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marketing

Best Practices for Event Promotion and Marketing

Event promotion requires a great deal of planning and effort. With the help of seasoned event and promotional expert, Marilde Motta, we have compiled an overview of the best practices for the event promotion process.   Where to Start: The starting point is to define the main topic of your event and consider who is […]

Event promotion requires a great deal of planning and effort. With the help of seasoned event and promotional expert, Marilde Motta, we have compiled an overview of the best practices for the event promotion process.

 

Where to Start:

The starting point is to define the main topic of your event and consider who is the core target that could be interested in it and why. You need also to decide how many persons the event can accept (do you want 100 persons taking place, 1,000 or more? What is the breakeven point to consider your event a success as for the attendance?). After having defined the characteristics of the target (socio-demographic or professional), it is necessary to know where your target is (in town, in the region, or far away or abroad). As for the message, the benefits that drive the interest of the target are intangible (as knowledge and information, training, networking, entertainment) as well as tangible (as the venue and location, the collateral activities, the quality of dinner and entertainment, etc…). Remember that benefits must always be clearly perceived as superior to the cost of attendance. So when deciding the key-message to use in advertising the event, you need to show and stress benefits to catch the interest of the target.

 

The Event Promotion Time Frame:

When to start? When all is defined and confirmed (location, speakers, full program and collateral programs, etc..). Consider that in case you advertise too much in advance (2/3 months), it is possible that the target forgets the message. It is advisable to start advertising on magazines 40/60 days before the date of the event, whilst using direct mail it is enough 30/40 days before the event (in case sending also an sms to call to action 10 days before the event). How frequently to advertise? In general 2/3 announcements on the same media (the first to present the event and the second after a couple of weeks to remember it and the third few days before the event to launch the last call to action). But if the topic is of no interest for the target it is without use to coax them. It makes sense to offer rebates for early birds or rebates for three or more persons of the same company mainly when you need to begin immediately to earn money to cover costs.

 

Means of Communication:

Now you have almost all the elements for planning the communication, deciding which is the discipline of communication you need.

When it is possible to single out name and address of each person in target, you can rely on a direct marketing action (on/offline), developing key messages and benefits, but if you know only the profile of your target (for instance it belongs to a professional category or to a specific business sector) you need to launch an on/offline advertising campaign in the professional/trade magazines. It is very important to focus on target to avoid the dispersion of the message and a waste of money on media that do not reach your target or reach the mass of a category, when you need only a small group of the whole category, simply resident in town. It is very useful a mini website dedicated to the event where potential attenders can find info and even the form to fill in or the online system of payment. You can promote the website through SEM and SEO solutions.

 

Event Types & The Importance of a Brief:

In my recent book I have made a codification of events, considering 5 main categories, there are many different kinds of events for each category, based on specific characteristics and on their functions. It is very important to understand which type of event is most suitable based on the client brief and the results the company wants to achieve in the short as well as in the long run (some events have consequences on reputation and on image in the long term). Not only are there differences among events as for organization, management and promotion, but also there are significant differences in the possibility of attaining the expected outcomes. To organize a fashion show is not the same of organizing the ceremony of opening a new industrial plant, to introduce a new food product to the professionals in ho.re.ca. sector is different from organizing a kick-off for the sales force or a press day or a medical congress or any other kind of event. The brief is the fundamental document we have to consider when it comes to choose the kind of event, because it helps to know the situation, the target and the real needs of the company, besides it helps to know which kind of communication tools it is necessary to use to promote the event.

We need to keep in mind that an event is essentially a service (with material and immaterial benefits), so it is necessary to drive the benefits into the mind of the potential target. But at the same time it is essential to know the needs and expectations of the target, the promotional effort is aimed at reconciling the needs of the target with the offer (the benefits) of the event.