Beware all sources of event promotion advice, including this one!

Here's a recent client marketing calamity. Significant marketing issues were discovered during an on-boarding process for a new client.

Over a period of eight years, client "X" invested over one hundred thousand dollars in marketing and advertising services. The client's investment generated over a million dollars in event ticket revenue. Even better, the client built a house marketing list of almost 40,000 prospects and customers from around the world.

Then, the client's Board of Directors decided to take marketing guidance from another source.

What happened? The new marketing "expert" insisted on double opt-in in the client's existing marketing list. The "expert" insisted that the client's marketing list wasn't in compliance with Internet marketing laws (CAN-SPAM, CASL, GDPR, etc.). Short version, the client's marketing list of 40,000 was whittled down to less than 10,000.

Where's the rub?

The "expert" who insisted on double opting in the client's email list, NEVER bothered to check if the client previously obtained express consent and/or double opted-in their marketing list. Most of the client's list was already in compliance! (A majority of the people on the client's marketing list had already given express marketing consent and already double opted-in.)

As the youths say, "epic fail!"

Why the above sentiment?

Because in almost every client project spanning the last 11 years, way too much time and money have been used to "un-bork" client advertising and marketing decisions.

So we're crystal clear, I'm NOT blaming clients. Before working with them, my clients paid professional marketers, ad agencies, and consultants to help them market their events. And most logical people would think, if you're paying a professional firm significant sums of money, they'll give you expert advice. Rarely is that the case.

If I'm going to rail on an issue, I'll provide a strong recommendation. And here you have it.

It is imperative to be a healthy skeptic regarding any marketing and advertising advice given to you. Especially information where you invest your hard-earned money.

Yes, I'm even willing to put my advice "under a microscope!" This includes any suggestion you might receive from daily emails, training, books, and products.

Don't hire another person who cannot quantify their marketing or advertising results to dollar signs in bank accounts. You're welcome to use the line, "we are only willing to pay for results!"

Additionally, conduct a thorough reference check for every marketing professional, paid, or unpaid. This reference check should be conducted via telephone with at least three references. While on the phone with references, inquire about results.

It's your hard-earned money. Please make sure you're doing your due diligence. Unfortunately, most event organizers are not!


The 125+ million USD online event

In case you missed the news reports ...

In mid-April, the "One World: Together at Home" virtual concert raised over $125 million USD. Online event proceeds are earmarked to help global healthcare workers and those affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.

If you haven't already, take a moment to visit Google News and read through a few articles.

Granted, you probably don't have a ton of music superstars on your speed dial. But, the "Together at Home" event is an excellent example of how event organizers are breaking the traditional event mold. If you can't hold your event live, technology allows you to take your event online.

Is it possible for every event to go virtual? Probably not. With that said, here's a suggestion.

Keep a watchful eye in the weeks and months ahead. And ask yourself, is their an idea or strategy that you can ethically borrow for your event?

As I've mentioned previously, event organizers are going to figure out how to weather this unprecedented storm. You're going to want to pay close attention to results and how those results were generated.

Want to get more advice on planning and promoting a great event? Check out the articles below:


Blunt Perspectives from the Masters of Marketing & Advertising

In his book, Ogilvy on Advertising, David Ogilvy divulges some of his most significant marketing and advertising secrets. He also had very blunt thoughts on the subject of advertising.

As Ogilvy put it ...

"I do not regard advertising as an entertainment or an art form, but as a medium of information. When I write an advertisement, I don't want you to tell me that you find it creative. I want you to find it so interesting that you buy the product."

Ogilvy's friend, Rosser Reeves, the guy who coined the phrase "Unique Selling Proposition (or USP) unapologetically drives home Ogilvy's point:

"I'm not saying that charming, witty and warm copy won't sell. I'm just saying that I've seen thousands of charming, witty campaigns that didn't. Let's say you are a manufacturer. Your advertising isn't working and your sales are going down and everything depends on it. Your future depends on it. Your family's future depends on it. Other people's families depend on it, and you walk in this office and talk to me, and sit in that chair. Now what do you want from me? Fine writing? Do you want masterpieces? Do you want glowing things that can be framed by copywriters, or do you want to see the god damn sales curve stop moving down and start moving up?"

