IMC APPROACH TO EVENT MARKETING
sors. Celebrity athletes help to increaseattendance, as well as demand for spon-sorship and hospitality opportunities atthe event.In a sense, this is one level of cause-related marketing. The official beneficiaryof the six-day affair is a public-privatecoalition of organizations whose primaryfunction is to promote health awarenessand education and to increase access toquality healthcare. During the event, avariety of activities and health-focusedbooths are provided by coalition mem-bers in each of the host cities. Due to thelarge numbers of spectators and inter-national media coverage, the beneficiaryestimates that the value of media expo-sure for the 2004 event was $2.5 million.The title sponsor for the event is anautomobile manufacturer. More than adozen other firms sponsor the event andactivities in host cities. In addition to nam-ing rights, the title sponsor's name andlogo are prominently displayed through-out the event on banners, signage, volun-teers' shirts, and on the large-screen TVthat projects the race to the crowd duringthe sporting event. The sponsor's name isalso mentioned over a public address sys-tem by an announcer who is explainingwhat is happening in the competition.In each host city, the automobile man-ufacturer has exhibits (tents) in which itscars and trucks are displayed. Althoughspectators are not provided with oppor-tunities to test drive any vehicles duringthe event, they are able to interact withthe vehicle and speak with the manufac-turer's representatives. Those who attendthe exhibits also have their names enteredinto a drawing for a new vehicle. Thenames and customer information col-lected from this drawing also provide amarketing purpose. A form of permission-based marketing, the drawing entrantsmay elect to receive promotional materi-als and updates from the sponsor.
A major difference between marketing with an event andmany other communication methods is that events offeropportunities for personai interaction with products.
The term "event marketing" is used todescribe a variety of activities, includingthe "marketing of events and marketingwith events" (Cornwell and Maignan, 1998,
5). The marketing of an event is notrelated to sponsorship, whereas market-ing with events entails the promotion ofsponsors through the sponsorship vehi-
The latter, marketing with events, helpsto accomplish the firm's objectives throughevent-related communications and expe-riences. A major difference between mar-keting with an event and many othercommunication methods is that events of-fer opportunities for personal interactionwith products.Defined as "the underwriting of a spe-cial event to support corporate objectives"(Javalgi, Traylor, Gross, and Lampman,
p. 48), including sales, brand aware-ness, and image enhancement (Gardner andShuman, 1987; Gross, Traylor, and Shu-man, 1987), event marketing is one ofthe fastest growing forms of marketingcommunication. In
$152 billion wasspent on event marketing
2005). Compared with other indus-tries, automobile manufacturers andhealthcare firms spend more on externalevents,
those targeting customers, pros-pects,and vendors, than they spend on in-ternal events, i.e., those that are designedfor employees, sales teams, and partners(MPI Foundation, 2004).Increased spending on event marketing,relative to other forms of promotion, sug-gests there
benefits to sponsoring events.Research by Crimmins and Horn
sug-gests that sponsorship of high profileevents has the potential to be "worthmillions of dollars" to the sponsor (p. 11).Furthermore, a recent survey of marketingexecutives at major
corporations indi-cates that event marketing offers the great-est ROI, followed by advertising, directmarketing, public relations, sales promo-tion, and internet advertising (MPI Foun-dation, 2004). While the investment tocommunicate via a sporting event can behigh, the cost may be offset by the in-creased amount of time customers are able
spend interacting with
company's prod-ucts. Hence, event marketing may be seenas a unique opportunity to integrate thefirm's other marketing communication ac-tivities, such as advertising, public rela-tions, and direct marketing, with
hands-onexperience that may be provided by anevent. In a sense, event marketing enablescustomers to interact with the brand.In the automotive and healthcare indus-tries, event marketing has become animportant component in companies' pro-motional strategies. According to a recentstudy, 53 percent of automotive execu-tives and 44 percent of healthcare execu-tives view event marketing as an importantcommunication tool, indicating that theirROI from event marketing continues tostrengthen (MPI Foundation, 2004). Firmsin other industries (e.g., airline, con-sumer goods) are also beginning to spenda greater proportion of their promotionaldollars on event marketing (IEG Sponsor-ship Report, 2000). However, much likeother forms of promotion, issues of mea-surement, cost, and the clutter of multiplesponsors have been raised by both corpo-rations and researchers.
374 JDORORL OF ROUEBTISIOG RESEBRCH December 2005