How to invest your surplus EOY budget into 2022 experiences
Choosing where to invest your remaining 2021 budget feels like it requires both a crystal ball and a support group. It’s overwhelming, so let us help — invest in XP. Now, as we climb up onto our soap box to preach the gospel of experiences for all to hear remember, poorly executed events won’t foster community or earn positive attention for your brand.
So, before you invest the rest of your 2021 budget into 2022 experiences, ask yourself:
- What’s my 2022 business strategy? What technology or resources will I need to achieve those goals?
- Are there any operations/processes can I scale back or eliminate to save money in 2022?
- What were my top performing marketing campaigns and strategies in 2021? Can I boost or expand on those themes?
- What resources does my team need to perform their jobs better?
While we don’t know where Covid will take us next — heck, maybe we’ll be covering the Zeta variant in 2022 — we do know that, at the very least, investing in hybrid or virtual events is a must-do to connect with consumers. Here are four ways to invest your 2021 end of year budget into 2022 events and experiences:
One of the biggest challenges brands face when beginning their experiential marketing journey is not having the resources required to complete the dozens (well, more like hundreds) of tasks that it takes to pull off a successful event. Departments either face budget or bandwidth constraints. Or both! Fun!
Assigning end-of-year resources toward your XP efforts is an investment in the year ahead. For example, your company could secure the talents of a freelance project manager to consult on an event strategy or commission a designer to mock up some space renderings.
Invest in new tech
There are deals, deals, deals to be found in Q4 as sales professionals work tirelessly to score last minute accounts and end their year on a high note (and even higher commissions). Take advantage of the season and identify what technologies could fill the gaps in your experiential campaigns. Ask yourself:
- Will this technology save time or improve productivity?
- Will the cost of training outweigh the benefits?
- Is this a proven technology or should you wait to implement?
Consider a project management and organization platform like Monday.com to track who’s working on what activation and when. Try a social media aggregator and user generated content platform like Tint to blend live and virtual attendee interaction. Or invest in HubSpot to unite your social media planning, guest communications and event sites under one roof.
Launch an incentive program
While this will look different across industries, incentive programs allow your audience and past attendees to earn rewards like trips, exclusive access and merch giveaways for your 2022 events. They can earn these prizes through anything from social media contests to sharing your newsletter with their network — anything that brings you more fans and potential attendees.
Of course, incentive programs require significant investment, and rushing into a decision may cost you more money than the program’s worth. Instead of making a hasty choice in December, research options and lay groundwork throughout the year. Then, finalize the packages in Q4, when you have a clearer idea of budget restrictions.
Finance professional development
Employees interested in expanding their knowledge and training always hear that there’s just no budget to accommodate them. Well, it’s hard to use that excuse when there’s money that needs to be spent before the clock strikes midnight on January 1. Workforce statistics reveal that companies with engaged employees make 2.5 times the revenue and those highly engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave their jobs.
Most importantly, ask your employees what resources they’re interested in for their professional development. This investment could be:
- Conferences (including travel costs)
- Online courses or webinars
- Subscriptions to industry publications
- Memberships to professional associations
Remember, EOY budgets can be “use it or lose it.” And, annoyingly, departments that don’t spend everything one year might receive even less investment the next. Though the ROI is often abstract and the sales cycle multifaceted, events and experiences prove their value to the brands and organizations brave enough to invest in their consumers.