What is the best way to make your event a success? Plan, Plan, Plan.
Whether you are looking at third-party trade shows, corporate events, an experiential event, online trade shows, meetups or tweetups — putting together your event vehicle portion of your communication plan is the place to begin. Events can be used to build brand awareness as well as drive sales.
In order to get the most return on your marketing objectives, all communications vehicles are up for grabs. You may find the need for online or offline tactics — like advertising, public relations, SEO, e-mails, social media, direct mail — to engage your target audience.
Here are ideas to consider if you want to add event vehicles to your communications plan.
- The best events should be chosen because the target audience and marketing objectives are considered. Are these events for customers, prospects, influencers, decision-makers or senior management? Are you trying to arouse interest in a product? Is there an event that a large number of your target audience will be attending? Is there an event that your competitors will be at? These are just examples of questions to ask yourself as you begin scrutinizing business events based on target audience.
- Additional questions can be asked to help choose from the different types of event options to closely match your marketing objectives. Does your product benefit from a live demonstration? Does putting on an educational seminar on a business topic or product make sense? Is it an entertainment event, executive briefing or a partner conference? Can you accomplish the presentation in a road show or single-customer event? What are the relevant trade shows or user-group meetings to consider? In the online world, there are Webinars and online trade shows to explore. The relevancy of the event will help optimize your event budget.
- Identify possible dates and prepare the list of who you want to invite or attend. Prepare requirements needed so you can begin to get proposals from an offsite venue as well as any additional vendors that might need to be contract in advance. Do you need outside consultants or professional help? What are your food and beverage needs? Is this a complimentary or fee-structured event? How about travel considerations, audiovisual, entertainment or speaker services? Insurance or security needs? Are there giveaways or awards needed? Do you need to hire a photographer or videographer? Create a checklist of deadlines to a timetable. These will be milestones to help keep you on track.
- Once the events have been decided, now you have to identify what you need to successfully promote these events. Add to your timeline promotional deliverables needed. How are you going to invite your target list? How do you want them to respond? Do you need to have any other printed materials prepared like posters, signage, special decorations or programs? When should press releases be sent? Are there “community calendars” that your event should be added? What website information needs to be created or added and when should broadcast e-mails be sent? Are there sponsors that could be leverage for the event? Will you need to invite the press or hold a press conference? If the event is newsworthy, you might get the media to interview key members of the event as well as attendees.
- Creating a timeline will keep you organized by what needs to be done as soon as possible, leading up to the event and the weeks prior to the event. The checklist will also help you identify items so you can put a budget together. Managing your event closely will keep budget expenses from unexpectedly growing.
- Finally, for the day of the event details. Prepare your registration lists and name badges if needed. Prepare an agenda and make sure everyone involved knows their role in this event. Be clear about your expectations and provide training if necessary. Who is doing the introductions, speaking, and closing should be attached to a rough timetable. You want to keep your guests as happy as possible and leave feeling they received the best treatment. Ensuring an adequate staff will help ensure a smooth running of the event and save you headaches.
- Confirm, confirm and confirm all details. The offsite venue, food and beverage suppliers need to know final number of attendees. Is rental equipment confirmed? Has all other supplies or decorations arrived and put in place?
- After your event, make sure that any reusable items are packed and inventoried for the next event. Make sure that invoices are correct to agreements. Also think about how you want to follow up with your attendees. Do you want to send a thank you letter, follow-up e-mail or a personal phone call?
- Always perform a post-budget review to see what you could do better next time so your next event will go easier. Keep track of costs for your various events. This information will be the beginnings of calculating the ROI of different types of events.
As an advertising agency, Brigham & Rago is here to help businesses develop marketing communications plans to help promote their events. We are ready to consult with you, then based on our experience and the information we gather, help put together the event vehicle portion of your communications plan. Our goal is to help you meet your marketing objectives by assisting in implementing and delivering a clear, consistent message. Call 973-656-9006 to set up a meeting to discuss your next communications project. Visit our online portfolio to see examples of work we’ve created for our clients.