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Event Activation Playbook

Your guide to maximizing live event ROI.

  • Knowing what to prioritize is tricky when everything feels like a necessity.
  • Creating a successful, documented, repeatable process for live event marketing is tough when marketers are tight on time.
  • Delivering a high ROI on live events is challenging with limited time and resources.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Event marketers know what needs to be done, but often lack the time to do it.
  • Knowing which actions are truly high-value and where to focus time, energy, and resources in the event marketing process is critical to reaching performance targets and to maximizing ROI.

Impact and Result

  • Identify high-value, high-priority live event marketing activities.
  • Develop a repeatable process for live event success.
  • Understand best practices and expert tips for before, during, and after the event.

Event Activation Playbook Research & Tools

1. Event Activation Playbook Storyboard – This playbook will help event marketers understand the high-value activities needed to maximize event ROI and develop a robust, repeatable process for success at all live events.

Event marketers know they need a robust event planning process for successful live events, but they’re perpetually short on time.

Read this playbook to:

  • Identify high-value, high-priority live event marketing activities.
  • Develop a repeatable process for live event success.
  • Understand best practices and expert tips for before, during, and after the event.

2. Live Event Checklist – Ensure every task is completed at the right time.

Use this checklist to develop and/or validate your live event marketing process and stay on track when executing an event.

Event Activation Playbook

Your Guide To Maximizing Live Event ROI


Optimize your event execution strategy to maximize live event ROI

Event marketers know they need a robust, documented event planning process to be successful and keep up with all the demands and changes taking place, but they’re perpetually short on time. They know that they need key talking points and messaging, to prep their sales teams, and to drive booth traffic, but with so many competing priorities it’s hard to stay on top of it all.

This guide walks you through the high-value activities you need to stand out in a sea of vendors, provide memorable and engaging experiences, execute your event successfully, and maximize its ROI.

More than 80% of organizers identify in-person events as their organization’s most impactful marketing channel ("B2B Conferences, Bizzabo, 2023).

“To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time” (Leonard Bernstein)

Continuum of event engagement

Event marketing starts well before the event and continues well after it. Having a playbook to develop and govern the process is critical to ensuring your event runs smoothly, you hit your targets, and you maximize event ROI.

Phase 1
Pre-Event Preparation

4-6 months before event

Phase 2
Event Execution

0-3 months before event, event day

Phase 3
Post-Event Follow-up

0-6 months after event
Colorful markers underneath each Phase description, including an arrow pointing right.

Event activation playbook overview

This playbook outlines the critical steps to take before, during, and after each event to ensure smooth execution and strategy fulfilment.

Phase 1
Pre-Event Preparation

4-6 months before event

Phase 2
Event Execution

0-3 months before event, event day

Phase 3
Post-Event Follow-up

0-6 months after event

Event Trend Insights and Opportunities

  1. Identify and monitor emerging trends and opportunities

Strategic Event Planning and Building Sales Pipeline

  1. What’s your (event) why? Set better goals, success metrics, and KPIs
  2. Craft a powerful demand generation strategy
  3. Design your conversion-driven plan
  4. Master lead qualification and segmentation
  5. Optimize your website for engagement
  6. Amplify your event attendance through social media
  7. Maximize onsite content creation

Operational Foundation

  1. Befriend event organizers
  2. Upgrade lead capture
  3. Never miss a deadline: live event logistics
  4. Choose enviroconscious collateral and valuable swag
  5. Strong staff, strong performance
  6. Prepare for things to go wrong

On the Ground: Event Day Strategies

  1. Coordinate for success
  2. Exude professionalism
  3. Engage the crowd

Engagement and Communication

  1. Prioritize high-value leads with timely, personalized communications
  2. Nurture leads
  3. Identify potential partnership opportunities

Performance Review and Future Planning

  1. Debrief and capture lessons learned
  2. Measure and report ROI

Track your progress

Use the Live Event Checklist to stay on track while working through this playbook and develop a documented, repeatable process for strategic execution of all live events.

Sample event checklist.

Phase 1: Pre-Event Preparation

Event Trend Insights and Opportunities

How have live events changed?

Event Trend Insights and Opportunities

The live events industry has changed remarkably in the past few years due to technological innovation and the after-effects of the global pandemic. Event marketers must remain on their toes to stay relevant and maintain audience engagement. By keeping a finger on the pulse of event industry trends, event marketers can ensure they reach event goals and achieve results.

This section covers the following steps:

  • Identify and monitor emerging trends and opportunities
Event Trend Insights and Opportunities

Identify and monitor emerging event marketing trends and opportunities

To stay abreast of industry changes and trends, it’s crucial to attend networking events and conferences, keep an eye on top industry publications, and research how event attendee preferences may be shifting. Interact with peers at events and on social media to share insights and ideas on how others are responding to trends and patterns. Don’t let yourself become a laggard; stay proactive and continuously work to understand the best ways to engage your audience at live events to maximize results.

