The Integrated Marketing Formula for Successful Events
Marketing events can be lucrative, but they can be very tricky to execute well.
The constant use and changing landscape of social media can be a great asset in communicating and creating buzz around your event, but without the proper strategies, social media marketing can backfire. Widespread audience reach is one of the benefits of major platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Snapchat. These platforms also offer the ability to connect with potential attendees on a personal level. After you have successfully marketed your event, you can use the same platforms to continue the dialogue among attendees and create long-term loyalty. We used all but the TikTok platform for the Cinderella CEO Awards
Here we share top tips on how to make your next event a social and economic success.
1. Utilize Your Own Version of the Event Marketing Life Cycle.
Start with research. It may seem obvious, but it’s easy to overlook in-depth research on your target audience, especially if you are running low on time and/or personnel.
However, research is critical. You need to know:
- Who is your ideal customer?
- What social media platforms do they use, and how do they use them?
- What are they interested in?
- Are they located in a specific geographic area, or is there a national/global audience?
- Are there similar competitive events?
This isn’t an exhaustive list, and as you do research, you will likely gather quite a bit of information on your target market. Once you’ve gathered the data, you need to translate it into actionable steps that will lay the pathway to a successful event.
Include a situational analysis that shows your company and event’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Take a closer look at your competition to determine why your event has a competitive advantage. What value is your event creating for your target audience?
Although social media platforms are an asset to event marketing, it’s not as simple as just making an announcement on Facebook or LinkedIn and expecting a record number of RSVPs. It takes a dedicated budget and experienced leader or team to create a viable and effective event marketing plan using these platforms.
2. Benefit from Event-Specific Social Media Marketing.
For event-specific platforms, Eventbrite is a great way to showcase your event, set up ticketing, and share details with your audience. With that said, do not underestimate the power of Facebook Events and the ability to advertise your event on various platforms, including LinkedIn.
Marketing is all about building relationships. Marketing your event should not be any different. The personal and professional contacts you develop are key in communicating your event, especially on LinkedIn. Fortune 500 brands, emerging brands, entrepreneurs, and individuals can all have a voice on social media with a well-crafted strategy.
Ustream is a platform that allows event organizers to live stream their event, a powerful tool for reaching users unable to attend in person. Live streaming can also create buzz and interest for your next event. Recording live streams also provides marketing material for your next event.
Tint is a program that displays an event’s live social media feed, allowing attendees to feel more engaged. This is increasingly becoming a standard in executing successful events.
Time is money and creative, professional, campaigns take time and usually take money. It is possible to make a big splash on a small budget, , but you’ll need an effective message that ideally you can test on your target audience.
Share your business plan and budget with your marketing team up front. If you don’t have a business plan, develop one. Consider developing an advisory circle of experts to help you with your business plan. Typically, the board that helps you develop your business plan is not your marketing team, but you should engage your marketing partner(s) in the business plan.
3. Use Tools to Assist with Organization, Scheduling, and Execution
With so many platforms out there, it may be difficult to get organized. This is where apps and programs can help you manage your multiple platforms. The large number of different social media platforms gave rise to other apps and software programs that aggregate your social media accounts. The benefit to organizational platforms, including Hootsuite and Buffer is the ability to pre-schedule posts and updates, target your audience, manage live streams and mentions, and create valuable analytics that track the reach and performance of your campaigns.
Our experience is that the execution of the event requires a professional meeting planner’s expertise. However, you should separate the marketing plan from the event plan, which is more focused on execution. The two plans need to interact and collaborate but both require different skill sets and should be led separately.
4. Analyze your Feedback.
Most people miss the feedback aspect of designing a successful event. Asking for, receiving, analyzing, and responding to feedback critical to every event. It’s important to take the time to assess and make adjustments whether you’re a sole proprietor, managing multiple clients, or running a Fortune 500 marketing team. Facebook analytics, Google analytics for websites, Mailchimp analytics for email and newsletters, and Wordpress for bloggers are all platforms that come to mind that help you refine your messages, tweak your strategies, and learn from your mistakes and successes. Hootsuite and Buffer, mentioned previously, are platforms that also provides analytical data for growth.
We want YOU to be successful and build successful events that are profitable. The best partnerships require trust, open communication, and feedback. We hope this article will help you build that trust so that you can plan, build, and create better, bigger, and more impactful events year after year.
Cary Broussard is founder of the learning and development platform Cinderella to CEO and author of the book From Cinderella to CEO. She and her team launched the Cinderella CEO Awards three years ago in New York City. Stay tuned for more developments on the next Awards Show on social media.
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Sylvia Woloszyn, a business and project manager in hospitality and sustainable luxury sustainable products, co-wrote this blog with Cary. Amy Yoder is the founder of Amy Yoder Content Services, and she edited this blog.
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