Event Marketing: Overwhelming Your Target Market

Over the weekend I watched some advertising for a local event I really want to attend. The piece of advertising was a 30 second television commercial.  The television commercial illustrated the importance of keeping your marketing message, relevant, short, and easy to remember. One of the biggest mistakes event organizers and promoters make is trying to delivery the target audience too much information in one sitting.

Information Overload

The event promoter’s or event organizer’s mindset is usually, “How much information can I get into this one ad?” The end result is that so much information goes in to a piece of advertising that people get overwhelmed or just ignore the advertising.  Too much information can be as bad as too little advertising. Are event sponsors, dates, times, headliners, etc. important? Absolutely! Yet, if people aren’t at least interested in finding out more information about your event, they’re unlikely to attend. If your target audience is unlikely to attend all the previous information such as sponsors, dates, times, and your main attraction, risk becoming irrelevant.

Take Small Steps First

I’m a firm believer that if event organizers focused more on hitting people’s emotional hot buttons upfront, they would get more people interested in their event. When creating advertising for your event, regardless of the medium, concentrate on getting people interested in your event first. 

Keep your advertising simple, straightforward, and easy to remember.
Consider some of the ideas below:

  • Create an attention grabbing headline or hook that hits their emotional hot buttons
    (their desires or fears). e.g. "The Heart Pounding Excitement of Flight!"

  • What are the benefits the audience gets for attending your event? Use those in your advertising.
  • A simple call to action, send them to your web site that has more information about the event.

Get Into Their Ego
When getting your marketing message across, focus on keeping things as simple and straightforward as possible. I can't recall who came up with the axiom, but you need to "get out of your ego and into their ego." In short, give the people what they want, not what you think they want. If you can get people to take a simple action, like visiting a web site, you’ll have a greater chance of selling them on your event.

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Turn Your Event Into an Experience

Last month I was fortunate enough to participate in the Red Bull Air Race that was held in Detroit, Michigan. There is something about high performance airplanes flying a dizzying course dangerously close to the ground that makes your heart skip a few beats. The people in attendance were awe struck as the first air plane entered the course. I witnessed one gentleman at the event who was so impressed he let out a series of explicit words to verbalize his amazement. Red Bull has gone beyond just creating an event, they have created an experience.

The Red Bull Experience

Create an Experience

Events come and go, but an “experience” can last a lifetime. If you have an event, consider ways to turn it into an unforgettable experience. You can also use the experience mindset and apply it to all your event marketing. I don’t believe anyone should over hype their event through marketing or advertising and then under deliver on value. Yet, if you can over deliver on value and exceed your potential customer’s expectations you owe it them to hype accordingly. Over the years I’ve seen great events lose big money because they weren’t marketed very well. 

Marketing the Experience

Creating an experience also helps tremendously when it comes to your event marketing. Over the last few weeks I’ve been conducting research on P.T. Barnum. I would encourage anyone interested in event marketing spend some time reading up on Barnum. He was one of the greatest event marketers on the planet during his time. His marketing exploits were conducted in a time of no radio, television, or Internet. He was able to create an unbelievable experience for his customers. He had a strong belief in always delivering value to the customer. Next time you have an event, try integrating some of Barnum’s magic into your event.

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Outdoor Event Advertising and Marketing

Before you consider purchasing any publically displayed advertising, stop and give some thought to how your advertising will fit into its’ surroundings. Ask yourself, "What will people think?" This mindset is especially applicable to billboards, banners, and any outdoor signage.

A Banner Example
The catalyst for this post was some advertising I saw for a local event.  The event organizer had probably spent thousands of dollars on a series of really nice looking banners to promote their event.  The banners were displayed in the last place anyone would look. The production value was great, but the placement was bad. 

Where is the billboard?

An outdoor billboard is an ideal example. If someone from your target market is driving down the road does your billboard get their attention?  Is there too much information on your advertising for someone to remember?  Is there other advertising in the surrounding area competing for their attention? Think about all the things someone might be doing while they’re in their car . . . trying to dodge traffic, talking on their cell phone, or changing radio stations.  Someone once asked me to recall information off any of the billboards I’d seen during my morning commute. I couldn’t really remember any details.

