Do you have event promotion "baditude"?

This comes from client work and is fascinating to me. What follows is illustrative of how many events approach their advertising and marketing. Especially not for profit organizations.

What is it? It's the mindset of:

"We're not going to pay for advertising if we don't have to!"

That's bad advertising attitude or advertising "baditude." And that attitude severely limits any event's opportunity at growing future ticket revenue and attendance.

For years clients have consistently seen a 2x to 5x return on every dollar invested in recommended advertising and marketing. Yet, long term clients who have seen massive growth in their advance and total ticket sales can no longer grow ticket revenues without paid advertising.

At the beginning of the year, one client asked me, "Eugene how much money do you need for advertising this year?" To which I reply, "Well how much can you get?" They insist on a number, so I request $100,000 to $200,000.

Their response is one of total disbelief. "That's ridiculous, we can't do that!" Not because they don't have the money. But because they've never spent that level of money on advertising and marketing.

Again, 2x to 5x return on investment for every advertising campaign we manage for clients. With zero additional cost for campaign management or agency commissions. Some clients see over a 1,000% return on their advertising and marketing investments each year.

If given a choice between "free advertising" and paid advertising, I'd choose paid advertising every single time! For both clients and for my own business. I encourage you to do the same. Why?

Because I am confident that any event can grow 5x to 10x faster with a systematic approach to marketing and paid advertising. Google and Facebook have made it very clear, you need to pay to play.

My strong recommendation is to break free from the "we don't have to pay for any advertising mindset." Per yesterday's email, you can start with as little as $5 a day.

Investing $3K (USD) a day to promote your event

How do you invest $3K USD per day to promote your event? It's an interesting answer. But first, a little context.

The question above comes from a real-world scenario. A good friend of mine manages hundreds of thousands of dollars in online advertising "spend" every month.

Most people would say spend money on advertising or marketing. I choose to use the word invest because an investment implies an expected return. You need to view all your advertising and marketing as an investment and be ruthless about an expected return.

One of my friend's most significant accounts comes in around 3K USD of advertising spend per day. That's over a million dollars of online advertising per year! And when a million dollars/euro are on the line, you better be good at what you do! Fortunately, my friend is a top gun at what he does.

Much of what I've learned and implemented regarding online advertising for events comes from discussions with my friend. The years of our conversations are being distilled down into September's Event Profit Report (hint, hint).

In most online advertising cases, it doesn't matter if you're selling a product, service, or ticket to an event. The fundamentals are the same! Here's the simple place my friend starts with every massive campaign he manages.

When you invest $3K per day to advertise online, you don't start investing at $3K per day.

My friend starts many of his advertising campaigns at $5-$20 a day. Then, gradually over time, increase the daily budget.

Do you need to spend $3K a day promoting your event? Probably not. But you can adopt the same, start small, track smartly, and the think big approach to any advertising and marketing campaign for your event.

Here's another way to think about it. If you get really good and can turn $1 into $2 of ticket sales, consistently 90%+ of the time ... why would you limit yourself to $3K a day?

Additional Event Promotion and Event Advertising Resources:

Beware perceptions of predetermined success

A few days ago, a client was very excited to send out a new marketing piece. The piece was being sent to over 30,000 well-targeted people. Most were previous attendees of the client's event. In the client's own words, "it's one of the best we've ever put together!"

Before getting to the results, there are a few crucial points.

All my Platinum client projects are performance-based. If clients are financially successful, I receive a percentage of revenue. Hence, I'm always rooting for clients to do well. Even if I disagree with what they're doing in regard to marketing and advertising.

Because of the sophisticated tracking used for client work, most marketing efforts can be analyzed within a day. In some cases, a client can get success indicators in as little as 30 minutes. For all the sophisticated tracking, the results metrics are simple. We did "X," and "Y" tickets were sold. Or, "Z" leads generated. That's it!

Back to the client marketing piece from above. Everything was on point for all the time and effort invested. By the end of the day, the results were in.

In a nutshell, the campaign failed miserably to generate ticket sales. Ironically enough, there were several days where no client marketing campaigns were active, and more ticket sales generated. One could argue that "you were better off doing nothing!" And based on the data they'd be correct.

What the takeaway from above?

Beware your biased perceptions! We're all human and have personal biases, myself included. Especially on things where we invest a great deal of time, effort, and money.

