With advanced new tools constantly being invented that inevitably change the way the world communicates, it’s easy for people to forget nowadays that sometimes it’s doing the simple things in the simplest of ways that can prove most effective. Event planning is a marketing activity that will always be current, important, and beneficial for businesses of all sizes (if executed properly of course), and although technology may have tweaked a few aspects of how events are advertised and broadcasted, the principles and importance of effective event planning will always be the same.
Define your objective and target audience
Determining your goal and what you are trying to achieve from the event, be it a trade show, product launch, network event, or other, is extremely important to define if you want to pull off that killer event. Failing to do this will result in a lack of useful leads from the people attending. Yes, there will be traffic at the event, but will that traffic be useful to you? Are these people going to be potential buyers of your product or service? Will they be a representative of your target market? These are the questions you must ask yourself pre-event, and questions that you must answer pre-event. According to Ruth P. Stevens, author of ‘Trade Show and Event Marketing’, marketers who consider the show to be the main event are making a big mistake. Preshow promo and post-show follow-up are two of the areas that have the best leverage.
Tailor your pre-event content
Once you have outlined what the overall objective of the event is, and who you want to target, it’s time to implement some marketing techniques in the weeks building up to the big day. It’s important to understand exactly what your target market want to see so you can create content and designs based on their needs and expectations. For example, according to Ann Cave, VP-strategic planning and marketing at Cramer, it’s always a good idea to segment the list of attendees provided by the show organiser and then personalise preshow mailings to help generate a bigger buzz than simply blasting everyone with the same marketing approach.
If your brand, product, service, or logo are in the subconscious mind of your target audience in the lead up to the event, when the day of the event comes the recognition has already been created. Robert Heath, author of ‘Seducing the Subconscious’ states that each time you’re subjected to an advertisement, you’re having a subconscious emotional reaction that begins a process known as conditioning. This emotion may even spark a feeling. This occurs over and over again. Eventually, whenever you see the brand, your biological self associates a conditioned feeling with the brand — all without needing the ad to stimulate the response.
Post-event – The part that sometimes gets left out!
Planning a successful event does not finish on the day the event ends. Yes, you will feel on top of the world after the event if it’s been successful (which it will providing you plan well), and many businesses seem to ‘take the foot off the pedal’ after such a success. There is still work left to do however, and post-event marketing is just as important, if not more important than the work you have already carried out.
Gathering feedback after the event is arguably the most important step in planning a successful event. This feedback will give you insight that is imperative to the development of your product or service. Your target audience will tell you what features of your product or service they liked and disliked, where they think improvements can be made, and what they thought of the event. In the long term, this will save businesses time and money and help when planning events in the future.
So whatever event it is you have coming up, make sure you plan before for the event, at the event, and most importantly after the event. After all, it could save you a lot of time and money. You might just be that one successful event away from taking your business to the next level, so grab it with both hands.
Plan – Implement – Plan.