The event manager’s guide to marketing terms in 2017

As events become increasingly intertwined with digital marketing strategies, the number of acronyms and buzzwords flung around the space grows exponentially. If deciphering event marketing speak feels like a job in itself, fear not. We’ve explained some of the most common digital marketing terms associated with events, below:


Also referred to as Event Relationship Management, ERMTM is the event manager’s equivalent of CRM (Customer Relationship Management). In an age where your guests are bombarded with myriad brand touchpoints on a daily basis, getting a handle on ERMTM is paramount. Why? Simple: Event Relationship Management is all about forming authentic connections with your guests, through relevant and meaningful interactions that are informed by data. (We recommend reading this blog that delves into the practice, and what it means for you.)

Email blast

A series of emails sent over a short period of time to a segment of your database or target market. Email blasts are commonly used to promote a product launch or special offer, and owe their efficacy to the perceived sense of urgency they convey. That said, if they’re not personalised, relevant to the recipient and emotionally engaging, they’ll linger unopened in the inboxes of guests long after your event has ended.

Native advertising

Also known as sponsored content. The connected world is awash in a deluge of content. In a mere sixty seconds, 4,166,666 people are clicking ‘like’ on Facebook, 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube and 350 000 tweets are sent. It’s no wonder then, that catching – and keeping – the attention of your guests is getting trickier by the minute. In an effort to broaden their reach, brands are reaching out social media influencers and media stables to post content that subtly alludes to the brand’s message, but is posted in the trademark style and tone of the platform it’s posted on. The goal? To create positive associations with the brand, by way of aspiration, influence, or both.

Affiliate marketing

A marketing tactic whereby a business pays an affiliate for each customer or site visitor that they’ve brought in by their own marketing efforts. Think of it as the digital equivalent of word of mouth. Brand X touts the benefits of Brand Y, and is then paid based on the number of leads they’ve generated. As market competition becomes ever more fierce, brands are joining forces with industry thought-leaders and heavyweights to successfully increase their exposure via affiliate marketing.


Also known as a social media Influencer. Scroll through your Instagram feed, and you’re bound to follow an individual whose 5000 followers clock their every move. This growing breed of social media ‘star’ are what brands refer to as influencers, thanks to their large followings and visible presence on platforms like Instagram, YouTube and Twitter. For example, Woolworths and Uber Eats South Africa turned to social media influencers like Suzelle DIY (Julia Anastasopolous), who promoted their Easter campaign on Instagram and brought so much traffic to the app that it temporarily crashed.


As video gains in popularity, brands are turning to this format to host live-streamed seminars over the web. The appeal is obvious: anyone can join from anywhere, and content is presented in a personal, engaging way. Many established events now offer webinars of their sessions, thanks to strides in live-streaming technology. As Facebook Live and Twitter’s Periscope battle it out to bring livestreaming to the mainstream, we’ll see more and more events being broadcast into cyberspace – for a fraction of the price and with minimal technical know-how required.


Customer or guest engagement is any interaction a consumer has with your brand. Customer engagement can be facilitated via myriad touchpoints: an event, an in-store experience, a conversation on social media, and the like. As customer experience becomes more important than ever, so too does your ability to find ways to meaningfully engage your guests. Just like ERMTM, optimal guest engagement relies on data: the more you know about someone, the better equipped you are to create and provide relevant, targeted channels of communication.


Also known as ‘closed loop marketing’. The alignment between sales and marketing thanks to data-driven insights. Smarketing entails a symbiotic relationship between the sales and marketing teams. As inbound marketing authority, Hubspot explains: “Sales teams report to Marketing about what happened to the leads that they received, which helps Marketing understands their best and worst lead sources.” Smarketing enables brands to see how each marketing activity (an event, social media campaign, etc.) results in a lead or a sale. When done properly, you can focus on the marketing tactics that are most effective, and reduce spend on those that are less so.

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