Additional Resource:

You might not have 100% control over where your advertising runs. And it might not be practical to look at every single individual piece of public advertising space. But, in instances where you do have some influence, visualize how your target market might take in your advertising. Think to yourself, "If I'm the consumer is that advertising going to catch and momentarily keep my attention?" This simple process might save you from wasting significant sums of money on advertising that goes unnoticed.

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Sky High Event Promotion

There are so many forms of advertising that it’s difficult to find just one that really stands out. I believe one truly unique form of advertising is aerial banner advertising.  What makes aerial banner advertising so unique is there isn’t much advertising competition in the sky. It’s rare to see aerial advertising and not have someone nearby say out loud “Look at that!” Most people will at least read what’s on the banner.

Big Letters
One of my favorite things about aerial banner advertising is the format, big type letters. Those big letters make aerial banner advertising a great format to advertise web addresses. I firmly believe that the single greatest piece of advertising information you want people to remember is your web address.

Easy to Remember
It is imperative that you make your address is easy to remember. You might want to consider using an alternate domain name just for advertising purposes. Some domain names are either too long or very difficult to remember. Can you create an alternate domain name,just for advertising, that is short and easy to remember?

I don’t have any case studies pointing to the effectiveness of banner advertising. As technology progresses more people are getting cell phones with mobile web access. If you catch their attention they could be on your web site in a matter of moments.

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Event Promotion Idea: Text Messaging

Have you ever notice how many people text message these days?  It seems like a number of people are more likely to text message than actually pickup the telephone. An increasing number of retailers are using mobile phone text messaging to drive their retail sales with impressive results. In a recent post, “Promoting Events Inside Your Event,” I wrote about the importance of leveraging your web site and internal event schedule to add value to your event.  You can use simple mobile phone text messages to build excitement for your event.

Remember Trust and Credibility

It is difficult enough for marketers to collect a legitimate first name and email address. Trying to collect a real cell phone number is even more difficult. If you’re going to attempt to get cell numbers for your event marketing, I recommend starting with your existing permission based marketing list. If you’ve provided your existing list enough valuable information your list subscribers are probably more likely to willfully provide you their cell number.

A Texting Idea
In its’ simplest form you can send a text message or two a few days before your event to build excitement.  I would stress the importance of not trying to sales pitch people to death. What can you text someone that would be considered valuable information?

If you have a segmented list, consider sending text messages to people who purchased tickets about the event itself. You might text all the people who purchased a ticket a few minutes before your event headliner takes the stages. You can also text interesting tidbits of information about the event itself.

Ultimately when and what to text are going to be at your discretion. Think about the information you’re sending from a receiver’s prospective. Is the information you're sending timely and useful?

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Promoting Events Inside Your Event

Do you have additional events or special features taking place inside your event? These additional events could include anything from live music performances, guest speakers, workshops, autograph sessions, etc. It’s any smaller event inside your event that further enhances your attendee’s experience.

A recent expedition to Disney’s EPCOT was a catalyst for writing on the topic of providing a schedule of events inside your event. After purchasing tickets at the ticket window you are given your park ticket and additional handouts. One of the handouts is a daily schedule of events and seasonal showcases taking place inside of EPCOT.  The advantage of providing a schedule is that you can allow people to pick and choose what’s most interesting to them.

Leverage Your Web Site
From a timing aspect, the schedule becomes more important the closer you get to your event. If you’re event is coming up shortly you might want to notch out a section of your home page to feature a “Schedule of Events.” Consider having pocket or wallet size PDF document that people can easily print off and take with them.

Get People Excited
Try to build a little excitement for your smaller events.  Include a one or two sentence description of why someone might want to attend an event inside your event. In many cases people might not know what is taking place unless you tell them.

Events inside an event are an excellent way to add additional value to your event. “We have a great event happening, plus all this other great stuff!” It's going to be far easier for you to sell a ticket for your event if you can provide tremendous value. Something as simple as a schedule is a simple yet effective way to add value to your event.

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The Timing of Your Event Promotion

Do you know what information might be important to prospective event attendees at any given moment? Over the last few posts I’ve mentioned the importance of information over time.  Just because you have a 5, 10, or 20 page event web site doesn’t mean that people are looking at all the information in one sitting. Online directions to your event might garner the most attention a few days before the event, but mean little or nothing to an attendee months before the event. It’s important to take stock of what information is important to an attendee at various moments.