Both Reeves and Ogilvy are considered by many to be some of the most successful advertisers in human history. Not because of their great looking advertisements, but because of their results. Even more impressive was Ogilvy's ability to track every ad dollar spent to client bank accounts, all before the Internet!

Your event advertising should be anything but an expenditure. The best course of action is to treat your advertising and marketing as an investment. If you do that, you should always expect a return on that investment.

In today's day and age, it is nearly impossible not to be able to track your advertising effectiveness. If an advertisement is not working, you change it or stop using it.

Here's my Ogilvy question for you:

Do you want to be known as the event with beautiful, award-winning advertising, or do you want to be known as the air show with record revenues and attendance?

David Ogilvy's advertising philosophies should carry with any advertising agencies or marketing vendors you might hire. Let a prospective firm know upfront to track the effectiveness of all your event advertising campaigns.

Want to get more event promotion info? Check out the links below:


Learn up to 2x faster in self-isolation

If you find yourself in self-isolation or mandatory quarantine, here's a way to turbo-boost your learning ...

Before the Coronavirus hit, I was fortunate enough to begin my mornings in the gym. In addition to trying to work out my dainty chicken legs, I also attempted to maximize my learning.

Knowledge absorption was accomplished by loading up my smartphone with audio interviews, podcasts, and videos featuring various subject matter experts. In total, hundreds of hours of content.

While working out, I was listening and taking copious notes. And occasionally annoying the next person waiting for a fitness machine. While working out, a man once asked me, "who the heck are you texting so furiously?!" I told him, "I'm writing a book." His reaction was priceless.

To date, there are over 3,000 notes on my smartphone and a couple of unreleased books. All accomplished in half the time of most people. Not because I'm smart, but because I was learning at twice the speed.

Here's how you can also learn at warp speed ...

Look up audio or video "speed changer" in your smartphone app store. There are specialized apps that will speed up anything you're listening to or watching without changing the pitch.

This suggestion also applies to YouTube. Next time you're on YouTube, take note of the little cog on your computer or the three dots (menu) on the YouTube app. When you click on the menu, notice the option called "Playback speed." Pick the speed of your choice, and you're off to the races!

Hopefully, the suggestion above will help you sharpen your knowledge saw much faster, while self-isolating.

Want to get more great info? Check out the articles below:

 


Precision Event Promotion Using the 3% Rule

Accepting that only 3% (or less) of your local population is predisposed to attend your event is a good thing. How so? If you and your event team focus on those most interested, you will significantly boost the effectiveness of all your advertising. Think of the 3% rule as a precision targeting method.

A critical component of targeting is channel selection. You need to identify which marketing channels provide you with maximum impact for delivering your advertisements. Clients have run the same ad on two different channels with massive differences in response rates. Make sure you select only the best marketing channels.

How can you target those most interested in attending your event? Fortunately, it has never been easier. Facebook's advertising platform makes demographic targeting easy.

One of the greatest target marketing secrets can be found in your previous customer database. Your customer database embodies the 3% rule. The person most likely to buy from you is a previous customer. It can also save you a ton of money on marketing. According to Lee Resources Inc., "Attracting new customers will cost your company 5 times more than keeping an existing customer."

And here's a shocker: Most events don't have a well-thought-out program for retaining and reactivating previous customers. Sending email is not enough.

Recently, one client discovered over 50,000 previous customers hiding in a neglected database file. These customers were the result of an initial advertising expenditure of $400,000+ that took place over ten years. Over those years, the client spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on “mass” advertising just to reacquire their previous customers.

Following this discovery, the client is now leveraging their entire customer database to develop marketing campaigns that specifically target previous customers. As a result, the client increased their year-over-year online ticket revenue by 38%.