Never assume that a marketing campaign is going to be a success. By that same token, never expect a campaign or marketing piece is going to be a dud. And always measure the success of your marketing campaigns by the revenue generated or tickets sold.

To some the above might seem a cold hard approach to events. It is! And it will also keep in you and your event in business.

Here are some additional event promotion advice tips:

What are you putting on your ticket?

Here's a quick question to consider. It's applicable to both your online and hard stock tickets.

The question is, "what information are you putting on your event ticket?"

Most events include info such as: the name of the event, date, time, location, etc. Once in a while, you'll get an event that includes sponsor logos or a coupon/offer.

What's far less common is including information on an event ticket to improve an attendee's experience.

Ask yourself and your team, "Is there additional information that we can include that makes for a better customer experience?"

As I wrote in a recent EPR issue, don't let your attendees get to your event frustrated and get home upset. Your event ticket offers an opportunity to make sure your attendees arrive at your event happy and get home elated!

In many instances, the amount of space for information on the ticket is minimal. That means whatever information you include needs to be impactful and to the point.

Again, in what ways can you use your event ticket to improve the overall customer experience?

Your event ticket offers you a great opportunity. Make sure you make the most of it.

Here are some additional resources regarding selling event tickets online:

"Yeah, so about those numbers we gave you ..."

Data can be a bit of a trickster, a little good or a little bad. And, sometimes a little bit of both. Data can also be used in a variety of ways. In some instances, the same exact data set can be painted positive or negative. Last, but certainly not least ... even the most basic of data can be confused.

Don't worry, I'm not going to suggest that you become a data scientist. Yet, there is one aspect of data science that you need to champion. That aspect is data accuracy.

In today's increasingly data-driven world, data accuracy impacts your ability to use any data to your advantage.

Years ago, a professional basketball team approached me about providing them with marketing services. The team did some research and found out that I had a knack for selling out events.

During an initial assessment we identified a potentially huge marketing asset. The asset came in the form of the basketball team's previous customer database. The team's marketing manager put their customer database at around 8,000 people. One of the team owners, speculated that their database was much more substantial.

When I pressed for additional customer database details, I was told "we'll get back to you."

A few weeks later, I received a telephone call from the team regarding my database questions. After doing some digging, the customer database wasn't quite 8,000 people. It was closer to about 600! What happened? Several people on the team didn't have a firm grasp on customer data, including ownership.

Ultimately, I turned down the offer to work with the basketball team. The team had great people, but there were numerous places where there were severe issues with data accuracy.

On a sobering note. Had the team become a client, the result would have been a complete failure on my part. All because of inaccurate data!

Remember, data can span everything from your customer database to the tracking of visitors to your website. Where data accuracy becomes quintessential is tracking the effectiveness of advertising and marketing campaigns (hint, hint).

Even if you need to hire someone, make sure you buckle your data accuracy down. It needs to be as accurate and pristine as possible. If not, you could be chasing opportunities that don't exist. Or worse, spending money on marketing or advertising that does absolutely nothing for you!

Getting additional event data insights:

Royally screwing up "sold out"

A few years ago, I was on-site to support a client event. It was a free outdoor weekend event (Saturday & Sunday).

In the days preceding the event, all the event infrastructure was being set up. Crowd fences, tents, tables, chairs, vendor booths, etc.

On Friday, the night before the weekend event, the client decided to have a free community outreach gathering. The Friday night event included live music, a performer meet and greet, and food vendors. A few thousand people showed up to the Friday night event.

Going into their event, the client had sold out all their Saturday VIP tickets. Most of the ticket revenue was deposited in the client's bank account (minus the standard ticketing revenue hold) and attendees full of excitement.

It was nearly the ideal scenario, minus one essential item.

When I arrived at the client's event on Friday, I had asked multiple times to walk through the VIP area. The person responsible for VIP and chalet setup wasn't able to accommodate my request.

When I politely insisted, the client's operations manager said, "Eugene we're really busy with our Friday night event, we can't get you over to that area right now." Then, I asked if I could go to the VIP area on my own, the answer was a curt, "no, not without an escort."

In the end, I wasn't able to walk through the VIP area. Fast forward to Saturday morning and the event gates were about to open.

Because my event access badges never made it to me, I diplomatically made my way to the VIP area. On the way to the VIP area, I ran into the event operations manager. They appeared to be really anxious. To which I inquired, "Is everything ok?"