How do I find out what’s important to people?
Two great places to start looking at what’s important to prospective event attendees is by looking at incoming emails and your web statistics.

Email is a great place to get into the mind of event attendees. In most cases the emails you’re receiving will give you a very good idea of what’s important to your prospective attendees at any given moment. People will literally spell out what’s of interest to them. If you get several emails a week asking about tickets to your event, that’s going to tell you something. Are you doing something with that information?

Web Stats
Your web statistics will also give you an excellent idea of what information is important to people. What are the top pages that people are looking at on your web site?  Are they neglecting any pages that contain potentially important information?  It’s important to focus on trends and making sure you’re giving people the information they seek.

Try correlating your statistics with incoming emails.  The information will help you in creating a better understanding of your consumer.

Internet users have a comparatively low attention span.  If the information isn't at their finger tips they might abandon their search or look elsewhere. In terms of event marketing, this could mean the loss of event attendees. If you know what’s important to your target market at any given moment you can do a better job of presenting the information more effectively.

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Keeping Your Event List Engaged

How often do you engage your list?  Engaging your list means sending some type of information to a group of target market subscribers. The materials could be anything from an email newsletter to using “snail mail” to keep in touch.  In other posts I’ve given out information for growing your list. In today’s post, I’m going to quickly look at some ways to deal with people unsubscribing from your list.

When you’re growing your list it’s really important to get your timing interval set for what works best for your target market. Over the years I’ve seen both sides of the engagement spectrum, from too much to too little. My clients engage their list anywhere from once a quarter to every week. Contrary to popular belief, too many people under engage their list.

Ask Two Questions . . .

Continue reading "Keeping Your Event List Engaged" »

Connecting with Your Event Audience Online

When it comes to your event web site content it is imperative to be very conscientious that the information is overwhelmingly user focused.  I go well beyond “beating a dead horse” on this particular topic.  People always ask, why do you constantly bring this point up?  Not staying people focused is the single biggest liability to a business' or event's web presence. Most companies struggle online because they’re not connecting with their audience in a language that the audience understands.

“I want it done this way!”
In the past, I’ve had clients insist on updating their web site with information they believed to be very important.  The challenge is showing event organizers and business owners that the people aren’t interested in the particular information they want to share. Worst of all it cost event organizers and businesses their own time, effort, and money. At the very basic level you need to separate what you think is best form the audience and what they want. I'm not sure who's quote it is, but "Get yourself out of your ego and into the prospect's ego."

How to Avoid Costly Mistakes
You can avoid the costly mistake of not connecting with your audience in several ways.  Start with your data. What data (emails, follow up surveys, telephone calls, etc.) can you reference to better understand the people using your web site?  Are there any specific trends that give you insight into what information prospective attendees want? Do your web stats indicate something important?

Another way to get in the right frame of mind is to ask yourself, “If I was going to an event web site, what would be most important to me?” When it comes to event web site information what's important can change depending on the time frame. As an example, people are going to be much more interested in directions to your event as the event date approaches. The safest thing to do is ask your target market, “What do you want to know about the event and when do you want to know about it?”

Below I’ve included some articles that might prove helpful in getting in better touch with you audience.

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Using Mystery and Your Event Promotion

Have you ever used a little mystery or intrigue to promote your event? We humans tend to be a very curious bunch.  Once we’re teased with something of interest, it's usually followed by an insatiable itch to find out more.

The Sneak Peak
A great example of using mystery to tease something bigger is a movie trailer. What is a movie trailer? A movie trailer is a short two minute vignette to get people interested in going to see the full movie. Have you every thought of using the trailer idea to promote your event? With inexpensive video recording and free services like YouTube, it's never been easier to create your own videos.

Delivering the Goods

One caveat of mystery is not letting your audience down. If you’re building up a promotion using mystery make sure that you deliver something big. You want your audience to say, “Wow, that’s amazing!” You never want them underwhelmed by the experience. How many times have you seen something built up so big that it can’t possibility meet someone’s expectations? It's like seeing a great movie trailer and then being let down by the feature length version of the film. If you're going to tease, make sure you deliver the goods!