An important note on re-engaging previous customers via email … be very careful! One email to the wrong person could cost you as much as $16,000 (or more!) in fines. Yes, that's per email. Make sure to look into the federal CAN-SPAM, CASL, and GDPR regulations. Additionally, please consult with an attorney who has extensive experience in Internet law before emailing previous customers.

Want to get more event promotion information? Check out the articles below:


Success modeling and your event

Here is a tremendously powerful technique I learned from Dr. Wyatt Woodsmall in the late 2000s. It is known as success modeling.

One of the best things that you can do for your event is to model your marketing and strategies on other successful events. You'd be surprised how willing other event organizers are to share some of their proven secrets.

In 2008, I called up an event organizer in Buffalo, New York. I heard that he sold out 7,000 tickets to his fundraising event in very little time. He was gracious enough to give me 30 minutes of his time and shared the fantastic details. What he shared with me was an information goldmine.

When I asked if he consulted for a fee to other event organizers, he said that he was happy to share the information with anyone interested at no charge. You would be amazed at how many good people there are willing to share their event and event success secrets, but it's up to you to be proactive and ask.

Some of the biggest client success stories are a result of this type of modeling. Go out and find an event success story and quantify it.

If you're going to get in contact with another event or event organizer, be prepared to listen carefully and not over-judge their ideas. Way too many event organizers will arm themselves with logic about why they can't do something potentially beneficial for their event.

I hear it all the time. "We can't do that because [insert excuse here]." You might not hear what you want to hear. Be prepared to ask questions instead of focusing on the answers you want. Some of the best event organizers I've studied do things that others would consider to be highly counter-intuitive.

If you want a really successful event, you're going to need to lay down some of the preconceived notions you might have. What you hear might not make immediate sense. You have to decide what works best for your event, but at least consider trying something different.

Here are two modeling questions you can use:

- What is your most potent event marketing strategy?

- What are your biggest event marketing lessons (mistakes)?

It is also essential to validate the information. There are a lot of very audacious claims made in the event industry, whether it be attendance or revenue numbers. If possible, try to vet the data or make sure that the information you're getting is accurate.

There are successful event organizers out there willing to help you. Make it a point to try to speak to at least one a week. Taking 15 or 30 minutes out of your week to do this could revolutionize the way you run your event.


Bucking the system, regardless of circumstance

Right now, there are ambitious event organizers who are figuring out how to hold their next successful event. This includes changing how events are executed. Maybe even going from a live in-person event to online or virtual.

My recommendation is to keep a watchful eye on these ambitious and innovative event organizers. To be crystal clear here, I'm in no way suggesting anyone compromise the personal safety or health of themselves or others ... just to hold an event.

People are going to figure out how to hold successful events despite the circumstances. And those are the people you want to pay careful attention to.

As with all things you might read, see, or hear about a successful event ... be a healthy skeptic!

If it sounds too good to be true, do your due diligence. That includes verifying and quantifying! Someone is going to figure it out and you're going to want to know, "how did they do that?!?!"

Want to get more advice on planning and promoting a great event? Check out the articles below:


Why the Pros go "BIG" to advertise

Last year, a friend was frustrated while fiddling with his mobile device. He was frantically tapping at his smartphone. When I asked him what he was doing, his response, "I'm trying to manage my Facebook advertising campaign."

This recommendation is straightforward. If you're managing any sort of online advertising or marketing, use a desktop computer (or laptop with an external monitor) and a mouse. The advantages of using a large monitor and mouse, go well beyond convenience.

Because mobile devices have such small screens, most mobile advertising management applications lack the features found on traditional desktop operating systems (Mac OS, Linux, and Windows).

In short, there simply isn't the screen real estate to display all the features. Which was the case with my mobile phone using friend from above.

A friend who manages up to $30,000 USD of online advertising uses multiple monitors and a desktop computer. At times my friend oversees up to half a million dollars of online advertising monthly. When that much money is on the line, he couldn't imagine trying to manage client campaigns from his smartphone or a table.

