People love live events. A recent poll of adults aged eighteen plus revealed more people are attending live events than ever before. This increase comes as welcomed news for businesses who are looking to connect with their customers, prospects, and partners in a more meaningful way.
Leading organizations like Apple, Microsoft, and Adobe all consider live events to an essential part of their marketing strategy. Businesses who aspire to be at the top of their industry need to invest in their event strategy.
Whether handing out free samples at a festival, sponsoring a local event, hosting a party for VIP customers, speaking at an industry-related conference, partaking in a trade show or networking at a seminar, an effective event strategy is highly valuable for all kinds of businesses.
Events inspire, teach, entertain and bring people together unlike any other marketing effort.
Why should your business invest in events?
- Live events are the single most effective marketing channel with 31% of marketers agreeing that event marketing is critical to meeting business objectives, ahead of content marketing (27%), email marketing (25%) and social media (6%).
- Events are a great way to generate brand awareness and word-of-mouth marketing. Through memorable event experiences, prospects are more likely to connect with your business on social media and recommend your brand to their peers.
- Live events allow businesses to connect with their prospects and customers through valuable face-to-face interactions, unlike any other marketing tactic. In fact, 95% of marketers agree that live events provide attendees with a valuable opportunity to form in-person connections in an increasingly digital world.
- Live events give you a platform to establish thought leadership in your field, giving your business a competitive advantage.
- Live events are an excellent way to showcase and test a new product or service with a live audience. And by doing so, your business will be able to receive valuable feedback and data before general release.
- As live events allow for face-to-face interactions with prospects, they’re a great way to generate sales and conjure up leads.
How do you plan an effective event strategy?
Every live event, big or small, should have an effective event strategy in place. An event strategy can align expectations and stop the event from being a disaster.
Determine your goals for the event
It’s essential you know what you want to achieve from events before you start planning the strategy as this will determine the type of events. A goal enables you to measure the successes of an event. While some goals may seem obvious, you will need to prioritize your goals.
For example, if your goal was to grow your database, a tradeshow event would provide the perfect opportunity. However, tradeshows attendees tend to be more junior titles. If you’re looking to target key titles, an executive dinner will allow for that all-important face-to-face time with elusive stakeholders.
Goals and metrics may include:
- ROI from the event (measured by revenue and expenditure)
- Brand awareness (measured by social media engagement)
- Lead generation (measured through your CRM)
- Press around a product launch (measured by PR coverage)
- Your goals and objectives must be measurable so you can prove the value of your event.
Start an event plan
Once you’ve established your goals and have decided the type of events suited to attract your audience and accomplish these goals, it’s time to start planning your events.
Consider the budget of the overall event. Your budget should include costs to cover the venue or location, temporary structure if required, service fees, staffing, and marketing. Don’t forget to leave a little bit of budget scope if required.
An event planning timeline is critical to staying on track and on budget and can help you with coordination days, weeks and months in advance. Your timeline should cover site visits, dates to pay vendors, any submission deadlines and any marketing promotions such as email campaigns.
The event plan should detail day-of or day before logistics. For example, if your venue has strict load-in and load-out times for suppliers, this should be included on your timeline.
Being adaptable and experimenting with different event tactics is essential, particularly with the rise of experiential marketing.
Experiential marketing has changed events. Experiential marketing is a marketing technique that creates experiences between brands and customers, utilizing an event to bring brands to life and interact directly with their target audience.
Instead of being sold a product or service based on features, experiential marketing lets the customer see and feel what their lives would be like with it. The goal of experiential marketing is to create lasting impressions with customers that they want to share with their network, leading to customer loyalty and brand advocates.
Whether experiential marketing is for you or not, never be afraid to try a new vertical focus, location or event format as it’s a necessary part of growing your strategy. Also, accept that not all events will be successful.
Crisis management plan
When it comes to events, there’s always the potential for something to go wrong. If you have a crisis management plan in place, you and your staff have the right tools in place to deal with the problem effectively.
The crisis management plan should include a list of people involved with the event and their contact information who can help solve direct issues that arise. Similarly, for an outdoor event, it’s essential to have a backup plan in case bad weather occurs.
If planning a large event, consider hiring an event security company to assist you in overseeing the event.
Whether you’re starting up your events journey or looking to revamp your efforts, it’s important to remember each business is different and requires a different event strategy. It’s paramount to tailor the events you host to suit your goals and audience.