Below, I’ve included a video presentation by J.J. Abrams, the creator of Lost and number of Hollywood movies.  In the video, J.J. talks about Mystery Boxes and how they get integrated into various stories.  Take a few minutes and watch the video. It might give you an idea that can be integrated into you next event or promotion.

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Event Marketing Idea: Blocking Your Tickets

There is one really simple strategy you can use to drive the “right” amount of advance sale tickets.  Why the “right” amount of advance sale tickets? Because many event organizers are hesitant to offer ticket discounts. They worry that they’re going to lose too much money.  “What if everyone buys the tickets at 50% off?” There is a very easy way to mitigate the possibility of giving up too much and still drive advance ticket sales.

Ticket Blocking
If you’re offering discounted tickets to your event, especially deeply discounted tickets, limiting the amount of tickets sold can be used to your advantage.  I refer to the process as discount ticket blocking. By ticket blocking you only offer a certain amount of tickets at a discounted price.  Just by limiting the number of discounted tickets you give additional incentive for people to buy early.  It’s important to find the right combination of blocking and price to drive ticket prices.  Each event is going to have a unique combination. Doing a little intuitive math should give you a decent idea of how much and how many tickets to discount.

Offer Huge Ticket Discounts

Did you ever think of offering a 50% discount on your event ticket price? A few months ago I meet Kevin Walsh from Wingman Events.  Kevin provides consulting services for the air show industry.  He came up with a great ticket and blocking schedule that helped sell a significant portion of tickets of advance sale tickets to an air show. Did he give up profit margin? Absolutely! He discounted some event tickets by over 50%. But would you give up significant margin if you could pay for your entire event before a single person walked in the gate? Remember there are only a certain amount of people who will buy early.

Ticket blocking is a simple way to make sure you don’t lose when discounting ticket prices and still drive advance sale tickets.  Make sure you give it some consideration for your next event.

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Event Marketing: Ask Your Patrons What They Want

When is the last time you asked your target market for feedback or input on your event? It is very easy to assume you know the needs and desires of your target market.  The dilemma of assuming what a target market's needs and desires are, plagues the business world daily. It's the classic "I know what they want!" Businesses then proceed to spend a ton of money and time developing the perfect product or service that nobody needs or cares about.  Unfortunately the same dilemma carries over into the event world. Event organizers build events that don’t match up with the expectations or desires of their target market. If you can meet your target market’s needs and desires you’re much more likely to be successful with your event.  Put simply, would you rather go to an event that interests you or an event that holds no interest for you? One of the easiest ways to meet your target market's wants and desires is by asking them simple questions.

A Real Life Feedback Example
The example that follows isn't directly from the event marketing world, but the same idea could be applied to almost any event.

A few days ago a friend of mine conducted a very interesting feedback experiment. My friend’s company sells unique t-shirts.  On a whim he decided to post a short two minute video to his web site.  The purpose of the video was to request questions from his target market relating to his business and products.  After the video was posted online, he emailed all the people on his email list. The response to the video was tremendous.  Hundreds of people viewed the video and then submitted a bunch of great questions and comments.  My friend is now going to use the feedback to help him develop products that are very focused on the customer. It also help him drive home the biggest sales month he's ever had in his business.

Stick with Simple
You don’t have to do something as elaborate as a video post to engage your target market.  Email is a super efficient and inexpensive way to collect feedback. Send an email and ask a few very simple questions that help you better understand your target market’s wants and desires.  It could be as straightforward as “What do you want to see at the event?” You’ll be amazed at what you can learn when you ask questions. Ideas you might never have thought of manifest themselves with great audience feedback. Another great thing about asking for feedback on your event is that it builds a tremendous amount of trust and credibility with your target market.   

After Your Event
After you event is over think about sending a follow up survey. Find out what attendees liked and disliked. You could use the data you collect for planning future events.

If you want a super successful event ask your target market what they want and then do your best to deliver it to them.  It all starts with a question. If you can focus primarily your target market's needs, you'll have a much easier time reaching your event goals, guaranteed!

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Event Marketing Idea: Leveraging Your Voicemail

Do you have an information hot line setup for your event or a number you encourage people to call for additional event inquires? If you have a voice mail message setup does it include mention of your web site? If aren’t including a web address in your voice mail you’re missing a great opportunity to drive people to your web site.