Depending on the size of your event, not everyone can justify purchasing multiple monitors. At a minimum, please make sure you manage any advertising and marketing projects with the largest monitor possible, or at least a laptop and a mouse.

When dollars are on the line, be sure to go big (smartly)!

Want more info on promoting your event?
Check out the articles below:

 


Digging a "mine" right below your feet

Recently, a fellow business owner said the following:

"That's unbelievable! Where are you getting all that customer data from?"

My response, "right from the customer." My intention was not to be cheeky or curt. It was a straight-up response that's important to every event organizer. There is a mine of untapped customer and event data, right below your feet, RIGHT NOW!

Few if any event organizers are leveraging their existing datasets. Not a single event organizer that I'm away of is fully leveraging their customer data. The lack of data leveraging leaves mountains of potential ticket revenue and attendance on the table.

Additionally, the longer you go without putting your customer data into use, the more "digital dust" accumulates. Especially in today's digital age, digital data changes at breakneck speed. Years ago, a client lost almost 50% of their previous customer data due to neglect.

Here's a little Insider secret on data ...

Clients that have seen astronomical growth in ticket revenue took a deep dive into their existing datasets. They mined their data smartly and increased revenue, profitability, and improved the customer event experience.

With the world pausing most events, now is a great time deep dive into your data. Let me know what you find!

Here are some additional articles on planning a successful event:


The Event Cancellation "Survival" Guide (Webinar)

Here's the sign up link for the Event Cancellation "Survival" Guide webinar scheduled for Tuesday, March 17 at 12:00h EDT (16:00h UTC) and Tuesday, March 24 at 21:00h EDT (01:00h UTC):

(Please copy & paste the link above into your browser, if needed.)

Sign up for the webinar and you will discover actionable advice learned over 20 years, from events directly impacted by postponements, natural disasters, and last-minute onsite event cancellations.

I'm working on including two additional topic area experts, based on subscriber feedback. One expert is from a highly accomplished sponsorship agency. The other expert is from a seasoned event ticketing company.

This live 30-45 minute online complimentary session is accessible worldwide by any smartphone, tablet, or desktop computer (Windows, Android, Mac OS, or iOS) with a high-speed Internet connection. The two different dates and start times are an attempt to accommodate over 600 event organizers from 63 countries around the globe. A lot of time zones there!

What is being shared on the webinar is fundamental and experience-based. It is my firm belief that the information you will discover can be applied to almost every event.

Because we all have busy schedules, the content portion of the webinar will be approximately 20 – 30 minutes, followed by a short Q & A.

Please sign up for the time that is most convenient for you, using the link below:

To your success,

-Eugene

Event Promotion Systems, LLC


The pride in winning absolutely ZERO event marketing awards

Years ago, a seemingly go to question for air show organizers looking to hire me was, "how many marketing awards have you won?" At the time, there was a competitor touting all their marketing awards. And good for them!

When asked, "how many marketing awards have you won?" My proud reply, "ZERO! I'm not in the business of winning marketing awards for clients. The award I seek for clients is delivering them a paid-in-full event, before their event attendees arrive."

Think about it. For most event organizers, no award can equal the emotional satisfaction of having your event paid for in advance. Just consider all the worry it eliminates for you and your event team. And as a result, a better customer experience for your event attendees.

Again, if a client wants to apply for an award. I won't stop them, but I also don't encourage them. Why? Because of the dozens of hours clients spend in the application process. In some cases, just for a single award application.

Having collected around one million words of customer feedback for North American events over the last 20 years, not a single event attendee indicated that they had purchased a ticket to an event because the event won an award ... "Best of," marketing award, etc.

For me, the best clients to work with are those who are intently focused on meaningful business results as opposed to satiating their ego. It's my firm belief that all those (award application) hours are better spent investing in improving one's own event.

Get more insight on effective design that drives your event ticket sales:


Where not to advertise your event in an airport

During today's adventures around the galaxy, the following came up ...

If you're going to advertise your event, business, or anything in an airport, there's definitely one place you want to avoid.

