Over the course of the last few years, we’ve seen significant shifts in how people are approaching event marketing - both on and offline. And, while the pandemic has highlighted these shifts for those still catching up, it’s also meant a more pronounced movement towards change out of need.
As a premier events company operating at a global scale, we’ve experienced these shifts first-hand and are constantly finding new ways to utilise technology and trends to promote functions for some of the world’s most talked-about brands.
We’ve also worked with many of the best in the business to tap into innovations and the social landscape in order to fine-tune our approach. Is your business ahead of the trends? Does your event marketing team have an excellent understanding of the digital environment? Regardless of your level of expertise, there is always room to improve with insider information on creating a better road map.
Keep reading for an overview of what to expect, as well as how to approach ideation and strategy in your event marketing - this year, and beyond.
Event marketing is more important and beneficial than ever
The first thing you need to know is that 95% of marketers believe events can help create connections with consumers and new partners in an increasingly online world (Aventri), which makes them vital to your business plan.
And, according to Forbes, “calculating return on investment for virtual events is less complex than in-person events because many virtual platforms capture the entire funnel of prospecting”.
So, what does this mean for strategists, marketers, comms and PR professionals? Essentially, it’s time to allocate the right amount of resources and efforts into creating virtual events and promoting them, in order to reap the benefits available to you:
- Prove ROI
- Save on costs
- Centralise your event management
- Make use of new, easy-to-use platforms
- Generate wide-spread interest, quickly
- Cross geographical borders
- Create engagement and interaction in minutes
- Provide novelty experiences
Now that we have a general understanding of the potential, let’s get into the approach.
Creating your event marketing strategy
FInd your purpose and detail your objectives
There are a number of good reasons to host an event, whether you’re aiming to educate your audiences, make new connections or establish your brand as a credible leader in the eyes of other businesses or consumers, this is a fantastic approach.
In fact, hosting regular events not only keeps you top of mind when it comes to your target audiences, it automatically creates reach for your brand and the potential to be seen on social networks and anywhere where users generate content. That being said, events take time and other resources and you need to establish the primary goal you’re aiming to achieve by hosting one. Examples could include fostering employee loyalty and recognition, reaching new customers or building on your brand reputation, which - as McKinsey so aptly pointed out, “is consistent with increases in both consumers’ willingness to spend and actual consumer spending”.
Detail an incentive to participate
Why people should attend your event is just as important as why you’re hosting it. After all, participants need a clear incentive in order to make their decision. This incentive should be clear in all of your marketing communications going forward and not in a hard-sell format. For example, this incentive should speak to their needs rather than pain-points rather than discounts on attendance or USPs of the brand. Is this event going to help them future-proof their career? Gain a new skill? Network with people of interest? Foster better relationships with their teams? Or simply serve as an evening of entertainment and enlightenment - whatever the case, they need to understand this straight off the bat.
Establish where your market is
Most businesses have spent some time creating personas for their audiences online (to varying degrees). Establishing target markets is a first step in the general business plan. However, regardless of whether you’re a start-up or a stalwart - it always helps to know your potential delegates intimately. You can use media monitoring software or social listening to find out what your market is interested in, what content they engage with and where they are most active to start creating your content strategy and determining novelty-based ways to reach them.
Getting buy-in with an elevator pitch
While events can be done on a humble budget, it helps to have sufficient resources for paid advertising and, of course, creating a valuable and memorable experience that leaves guests wowed.
By summing up the goals of your event, the ways in which you’re going to publicise it on various platforms and the execution logistics, you’re more likely to get the go-ahead from company decision-makers to make it something spectacular. Summarise the overview in a one-page document including an executive summary, objectives, platforms, novelties and ideas for interesting speakers, proposed marketing budget, entertainers and interactive sessions. This is also a good opportunity to be transparent about risks and proposed solutions. In most instances, reputable event producers can assist you in creating this plan.
Incorporate sincerity and get specific in your messaging
Event marketers are guilty of using repeated sales messaging to get people interested in their events. But the truth is, consumers are looking for authenticity in the noisy digital landscape they find themselves in. Stand out by avoiding phrases like “early bird specials”, and bold claims like “best” and rather focus on what needs you’re meeting and how this is a genuinely exciting chance for attendees to benefit and enjoy themselves.
The world of event marketing is an exciting part of creating any special occasion and, indeed, a crucial one. We’ve only begun to touch on what’s possible with careful thought and playing and by knowing your audiences intimately but there are also a variety of online tools available to help you drive your marketing with data and trend analyses.
Speak to us to find out more about how we can support you in generating interest, creating on-brand assets and utilising the tools available to you for event marketing that will bring all your hard work to life.