I originally wrote about this idea in Marketing Via Voicemail. I figured it might be beneficial to re-frame the same strategy for event marketers.  This is one of those small things that can make a big difference.  You could potentially save yourself countless hours of returning telephone calls if people can find the answers to their questions on your web site. How much does it cost you to change your voice mail message? The idea seems like a “Thank you Doctor Obvious” suggestion, yet it’s so simple that most people never implement the idea. Of the numerous companies I mentioned this idea to none of them have included their web site in their voice mail message. The irony was that every company I suggested the idea to thought it was a great idea.

Additional Suggestions:

  • If your web address is difficult to spell or interpret over the telephone, spell it out in the voice mail message.
  • Be sure you include a call to action with your web address. It isn’t enough to mention just your event web site. A good call to action gives people a compelling reason to visit your web site.  It can be anything from discount online tickets to a cool video you want them to watch.

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Event Promotion: A Big Bucks Idea for Your Next Event

Do you have a certain segment of your event attendees who are willing to pay more for a very unique experience? Almost every event has a group of people looking for the ultimate experience. Consider the following:

Most air shows have an attendance of a few thousand to tens of thousands of people. The general admission ticket price we’ll use for this example is $10 USD. There is always going to be a small percentage of air show fans that are looking for the ultimate experience. You can offer those looking for the ultimate air show experience a “Top Gun Club” ticket for $100 per day per person. The $100 ticket gets you VIP Parking, access to a tented area right on the flight line, all you can eat food and drinks, and visits from the air show performers though out the day.

Let’s assume that the air show in this example gets 25,000 attendees for the weekend.  Could you sell 100 “Top Gun Club” tickets for $100 each? That’s an extra $10,000 in revenue per day for your event. Some might say "There is no way people are willing to pay that much!" I’ve spoken to air show organizers that have successfully implemented a very similar program to the one given above. They never seem to have problems selling our their “Top Gun” packages well in advance.

Customize the Idea for Your Event

You can use the idea above and customize it for your event. The pricing and structure is entirely at your discretion. What can you offer your event attendees as the ultimate experience? Maybe it’s backstage passes, or an exclusive VIP engagement with one of your performers or speakers. Find out what people really want and offer them a high end version.

The Caveat - You Must Deliver Massive Value
One very important part that you don’t want to neglect is delivering massive value to your premium buyer. That’s probably the quickest way close the door on any high end specialty packages in the future. Your focus should be delivering an experience that far exceeds expectations.  If you have a VIP package that cost $100, make the purchaser feel like they receiving $500 in value. Spend some time thinking about the simple things to deliver massive value. It can be a series of low cost ideas that when combined become very impressive.

There are always a small percentage of people that are willing to pay big bucks for something unique.
Think of ways to offer a truly unique experience for a small segment of your attendees. It can be a great way to raise some big bucks at your next event.

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Technology versus Just Event Marketing

Technology and its’ impact on people can be ironic at times. Too many people think technology is an instant fix to their business challenges. In my humble opinion, technology can enhance and drive good ideas, but it can’t manifest or replace well thought and well executed plans.

Two Choices
I have a friend who is trying to sell consulting services to a group of event organizers.  The two services my friend is proposing are a comprehensive marketing strategy package and ticketing technology that allows at home on-demand ticket printing. The ticketing technology is impressive to say the least. You can instantly and securely place an order for a ticket to an event and then print your ticket from the comfort of home. When you get to the event a scanner checks your home printed ticket and you’re in the event.

One Over the Other

The irony of the situation is that the event organizers want the ticketing technology but not the marketing strategy.  I ask the question of what’s more important, “The ability to buy tickets online or great event marketing to drive people to your event?” In the above case I believe that just event marketing is far more valuable than the cool technology.  I would think that it doesn’t matter how many tickets can be bought online if you can’t give people a good reason to show up to your event.

Yes, I’m a big technology guy. But I’m also rooted in the firm belief that technology enhances the work of hard working humans. Technology works best with a well thought out plan and forward thinking humans. Technology should be used to increase efficiency, not as a magic bullet. 

Quality First Example
One of the distance marketing programs I’m involved with relies heavily on technology for content delivery. The program uses live interactive video seminars (webinars) and high tech telephone conferencing.  Yet, for all the “bells and whistles” the strongest part of the entire marketing program is the content. Without great content the technology doesn’t matter.