After going to airport security, I notice an event advertisement. The advertisement was a large poster board advertising an upcoming local summer event. The poster hit on the key event points, dates, headlining performers, a call to action, and a website address. All in all, a decent job.

There was one major issue ...

This great event advertisement was tucked away after the security checkpoint. The placement was in one of the lasts places people are going to look at in an airport.

Why's that?

Because after most people clear airport security, they're more often than not, off to their departure gate.

Thus, if a great advertisement for your event is in a place, few if any people might ever look ... your advertising impact is going to be minimal at best.

So as not to be a total curmudgeon, here's my suggestion ...

Place your airport advertising in a place of great attention. Either heading towards a departure gate or on people's way to get their luggage.

Food for thought!

 


Combating the coronavirus & event uncertainty or cancellation

First things first . . . Be safe out there! Here's wishing you, your family, and friends a safe journey ahead.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of incorrect information regarding the novel coronavirus. I'm not here to dispense medical advice. That said, I strongly urge you to stay informed through reliable and reputable medical sources.

Just today, while in a local store, an employee was talking out loud about an ill patient admitted to a local hospital.

In the store employee's own words, "there is someone in a local hospital WITH the coronavirus!"

I heard the statement above and so did several other people. There's one massive issue with the account. The test results for the patient in isolation aren't complete. Nobody even knows if the person in isolation has the coronavirus.

Yet, people are referencing a sick person (incorrectly), and it's the lead story in every local media outlet. What's worst is this type of wrong information can cause many people to panic.

Let's place the above in the context of one's event.

If you've been following the international news, you'll notice that several major events have been canceled or postponed. The impact has even hit the movie industry, with the latest James Bond film "No Time To Die" delayed until November.

Here's my advice for dealing with any potential coronavirus impact and your event. Be proactive about event updates. Keeping your fans and patrons "in the loop." It is the single best way to combat uncertainty, panic, and gossip.

In terms of how to communicate, I'd strongly recommend email or mobile text messages. Unlike Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. email and text messages can get you directly to your event patrons, ticket holders, and potential event attendees.

In short, if there are any changes in your event, make sure that your customers and potential attendees hear from you first and directly! You need to be the definitive and timely source of information on your event.

Want to get more info on event customer service and communication? Check out the links below:


Event Promotion and the Bloomberg "Bomb"

Earlier today, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the suspension of his 2020 U.S. Presidential campaign.

Today's takeaway has everything to do with politics and the marketing of one's event. Fear not, I'll stay away from the political side of the equation. Here's a short synopsis.

Former Mayor Bloomberg spent over $450 MM USD on his failed Presidential campaign.

Source: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/bloomberg-campaign-staffs-future-dropout-172121273.html

Over the last few months, several academic and media pundits were terrified that Bloomberg would be able to "buy a Presidential election." In the end, hundreds of millions of dollars were spent with disastrous results. What some have dubbed one of the biggest financial failures in the history of politics!

So what does the Bloomberg presidential campaign have to do with marketing your event?

It's yet another stunning example of even with the deepest pockets and a den of super-genius consultants, outcomes are never assured. Both in politics and in the event world.

The essential event lesson is that if what your event offers does not appeal to the those you're advertising to (your target market), your event is probably doomed. Because there is no amount of advertising, marketing, or PR that can create demand where none exists.

Lack of demand is probably the biggest reason why events fail. So before you spend a cent on advertising an event, make sure people what to buy into what you have to offer.

Here are some additional articles on planning and promoting a successful event:


Are your considering postponing your event?

Last year, my lady received a message that an annual event we've attended for years is postponed. The event is a holiday tour of historic local homes. Ultimately, the event organizers decided to postpone their yearly event until December 2020.

Previously, I addressed the challenges of postponing or canceling a recurring event. Long story short, if you decide not to have your event, there is a good chance that another event might come into your marketplace.

As a result, your customer base is potentially gobbled up by another event. I've seen this scenario happen with clients on multiple occasions. And it's not good!

