Critic’s Choice – The “Best” and “Worst” of Event Marketing

By Priscilla Brave

What does it take to really stand out and make an impression? There are a few best practices that maximize event marketing, whether you’re promoting the Golden Globes during awards season or the next seminar. While it may seem obvious, proof reading your marketing communications could keep you off the “worst” list of event marketers as well.

Here are 7 tips for successful event marketing, and 4 things that you definitely want to avoid.

7 Tips for successful event marketing include:

1. Consider your target audience from planning to event execution

2. Determine the key benefit for attending and emphasize it. Set the stage for a compelling and buzz worthy event by implementing one of three elements – a “hot” speaker, topic or venue.  Keep your message consistent across communications and during the event. No one wants to pay for or take time to attend an event that results in disappointment.

3. Incorporate a “call to action” in your communications to encourage the audience’s next step (e.g. register today, visit our Website to learn more)

4. Ensure all sponsor deliverables are met

5. Prepare an editorial calendar to strategically build awareness. Event promotions should ideally start four to six weeks before a recurring event and at least twelve months out for large-scale events.  Frequency varies based on the media vehicle(s).

6. Track your marketing campaign when possible to measure ROI. Email marketing software makes it simple to test different strategies (e.g. launch days or times, subject lines, ad placement) and measure their impact. You can even gauge the impact of traditional marketing tools like direct mail by including a promotional code for registration or contest that requires attendees to bring it with them to the event.

7. Proof read, proof read, proof read. Sending test messages and printing samples often reveals mistakes before your communication is sent to the entire distribution list.

Avoid these four mishaps by proof reading all marketing collateral:

1. Leaving out basic information like the date, time or location

2. Burying the benefit of attending in the promotional copy

3. Including “broken” links, especially when they are used for registration or promoting sponsors

4. Disclosing the email addresses of invitees in email communications

Do you have additional tips for event marketers? Share your knowledge and lessons-learned below.

Priscilla Brave focuses on qualitative research analysis and internal marketing for On Your Mark, a consumer market research firm that has specialized in talking to women for more than fifteen years. Priscilla is a proud graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, with a degree in business and public relations that has since garnered more than six years of marketing experience in consumer research, strategic communications and event planning in several industries (e.g. B2C, high-tech, non-profit). She is also an active member of the American Marketing Association, serving as the 2009-2010 vice president of communications and currently as the vice president for special interest groups (SIGs) for the Austin chapter.

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