Promotional events are the lifeblood of face to face marketing strategies, bringing the benefits of digital and offline channels together to create a powerful and immediate experience for your target audience. Whether it’s a product launch, marketing campaign preview or brand experience of some kind, the level and quality of the brand exposure you can achieve from putting on a physical event can far outstrip digital media if done correctly.
Planning and running the perfect promotional event should therefore not be rushed and you will need to consider several important factors. Let’s have a look at some here.
#1 – Have a plan
As I’ve already mentioned, planning is key. With so many promotional events on the scene, you need to be strategic in your planning in order to get the best impact. Think carefully about the purpose of the event, challenging whether your chosen channel is the right one for your objective. The beauty of promotional events is their immediacy and impact, with the ability to deliver a highly tailored and engaging brand experience for delegates.
#2 – Clarify messaging
Once you know why you are holding your promotional event, plan your messaging. Think about your audience as you create your key messages and produce these as a reference document that can be used consistently for all branded event communication and marketing activity to keep messaging on track. Once agreed, share it with any stakeholders or partners.
#3 – Create your promotional materials
Digital marketing channels are the obvious route, but remember your audience members who prefer to be engaged with via offline channels. For example, a small and exclusive event designed to attract high-fliers in your industry must be promoted via more personal means such as a phone call or printed invitation. A larger event where you want to drive the scale of attendance may be best promoted via your social and digital channels for word of mouth marketing.
#4 – Pin down your format
As your communications experts are crafting your messaging, your event leads must be working hard on the format of the occasion itself. Think about the speakers that you might want to invite, the activities that you plan to host and the agenda for the day. Remember that you will need something exciting to lure your audience to your event. For a B2C audience – perhaps where you plan to invite influencers to a product launch – the prospect of freebies, taster sessions and content for resharing may be enough to get people through the door. For a B2B audience where you need to get senior decision-makers involved, a short, focused event with high-profile speakers and the prospect of rich knowledge sharing will be needed.
#5 – Plan to perfection
The nature of face to face events means that you can’t afford to casual with deadlines. Plan well ahead and manage every deliverable to perfection. This means integrating your communication and promotion strategy for the event itself along with the management of the venue booking, suppliers, post-event follow up activity and so forth.
#6 – Think about attendee experience
Digital tech really comes to the fore when it comes to event experiences. Think about every aspect from your AV and lighting equipment through to Tweet boards, interactive handsets, gamification experiences and even VR booths for product demos and explainers. This kind of tech can be hired and is surprisingly affordable, offering a valuable means of providing a memorable edge to your event.
#7 – Know what success looks like
Revisit your event objectives to pin down measurables of success. Promotional marketing can be extremely effective if executed well and deployed in the right context, but qualifying success depends on what you’re trying to achieve. This might be anything from brand or product exposure through to post-event conversions and sales. Have the right measures in place in order to plan your post-event activity. For example, you may want to plan post-event marketing emails and the sharing of white-paper exclusive content with your audience. This can be integrated with a sales campaign to further push attendees along the sales pipeline and leverage the value of the occasion. Make sure communications, events, marketing and sales roles are all tied in with the event.
#8 – Be there in force
Make sure you have plenty of people on hand to deliver an impeccable experience on the day. Events staff must be ready to engage on a face to face basis, welcoming delegates, paying special attention to VIPs, helping with event registration (ideally digitised) and generally ensuring that everything goes as smoothly as possible. The same team must also share images and content from the day to your wider followers on social media to help create that sense of buzz and exclusivity that every event needs.