Unfortunately, there are times when you're left with no other choice but to postpone or cancel your event. If that's the case, you need to think ahead. And here's an important question to ask yourself:

"What am I doing to collect leads and generate interest for my next event?"

Simply put. Do you have a system in place to generate leads and interest in your next event? In most cases, your dedicated event website is a great place to start. The question above is even more applicable if your event is a few of years away. And it's never too early to start!

One of my military clients really thought through answering the question above. In some cases, their events were held up to four years apart. Because of their foresight, they were able increase their revenue 90% over three events.

A major factor in their success came down to having a well thought out marketing plan for their next event. Use the question above and think through it!

Looking for more event promotion advice? Check out the articles below:


Putting your event marketing detective cap on

Years ago, a seasoned event organizer commented on one of my most powerful marketing strategies. In their words, "I've been involved in these events for 40 years, and what Eugene is suggesting is one of the stupidest things I've ever heard."

As with all things, the event organizer above is welcome to their opinion. The irony of their statement is that my "stupidest" suggestion was integrated on the event organizer's next consulting project.

Far too many event organizers make dangerous assumptions based on their personal bias. It's human nature. What that means is that one could run an event for 40 years and not have a clue of what's really going on at their own event. A simple look at post-event survey feedback adds substantial credence to my previous statement.

Please don't get lost in a 40-year haze, like most event organizers. Fortunately, there is hope, if you do the following ...

When at your event, or someone else's event, I encourage you to be exceptionally observant. Put on your marketing detective hat. That means going beyond, just paying attention. It requires you to set your personal bias aside and ask probing questions, just like Sherlock Holmes.

Sherlock always digs more in-depth, often to a fault, into what most people consider inconsequential. He would get answers to important questions like, "why do people really attend our event?" or "what's our number one advertising source for ticket sales?" When asked, most event organizers cannot accurately or confidentially answer the last two questions.

Moving forward, please make sure you dig a little deeper and find out what's really going on. There is an excellent chance that you'll discover something extraordinary. And I encourage you to ethically adopt that which you uncover!

Here are some additional articles on planning a successful event:


"Have Blue" secrets for marketing your event

Back in the 1970s, the United States Government took on a highly secretive project known as "Have Blue." The "Have Blue" project was the precursor the to the F-117A Nighthawk a.k.a. "Stealth Fighter."

One fascinating part of the "Have Blue" project is that the aircraft was meticulously "Frankensteined" from other aircraft. Some of the components included the landing gear, ejection seat, engines, and fly-by-wire system. A great deal of time and money were saved by using "off the shelf" parts.

You're probably asking yourself, "what exactly does this have to do with me?" Here's the Stealth Fighter lesson for every event organizer...

When it comes to your website, it's essential to start with trying to find an "off the shelf" solution. Over the years, I've seen countless custom designed websites for businesses and events. In many instances, the person or web design company hired to build the site unnecessarily custom coded features. This "customization" cost an outrageous amount of time and money.

Once an event organizer bragged about their $40,000 USD custom designed website. The visually stunning website hurt the event's ticket sales. Later, the event's website was replaced with a far less expensive alternative (using off the shelf tech). Add in some smart marketing strategy, and the event went on to skyrocket their ticket revenue.

Before redesigning your next website, ask your web person/company, "is there an existing technology or service that can be used?" Save those valuable dollars for your advertising and marketing. You'll get way more bang for your buck!

Use direct response marketing for your event and only pay for results. Check out the links below:


"What happens when your event gets canceled?"

Quick disclaimer: what follows is not legal or accounting advice. My recommendation is to speak with an individual well versed in consumer law for your country or jurisdiction. With that said, the following information comes from years of conversations with attorneys across North America and Europe.

The following scenarios are real-life case studies of outdoor events being unprepared for adverse weather. "Weather" or not, the same advice applies to indoor events.

One of my first questions for any event organizer is, "what happens when your event gets canceled?"

The most common response is, "that's never happened." When it does happen the first time, the outcome is usually less than ideal.

