“Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell.”
Once you decide to be part of an event and set about marketing it, the first thing you need to decide is what message your company wants to communicate to the target audience through the event in question. You will have to be clear who your target audience at the event is, what is that you want to convey to them, and how the success will be measured. In order for your message to be effective, makes sure that it is no longer than thirty words. Anything longer than that will never get through your target audience in a live presentation environment where they are being bombarded with messages. Less is better.
In their book How to Advertise, Kenneth Roman and Jane Maas explain that a good marketing strategy must cover five key points:
- Objective. What is your purpose in hosting the event or in participating in it?
- Target Audience. What is the profile of the audience you are targeting?
- Benefit. How does the target audience benefit from buying your product?
- Support. What reason you can provide for the audience to believe in the benefit cited by you?
- Tonality.Are the form and terminology of your message a statement of the product’s personality?
An event is an opportunity to leverage your voice in live presence environment. Do not start messaging the market until you have a brand. It is that brand that you want to get out there with consistency and punch. Only when you know what you want your brand to be can you determine positioning and messaging. Once you have the brand vision and know what it is that you want to communicate, you are ready to decide how to talk. The objective is to make the emotional and practical connections among the brand, message, and audience. Find ways to touch the hearts of your audience, it is the emotional connection that will set you apart.
Make sure what you say directly to your target audience at an event matches your company’s overall positioning framework that is at the core of your branding. If necessary, circulate an event messaging document to the concerned departments or people within your company to elicit feedback. Then get consensus on the three main messages you want to convey at your events. Get a senior executive to present the message to your team, authority has people’s ears.
The representatives from your company will be interacting with the customers, prospects, partners, and media at the event. Makes sure your team knows what to say and they are given tools to communicate effectively, reinforcing what your speakers and advertisement material reflect. The time you invest on the front end will come handy when you actually complete the stuff needed for the event. Get the story straight, use customer testimonials and awards won by your company. As said before, keep messages to a maximum of three and feature them throughout the event.
When it comes to the real live event, find a strategic position in a booth located near the busiest area. Be consistent in the words you use for signage, banners, and in the event program guides. Marketing is not just about telling a beautiful story but also about getting it remembered. Creative event marketing has the power to make a brand memorable. Find ways to enhance the most compelling part of your story. Nothing communicates your brand better than a live scripted presentation with powerful visual support. It has to be short and filled with benefits. It has to be aimed precisely at your audience – not above them, not below them. It has to be memorable and engaging, not necessarily entertaining. It has to be interactive – asking questions, provoking thoughts. The people handling or delivering it for you have to be skilled professionals.
If you have an executive thought leader who is an effective communicator, use her, where it is worth her time, to communicate your message at the events. A personal story from a senior voice will make your message a lot more powerful. It will be something completely individual, containing the corporate message, and delivered by an individual of some stature. Nothing builds rapport better than a leader who can communicate. Think of Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, or Barack Obama.
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