“The beginning is the most important part of the work.”
BEGIN WITH A BRAINSTORMING SESSION
Hold a brainstorming session with your internal event-network and your external marketing advisors before you develop an event plan. Look around your company and select those people to attend who will be engaged with your event. Keep the audience of the brainstorming session limited, it makes sense to communicate only with the decision makers who can own the ultimate result. Asking some intense purpose questions will guide your program in a manner to align your strategic and creative objectives and will ensure a successful event.
CHOOSE YOUR MESSAGE
In my personal experience I have seen that companies, especially the small and medium sized ones, are often focused on discharging wrong messages to their target market. For example, harping on how good their product or service is rather than elaborating how it makes the customer’s life better or safer. You need to keep constantly learning what message positively impacts the target market.
DEVELOP AN OVERVIEW
Create an executive summary that sets the tone for your program. Start with the reason why you are participating in the event in the first place. Include details about the big picture of the program, such as main speakers, entertainment, educational value, and networking and socializing opportunities. Where possible, rephrase the existing content in line with the purpose. If you are sponsoring a conference, seminar, or trade show, go to their website and see how you can use the information that is already available. Understand what is the purpose of the event for its target audience. However, never cut and paste the text for your use. Read and understand it and then rewrite it, in a manner suitable to your company, to use when you assemble your event plan. Find out their contact information and speak to the sales representative of the show’s producer. Most often, they can provide you with a wide array of literature that you can use to tailor and accomplish your event marketing plan.
EVENTS ARE YOUR MARKETING TOOL
Good marketing practices go a long way in deriving results from your events. Place events at the top of your marketing chain. It is from your marketing repertoire that you will be able to distill the right event strategy. How does this event benefit your sale/marketing plans in terms of brand awareness, lead generation, relationship reinforcement, and market perception? Based on the answer to the foregoing, what are your primary objectives from the event and what is the profile of your target audience? What marketing opportunities are available at the event that you can make use of, for example, speaker, panel discussion, sponsorship, advertising, direct marketing, media coverage, etc.?
EVENTS ARE ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS
Organizing great events is not just about spending money. In today’s market, how creative you are with use of your money matters much in getting value out of your events. The primary objective of most events is marketing. Events are an opportunity for you to establish a personal rapport to ensure smooth communication throughout the progress of a client or stakeholder relationship. Imagine how much time you will need to get on the schedule of an executive to ask certain basic questions compared to getting some face time with the same person at an event.
The features that your relationship building at your events must comprise include:
- Cultivate relationships at the right levels of seniority to reduce sales time.
- Promote your message face-to-face to your prospective customers.
- Discover the needs and concerns of your industry, customer base, and experts.
- Position your business as an industry leader in certain aspects or products.
If you do meticulous homework as described above, it will bring you additional perspectives and ideas and you may even end up planning your event quite differently from your preliminary notions. Doing your homework is what brings value and differentiation to your event.
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