On several projects with new clients, the standard response (when pressed) goes as follows. "We have a clearly stated no refund policy. If our event doesn't happen. We don't need to give people their money back!"

According to multiple attorneys, that's a legally sound position. That legally sound position also comes with a caveat and an important consideration.

Regardless of your event's terms of service, if an event ticket was purchased with a major credit card, the rules are different. Because you have a "no refund" policy means little to the credit card companies.

If your event attendee feels like you didn't deliver on an aspect of your event, the consumer can initiate a chargeback. With rare exception, the credit card companies will fight to protect the consumer and get them their money back.

That means credit card companies can forcibly take chargeback money out of your bank account, plus a chargeback fee. This is a big reason why ticketing companies hold a ticket sales reserve on your ticket sales.

If you haven't already, ask your ticketing company / merchant account provider what their policy is regarding chargebacks.

Too many chargebacks could result in not being able to process credit card transactions. Your best bet for avoiding credit card chargebacks is by having an event cancellation contingency place in place, before your event. To get you started here's a question to ask yourself and your team ...

"If you can't give a refund to an event attendee, how can you make that person happy?"

You then need to think through all the aspects associated with the above question. How are you going to get that message to event attendees? What happens when people demand a refund on social media (because they will)? Who's going to execute your contingency plan? Plus numerous additional questions and considerations.

Clients who have had cancellation contingencies and execution plans in place have kept chargebacks to the single digits (on tens of thousands of annual transactions) and refunds to a minimum.

Most important of all, they've gained trust with a very loyal customer base ... which is essential for long term growth of any event.

Want to more event satisfaction advice? Check out the articles below:


The rub against free event advertising and marketing

Every year, I hear event organizers espouse the virtues of "free" advertising and trades. Occasionally at conferences there is an "oh yeah ... well we got X, Y, or Z for free" contest. Lots of people trying to one-up one another.

Here's my rub with the whole "free advertising" gambit ...

To date, not a single event organizer who swears by their free advertising and trades can produce tangible evidence connected to ticket sales. This isn't to say that it doesn't happen. To be fair, most event organizers don't even bother to track. So, how would they know?

"Free" advertising and marketing is a topic that hits close to home. Because clients spend an inordinate amount of their time managing their free advertising efforts. Ultimately in the end, they're left with nothing to show for it.

I am unsupportive of ANY form of advertising or marketing (online or traditional) that cannot be attributed to a ticket sale. Either you can track what you're doing to a ticket sale or not. And if not, it's pretty simple ... stop doing what you're doing.

This year a client went back to using old school "promo" codes on their print advertising. The results were eye-opening and easy to understand. When in doubt, go back to the fundamentals!

The way to preserve your advertising soul is to pay for advertising and track those efforts to a result.

Instead of free advertising and marketing, focus your efforts on paid solutions with a proven track record. You can start advertising online for as little as $5 a day. Even better, you can track simple advertising efforts to ticket sales.

Want to discover more about promoting your event? Check out the articles below:


"Bummer. The good tickets are sold out!"

"Bummer. The good tickets are sold out!" That was from an email that was sent to a client today.

The client had done such an excellent job of advance ticket sales, that all their premium event tickets were sold out.

Some premium tickets were sold out weeks in advance, after multiple price increases!

Most event organizers would think the situation above is a great place to be. Yet, being sold out of tickets could potentially be bad for your event. How so?

Because when you're sold out, especially weeks or months in advance, you can't generate additional ticket revenue.

A quick calculation showed that based on marketplace demand the client could have generated an additional 15-25% of ticket revenue, had they expanded their capacity. Unfortunately, because of the site layout, there was no additional space to increase capacity.

Here's today's takeaway. If you have a hot ticket for your event, always look for ways that you can expand capacity. One caveat to expansion is making sure you don't negatively impact customer experience. I've seen events get greedy and scuttle the customer experience.

Have you ever found yourself in the situation above? What was your result?

Want to "smartly" sell out your next event? Check out the links below: