The event market is as saturated as it has ever been. With events popping up weekly, it makes it nearly impossible to attend all of the events you would like to. If you’re a planner, you understand how important it is to make your event stand out from the crowd and recognize that marketing is one of the first ways you can attract attendees. The challenge is: marketing and marketing tactics have evolved in recent years, making it difficult to understand what methods will yield the most successful results. Below we will outline how to create a successful marketing strategy and the different marketing techniques you can use to attract registrants to your next event!
Developing a Marketing & Communication Plan
First things first, you need to create a plan. Follow the four steps below to maximize your success:
- Define your Goals & Objectives: The first step of any successful marketing campaign is to developing a clear objective. Is your goal to increase registration? Increase sponsorship revenue? Increase brand awareness? Your objective will determine the methods and content of your communication plan.
- Outline your Target Market: The audience you hope to hit is directly related to the tactic you will use. You must determine who they are, what they do, how tech-savvy they are and in what industry in order to determine what traditional and/or non-traditional tactic you will employ.
- Determine Which Marketing Tactic to Use: Some mediums are much more effective than others when it comes to your marketing strategy. Decide which vehicle you will use and develop a schedule for all communications. The main thing to keep in mind is that marketing is most effective when you diversify your approach. Use multiple mediums to attract and engage as many registrants as possible.
- Track and Analyze: Use click through data, comments and feedback to tweak your marketing plan. It’s not set in stone; it’s a fluid, “living” strategy that should be updated for maximum results.
Traditional Marketing Tactics
Although traditional marketing methods may seem outdated and sometimes expensive, they often produce fantastic results when used correctly.
- Snail Mail: In our highly technological world, where many communications are automated, we tend to forget how powerful a personalized message can be. Direct mail sent to a specific group of people can make an impact and can leave a lasting impression. With hundred of emails reaching our inbox daily, a piece of mail stands out from the crowd!
- Newspaper Ads: General ads in newspapers tend to be successful for very large, tradeshow style events, due to their vast reach and diverse audience.
- Radio: Like newspaper ads, radio marketing is a method that can be used when the registrants you are trying to attract are much broader. If you have a very narrow audience in mind, radio may not be the best approach for your event.
Non-Traditional Marketing Tactics
While some of these non-traditional tactics may seem in fact traditional (because they are so widely used), it is important to recognize that these marketing methods work better under different circumstances.
- Email Marketing: Eblasts are arguably the most widely utilized marketing tactic today. Therefore it is important to ensure that the eblasts you are deploying will stand out from the crowd.
- Social Media: Using social media platforms like Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and Periscope not only act as a forum to promote your message, but they also allow you to easily engage with your audience and answer questions in real time. This can help build relationships and elevate your brand.
- Text Messaging: We typically receive text messages from our closest friends and family, which is why text message marketing is one of the more personal tactics of marketing. The reason this method is so successful is that the majority of text messages are read, making the opened rate one of the highest compared to all other techniques.
- Other: Cause marketing (partnering with a charitable organization to help promote both brands), co-branding (partnering with an already established organization to help build credibility), guerrilla marketing (unconventional marketing tactics that cause buzz), video marketing, etc.
We hope this marketing overview provides you with some tid bits you can take back to your organization and implement right away. If you have any questions or want to chat through some of your event marketing and communications tactics, get in touch! We would love to hear from you.
This article first appeared in the MPI Toronto meetings magazine. The digital edition can be seen here.