Consider how web sites evolved over the years. Remember when a huge amount of businesses wanted Flash based web sites? Of all the businesses I know that changed their company web sites to flash, every single one returned to HTML based design.

Of everything that I’ve seen to date, there is no technology that can replace a well planned or well marketed event. If you’re going to use any technology in your event, make sure it enhances the great work you’re already doing.

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Wanted: A Simple One Page Event Web Site

Yesterday I attended a local event with some clients and friends. A client of mine was good enough to offer me some complementary tickets for myself and friends to a fundraising event.  In the days leading up to the event I was trying to coordinate a meeting time with friends. The challenge was that I couldn’t find any information on the event, most importantly a definitive start time, anywhere.  I had honestly spent at least 30 minutes of my time searching the web and making phone calls to various parties involved with the event. Of the people I spoke with over the telephone, I was given three different start times. In the end, I was able to find out a definitive time about two hours before the event started.

It Happens More Often Than Not
There have been times where I’ve experienced similar scenarios of not being able to find critical information with other big events. If I’m a web guy and pride myself on the ability to find almost anything online in short order, what about all the other people? I can only imagine the frustration level that others had in trying to find information for an event they paid good money to attend. One of the best things you can do is keep your event attendees and prospective attendees well informed.

Just One Page

The example above illustrates the need for having something as simple as a one page event web site that’s easy to find in search engines. This can be accomplished for as little as $75-$100 USD a year.  All you need is the domain name registered and a simple hosting plan. The sooner you post a web site the better your chances for getting properly listed in the search engines. I’ve included additional information to help event organizers get started with a simple and inexpensive web presence.

Additional Resources:

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Event Promotion Timing and Your Event

Have you ever wondered “when should I start advertising for my event?” Over the years I’ve seen a number of examples that help formulate a possible answer to previous question. At the same time, it’s difficult to pinpoint an exact time frame to start advertising for your event.  The time frame for advertising depends on a number of variables unique to your event. Factors include type of event, weather conditions, competing events, the economy, etc.

The Danger of Starting Too Late
A few years ago there was a summer event that I consulted for that illustrates the danger of waiting too long to promote an event.  The event was well known in the community and took place every few years during the summer. Event organizers didn’t start to promote the event with traditional media until about 10 days prior to the event taking place.  Because of the late start in advertising there were some very noticeable impacts in ticket sales. Online ticket sales decreased by over 60% and regular ticket sales were down significantly from previous years. It’s my firm belief that had the advertising started earlier that the ticket sales would have been much higher.

Consider the Variables
The adverting time frame is going to be determined by a number of unique factors. Consider the following. If you’re in the Northern part of the United States and you have an outdoor event there are only so many nice weather days granted by Mother Nature.  People tend to make long term weekend plans during the summer. If you have a summer event you’re going to want to advertise at least 30 days in advance. You should always be thinking of the variables that impact your advertising schedule.

Always Start Early, as Opposed to Late
There is one fundamental that can be applied to almost every event. You can get to a point then it is too late to advertise your event. Regardless of how big your advertising budget, there comes a time when it isn’t enough to sway a target audience. How many times have you heard the infamous line “I wish I would have known earlier.” If you’re advertising for your next big event start advertising early as opposed to later.

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Sponsorship, Domain Name Branding, and Your Event

Below is a scenario that has come up once or twice in years past. Let me start by stating I fully realize the importance of sponsorship to events.  Some events might not be able to take place without the support of sponsors.  Recently a particular case study prompted me to carefully examine the relationship between domain name branding and sponsorship.

A Sponsor Wanting to Rebrand the Domain Name
In the case study the title sponsor for an event wanted to rebrand the domain name used for the event’s web site to be sponsor centric. The domain name would include the sponsor’s name and the type of event. Some might think it’s an easy position to logically justify.  If a title sponsor is giving a large donation to help support the event, why not rebrand the domain name?  Consider this; the event already had a well established domain name that had been used for almost 8 years. Additionally, over $350,000 USD was spent on advertising for the event over 8 years with the previous domain name featured prominently.

When to Rebrand Your Domain Name

The one instance where you might want to consider rebranding your domain name to be sponsor centric is when you lock a title sponsor into a long term sponsorship agreement.