Key Tasks:

  1. Join industry associations and mailing lists to monitor trends (and collect discounts where possible).
  2. Research overall industry trends and where peers spend event dollars.

Pro Tips

  • Attend live, hybrid, and virtual events regularly as an individual.
  • Consistently keep tabs on new and emerging event technologies.

Tech Check

  • Access to key analytics
  • ABM integration

Phase 1: Pre-Event Preparation

Strategic Event Planning and Building Sales Pipeline

Set your strategy

Strategic Event Planning and Building Sales Pipeline

Determining your event strategy and building up your sales pipeline before the event are integral for achieving event-specific objectives. By setting clear goals, crafting a powerful demand generation strategy, and implementing a cohesive conversion-driven plan, strategic event planning maximizes ROI and ensures a seamless experience for attendees.

This section covers the following steps:

  • What’s your (event) why? Set better goals, success metrics, and KPIs
  • Craft a powerful demand generation strategy
  • Design your conversion-driven plan
  • Master lead qualification and segmentation
  • Optimize your website for engagement
  • Enhance social media engagement
  • Maximize onsite content creation
Strategic Event Planning and Building Sales Pipeline

What’s your (event) why? Set better goals, success metrics, and KPIs

Not all events are about lead generation. Companies should know what their main priority is for each event – consider brand exposure and positioning, thought leadership, and strategic partnership building. Once clear on your why, it’s crucial to establish key performance indicators (KPIs) and benchmarks to measure success and refine your live event strategies. Then track progress and identify areas for improvement for more impactful and profitable live events.

Key Tasks:

  1. Clarify reason for event participation, documenting what you want to accomplish.
  2. Identify metrics and KPIs that measure established event goals to drive activities and quantify results. Ensure you’re capable of measuring these metrics.
  3. Share with key stakeholders so everyone is clear on the reason for investment in the event.
  4. Share with team to drive alignment and accountability.

Sample Event Metrics:

Metric KPI

Lead Generation

# of leads
# of qualified leads
# of opportunities created
Lead-to-customer conversion rate

Brand Awareness and Exposure

# of people exposed to brand
Website traffic
Social media traffic
# of content downloads
# of new followers
# of likes, shares, comments, mentions

Thought Leadership

# of session attendees
# of social posts, reposts
# of content downloads
# of likes, shares, comments, mentions

Team Performance

Lead response time
Lead follow-up rate

Craft a powerful demand generation strategy

Demand generation starts months before the event. A demand generation strategy is vital for companies attending a live event to stimulate interest, engagement, and conversions. Through targeted promotion and incentives, businesses generate excitement, attract attendees, and maximize event impact. This approach facilitates lead nurturing, product showcasing, and revenue generation opportunities.

“When it comes to strategy less is more. All you need is something true to your brand and visually striking. Stand out and be consistent.” (Beth Casey, Meeting Nerd, 2023)

Key Tasks:

  1. Obtain an attendee list from event organizers and create your own targeted list, if needed.
  2. Create a pre-event demand generation campaign.
  3. Determine key messaging and content.
  4. Take advantage of placement opportunities, event add-ons, and any existing complementary partnerships.
  5. Create an attractive, compelling booth space that people want to spend time in.

Tech Check

  • LinkedIn Navigator
  • Podcast platforms that match guest with hosts


  • Lack of pre-event promotion and buzz generation
  • Key messaging doesn’t resonate

Design your conversion-driven plan

Outline the path to lead conversion to maximize post-event conversions. By strategically engaging attendees with compelling demonstrations and interactions during the event, and implementing robust post-event follow-up strategies, companies can effectively convert leads into opportunities and ultimately into customers.

Key Tasks:

  1. Outline lead flow from start to finish, defining each step in the conversion journey.
  2. Determine the key actions, experiences, and content needed at each step to maximize conversion.

Pro Tip

  • Event leads are different from typical inbound leads. Spend time understanding what the customer journey of an event lead looks like to convert as many as possible.


  1. Lack of clarity around lead conversion
  2. Lack of consideration for experience of a lead throughout the process
  3. Failing to record important notes from interactions with prospects on site.

Tech Check

  • Consider using sales enablement platforms to enhance communication strategies for sellers.

Master lead qualification and segmentation

Organizing and prioritizing the leads gathered from the event is the critical first step in successfully converting leads to opportunities and, ultimately, to sales. Poor segmentation will lead to inability to hyper-personalize communications, low lead conversion and low event ROI overall.

Key Tasks:

  1. Identify target customer segments.
  2. Determine what a high-value lead looks like (interest, stage of buyer’s journey/intent, ideal customer profile (ICP) fit).
  3. Develop lead segmentation and qualification structure.

Pro Tip

  • Effective segmentation depends on the info gathered during the event. Ensure you’re collecting the info you need about prospects and set up your lead retrieval system to capture it efficiently and accurately.


