, or it may help you establish the percentages needed to entice certain customer segments. The discounts shouldn’t devalue your product. Instead, they could supply price points that mimic your traditional early bird and advance tiers. Like the traditional tiers, discounts create a sense of urgency that drives pre-show revenue.
Test and track the performance
Another perk to the adjusted pricing strategy is enhanced marketing reporting. Digital changed the game for tracking marketing performance, but it has its flaws. Attribution doesn’t always give the full picture, and digital tactics tend to get more attributed to them due to the nature of online purchasing.
For example, a popular industry expert promotes they are speaking at your event on a podcast, and a customer who listens decides to attend because the expert will be there. So that customer goes to Google, types in the brand name, clicks on the paid search ad and then registers for the event. Attribution goes toward paid digital instead of the true driver for their action.
If you have unique codes for each marketing tactic (web, email, paid digital, social, influencers, direct mail, etc.), you now have offer-driven performance. Attribution tracking will never be perfect, which is why it’s important to view from multiple angles. With the discount pricing model, you can layer on a level of confidence in your reporting.
Conversely, pricing is a delicate business decision, and it must be met with research and nimbleness. Testing a discount model with a small campaign can determine what success may look like for your industry or event.
Try an exclusive discount with an industry influencer or a Black Friday deal to monitor the response. Small tests along the way will formulate the next steps for your specific needs.
Bottom line: It’s worth exploring to see if revenue growth and reporting confidence is right around the corner.