Local and Out of Town Domains
If you get event attendees from outside the local area and your title sponsor is only known locally you might run into additional branding challenges. You might want to consider using one domain name locally and another that resonates with out of town people

When Changing Your Domain Name, Keep your old Domain Name Alive
If you do decide to rebrand your event’s domain name, keep your previous domain names active and pointing to your new domain.  People who have an affinity for your previous domain name use it to get to your web site. From a search engine perspective, it can take several months or years to properly re-index a new domain name. Don’t forget to consider older links associated with the previous domain name.

Ultimately the decision to use a new domain name or stay with an existing one is the decision of the event organizers.  Make sure you choose wisely. If you’re event attendees are accustomed to using one domain name, a change might not be in your best interest.

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What is Event Marketing? (Definition)

Event_marketing_definitionA quick look up on your favorite search engine will show that various companies have very different perspectives on the definition of event marketing.

Depending where you look, you might find two completely different definitions for the phrase "Event Marketing."

What is the Definition of Event Marketing?
After some research, both online and offline, I’ve been able to boil down event marketing into the two definitions below . . .

Event Marketing - Definition #1:
The use of traditional or new media to promote, market, or advertise an event. Various forms of marketing and advertising are used to entice people to attend an event. Event types could include anything from not for profit fundraisers to sporting events, conventions, fundraisers, seminars, festivals, workshops, air shows, and many more.

Event Marketing - Definition #2:

Using an event, such as tradeshows, to engage prospective consumers, build awareness, or market a company’s products and services. One of the simplest examples is trade show marketing.  Your business purchases booth space and presents your company’s products or services to trade show attendees. Some companies rephrase this definition of event marketing as event-based marketing.

The second definition of event marketing is best embodied in Ruth Stevens' book “Trade Show & Event Marketing: Plan, Promote & Profit.”

Two Definitions - One Universal
Even though there are two different definitions of event marketing, this is one universal concept ... the fundamentals of sales and marketing NEVER change. You are far better off focusing on the psychology of marketing, as opposed to trying to adopt and integrate the latest whiz-bang technology. Ultimately, your sales and marketing success comes down to generating measurable results that improve your business.

Here's a great video to get you started on the fundamentals with supporting articles specifically for events:

For the purpose of this web page I present ideas and strategies for the kind of event marketing found above in Definition #1. Hopefully the information above helps clear up some of the apparent confusion.

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Hold Your Event Marketing Accountable!

Last year, I discover a book by Victor Cheng titled, “Escaping the Self Employment Trap.” Victor writes about an important concept every event marketer should embrace called “Accountable Marketing.” The ideology has been used by direct marketers for years. There was something about how he presented the concept that got me thinking in terms of event promotion and marketing. He sums up accountable marketing in his own words below.

“When your marketing is accountable, it provides you with an enormous advantage in the marketplace. You have great clarity on what marketing activities are making you money and what activities are not.”
Escaping the Self Employment Trap, Cheng. p.66.

It is unbelievable how many event organizers and business don't track the effectiveness of their advertising.

Tracking Your Return On Investment
Consider this . . . If you spend ”X” dollars in advertising you get “Y” dollars in return. If your an event marketer “Y” could be ticket sales, leads, or people going to your event web site.  Victor also point out that you should think of your advertising as a form of investment. If your advertising isn’t bring you a return on investment then it’s expense.

There are numerous events that have a wide range in advertising budgets. There is a good chance if you asked an event organizer, “do you know what the return on investment is for your advertising?”  Most wouldn’t be able to give you a quantified response. There are some event organizers who spend tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars on advertising, all without knowing their return on investment. You always need to be on the lookout for ways to track your advertising effectiveness.

Start Simple
One of the simplest places to start is with your web statistics. Look at your daily advertising spend and correlate it with actions on your event web site.  The actions could be anything from unique visitors to a site to tickets sold on a given day. Get into the habit of collecting and analyzing your marketing data.

The Advertising Question to Ask
Every event marketer needs to ask “What am I getting in return for my advertising and marketing?”
Your numbers might not be perfect, and not all advertising can be tracked directly. But, if you at least put your frame of mind around the concept you’ll probably never look at advertising the same.

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