  1. Inconsistent lead qualification criteria
  2. Too many or too few segments
  3. Too narrow or broad segmentation criteria
  4. Making assumptions about a lead to fill in data gaps

Optimize your website for engagement

It’s critical that your website is event-ready and in-step with your lead generation strategy. An effective website will support leads with utility product/service education and offer messaging that speaks to the company’s unique market insight. Ensure that event messaging is reinforced so customers recognize your brand from their first encounter with it on site.

Key Website Changes:

  • Include registration or appointment scheduling options.
  • Provide valuable content tailored to attendees' interests.
  • Optimize your site for mobile devices to cater to on-the-go attendees.

Key Tasks:

  1. Modify and optimize home page (site navigation, CTA).
  2. Create event-related landing page(s).
  3. Focus on products/services that you want to keep highlighted.
  4. Develop appropriate copy and imagery tailored to event audiences.

Pro Tips

  • Have clear and compelling calls to action (CTA).
  • If running a speaking session, have downloadable content and teaser media available.

Is your website ready for prospects?

Update copy on high-value pages

  • Homepage
    Tailor the copy on the target demo page to resonate with our target persona. Highlight the specific pain points your solution addresses for this audience.
  • Request a demo
    Clearly articulate the tangible benefits of your products. Be persuasive and highlight what prospects gain by signing up.
  • Solution pages
    Ensure solution page copy effectively communicates the solution’s unique value propositions and benefits, especially in the header (H1).

Optimize your demo form

  • Form optimization
    Streamline the demo request form, making it more concise and user-friendly. Use a data enrichment platform (e.g. ZoomInfo) to autopopulate fields wherever possible, reducing friction for prospects.
  • Tracking
    Use Urchin tracking modules (UTM) and other tracking to ensure you receive unique results for each event. This will help your team identify lead source and trend success opportunities.
  • Attribution
    Add an open text field in the demo form prompting users to report how they heard about us. This valuable data can inform marketing strategies.

Amplify your event attendance through social media

Social media is a critical tool for product promotion and buzz generation at each stage of the event. By engaging this audience, you can create excitement around your event presence, begin networking in advance, and amplify the reach of your event to those not joining in person.

Key Tasks:

  1. Develop a calendar for all event-related social posts before, during, and after the event.
  2. Plan all content and social copy for the event.
  3. Provide guidelines, tips, and incentives for booth staff to post on social media and connect with prospects.
  4. Define LinkedIn criteria for targeted outreach prior to the event using targeted account lists for each sales rep.
  5. Set meetings in advance with key clients and prospects that fit your ICP.

Pro Tip

  • Have your team’s LinkedIn profiles ready and updated

Tech Check

  • Social media platform for posts and in-depth analytics
  • Direct booking tools to schedule and manage meetings

Content Inspiration:

  • Group shot
  • Keynote presentation
  • Photos with key clients (with permission, and tag them)
  • Document appearances (other activities on site)
  • Humanize and learn – industry insights, interviews on site
  • Polls, clips, and interactivity for those who didn’t attend

Leverage LinkedIn for awareness and nurturing prospects

LinkedIn provides a professional platform for social sellers to connect with decision-makers and professionals across 149 industries, making it an incredibly valuable outlet for event marketing. In fact, “79% of event marketers use LinkedIn to market their events” (Sweap, 2024).

Leverage LinkedIn through the following actions:

  1. Prospect pre-event: Search for prospects using target criteria such as industry, job title, and location.
  2. Establish thought leadership: Share thought leadership content to establish subject matter authority and develop audience trust, as well as anticipation for the possibility of learning more at the event.
  3. Send personalized outreach: LinkedIn provides messaging features that assist in sending personalized communications. Use them to tailor your messages and increase response rates and overall engagement.
  4. Monitor social media performance: Use available analytics and insights features to gauge engagement through profile views, demographics, etc. Refine your strategy based on what was most effective.
  5. Stay in the loop: Keep up-to-date with real-time data and alerts about any changes in your network and industry so you can confidently engage prospects knowing the latest information.

Maximize onsite content creation

Creating content at live events is essential for engaging booth visitors and gathering valuable market insights, fueling interest in your brand during and after the event.

Key Tasks:

  1. Determine your content objective – are you generating buzz for your brand? Trying to learn more about the market?
  2. Plan how you will engage booth visitors.
  3. Encourage attendees to share their experiences on social media using specific hashtags related to your booth and product/service and the event itself.
  4. Ask booth visitors for photos (and permission to post them!).


  1. Activities that are overdone or unoriginal
  2. No incentive to post on social media or share the experience
  3. Off-brand engagement tactics

Pro Tips

  • Gamify social content sharing with contests and giveaways.
  • Provide equal opportunity to engage with your brand to those that don’t want to post on social media.
  • Use QR codes to direct prospects to landing pages and forms.


Live polls, demos, photo booths, unique selfie backdrops, games, contests, interactive displays, quick, fun surveys, speaking event teasers, etc.

Your guide to maximizing live event ROI.

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