An event can be described as a public assembly for the purpose of celebration, education, marketing or reunion. Events can be classified on the basis of their size, type, and context. (event education, 2013)
They can be classified into three main categories, private events, corporate events and charity events. Private events are used for individuals who want certain guests to arrive at the venue. Private events will have a guest list to ensure the venue is not open to the public.
A business will use corporate events to help build professional relationships between employees which will benefit staff communication to make a business expand. Corporate events also can be used to enhance client relations and or familiarize them with new or existing products.
Charity events are used for individuals to raise money for a charity of their choice. Corporate and charity events allocate a large chunk of their budget to marketing the event. This is to drive up engagement and attendance.
Marketing of events
Event marketing can refer to a brand-hosted event- online or offline- or participation in a third-party event via a presentation, exhibit, or display. It is a valuable strategy for introducing your brand to new audiences, connecting with existing ones, and establishing your company as a thought leader in your industry. The development of an effective marketing and communications plan is essential for the delivery of a successful event. The key is to match your event concept (the theme, programme, etc) with the appropriate audience (those who will attend or participate in your event).
According to the Event Marketing 2018: Benchmarks and Trends report, the majority of marketers (80%) believe that event marketing is the single most effective marketing channel.
Pre-event marketing: know what you need to know.
It is important to establish what the marketing goals for your event are. Are you trying to drive up ticket sales? Are you trying to create a buzz around the event and maybe your products? Most marketing goals will include both.
A great marketing strategy is setting your goals in advance. You will need to prep all the parties involved in the organization of the event on the goals of the marketing strategy.
The next thing you’ll want to think about is what you want to measure and how you’ll do so. The only way to know if your approach is working is to measure performance and make changes accordingly.
Performance can be measured through click-through rates on emails to social media impressions, engagement, paid ad performance and more.
Also, you will need to identify the target audience for the event and also know who to center your promotion efforts around. Apart from just the clients or people privy to the event or product, you might want to target future prospects, influencers, and partners.
Omnichannel event marketing
You have already set your marketing goals and what tools you’ll need to measure success. What next?
You have to start on your event marketing plan. You can use a multi-faceted approach. This means, using various disciplines to market your event. These will include:
Email Marketing: Develop your communications plan for emails well in advance. Different types of emails will call for different audiences.
Reminder emails to those already RSVP’d will not be pertinent and people you are still selling tickets to will require these frequent updates to maintain buzz.
If you establish your email plan and messaging strategy ahead of time, you’ll be better set up for success in the long run.
Use engaging visuals, videos, and animations to draw attention to your tweets promoting the event. Be sure to pin your posts as well. You should also take advantage of paid social (influencers) to extend the reach and awareness of the event.
Event PR: It’s easy to get too focused on your digital promotion that your forget time-tested traditional methods, like PR.
Leverage your PR team to drive awareness to your event via media alerts and event listings in various business journals and newsletters.
Direct Mail: In an era where digital is king, it’s easy to forget the power of physical marketing tactics like direct mail.
In addition to email invites and social promotion, consider employing direct mail tactics for your VIPs by sending a physical invite to the event.
Website: A compelling website is a crucial component of event marketing.
All event-related information should be found here. Whether you host it on your existing website or build something new, the goal remains the same.
All promotional work should trace back to your website, making it necessary to have all the information to drive ticket purchases. This includes, but is not limited to, detailed agenda, speakers, hotel, and transport information and all other activities. Don’t forget your social share buttons to help spread the word far and wide.
Promotion during the event
You have worked hard on your pre-event marketing and the D-day is finally here. Your venue is full of the target attendees. Now what?
It’s crucial you continue promoting the event throughout its duration if you want to maintain buzz. Keep it vibrant, keep it relevant. For as many people you have attending your event, you have just as many who likely couldn’t make it but are still interested in what’s happening, and it’s important to keep them engaged.
If you engage them now, they’ll be more inclined to attend the next event.
There are a number of ways to do this.
- Live tweet: Have community managers dedicated to tweeting the goings on of the event on a continual basis. They should act as the eyes and ears on the ground and report back using social media. Use pictures and videos of the event to amplify your presence even further and engage your audience by encouraging them to share on their social channels using the dedicated hashtag. You could hold a Twitter contest and award the top tweets at the event with trophies.
- Live blog: You can go beyond live-tweeting with the added element of a live blog. A good example of a live blog of an event is this brilliant piece on important takeaways worth sharing with a wider audience. Not only does this help keep the event relevant to the day, but it can be a powerful promotional tool for the next event.
- Live stream: This is done by live streaming the most compelling (or all) content. Give people who couldn’t attend the change to be involved and take away valuable insights.
An interesting and impressionable example of someone who has got the live stream on lock is Hardwell with Hardwell on air. Not only does he share his music with the world, he basically gives you the experience of the live event.
Despite holding a successful event, a marketer’s word does not end at the end of the event. It is important to analyze what marketing efforts were successful and which ones failed. This analysis will help in determining which direction to lean on in future events to save money expenses and effort input.
Collect all the lovely photos, videos, feedback received and testimonials etc during your event. These will come in handy when compiled into a promotional tool for the next event. Always find ways to market it.
You can compile this into an event recap which you’ll use as a pre-event marketing tool for your next event. You can also collate relevant tweets and blog comments that can be used for future testimonials.