Their response, "not really, none of the VIP areas are ready."

My response, "Ok, what do you mean by not ready?"

The operations managers said, "Only the tents are set up. No tables, chairs, linens, drink stations, or catering. Because we were so busy yesterday, nothing was set up."

I distinctly remember the operations manager's statement from above and looking down at the time on my cell phone. The time was 08:09 and the VIP area was to open at 09:00 sharp. T-minus 51 minutes until "go time!"

(And in case you're wondering ... emphasis on the VIP area setup had been broached multiple times during client prep calls. In one instance, the client became annoyed at my constantly bringing readiness up.)

Thankfully, there were a handful of volunteers who swooped in to the rescue. Hundreds of chairs and dozens of tables were set up in less than 50 minutes. In spite of the incredible volunteer effort, the VIP experience wasn't fully set up until Sunday. Things like catering stations were set up late on Saturday and the open bar, opened elsewhere (not in the VIP tent, as planned).

In the post-event feedback, patrons were rightfully upset. To paraphrase the consensus of many Saturday VIP ticket holders, "I paid for a VIP experience and didn't receive what I paid for. You weren't even ready!"

The unfortunate irony of the story above is that I've seen a failure to execute in multiple instances across numerous events. As a result event attendees are left with a bad experience and some decide to never return.

Please don't fall into the same trap. Make sure that your event is ready to go, well in advance of event attendees showing up! Else, you subject your event to the "three-year recovery."

Here are a few more VIP ticketing insights:

When to forgo overly proper grammar

When was the last time you read an advertisement or marketing piece and thought to yourself:

"How they organized all those words is simply extraordinary. I have to tell all my friends about the amazing grammar!"

Crafting your event advertising and promotions, specifically online marketing, is one place where painfully polished grammar and strict academic vernacular should take a back seat.
It is not to say that you should intentionally use lousy grammar, because that won't serve you very well.

Just don't focus so much on grammar that you lose your reader in the process. Ironically enough, losing the reader's attention often happens with overly polished and "corporate speak" writing.

Of the millions of emails clients have sent over the years, not a single ticket buyer (to the best of my knowledge) has complained about the less than ideal grammar. All of the emails sent are written in a conversational tone. The result was tens of millions of dollars in event ticket sales, directly attributable to "unprofessional" writing.

New York Times best-selling author Neil Strauss summed it up like this: "The highest goal of writing is NOT to have good grammar; it's to have meaning and impact!"

Make sure that when you tell people about your event through advertising and marketing, you do so with impact!

Get the reader so interested in your event that they have no other choice than to buy a ticket.

Crank up your event promotions. Check out the links below:

The Iowa Caucus catastrophe & your event

Monday's technology issues at the Iowa Caucuses reaffirms the following case study ...

(if you're a non-US reader, please do a quick US news search on "2020 Iowa Caucus" – you won't be able to miss it!)

Years ago, I was attempting to get a beer festival client to change over to an online ticketing system. At the time they utilized a half-online ticketing system.

What's a half-online ticketing system?

It's where you take payment online and then get one of your employees to manually snail mail hard stock tickets. The person manually fulfilling thousands of ticket orders was my client's General Manager.

When asked, the General Manager had indicated that manually fulfilling ticket orders added 30 hours of work to their already busy schedule.

So, with the General Manager's time in mind and a few other factors, I strongly recommended that the client change to a full online ticket solution. That's where tickets are purchased online and printed at home or work by the consumer.

The client was apprehensive about making a change. They wanted me to guarantee them there wouldn't be any issues with online ticketing. My guarantee to the client was this …

"I guarantee you that something is going to go wrong. That said, I also guarantee you when it goes wrong, I will be onsite to handle any issues promptly."

Sure enough, a significant issue arose onsite while scanning event attendees into the beer festival.

What happened?

A few hundred printed tickets had the same barcode. That meant that the first person scanned into the event without issue. After that, hundreds of "ticket already scanned" warning messages appeared on the ticket scanners.

Initially, the ticketing company insisted such a situation was impossible.

One poor guy who had one of the first duplicate barcodes was almost denied entry and he did nothing wrong! Add on top of that thousands of excited event patrons waiting to be scanned into the event. With the duplicate bar code issue, entry into the event slowed significantly. It was a real kick in the head!

Ultimately, I made good on my promise to my client. We created a quick on-site solution (in less than 5 minutes) and made all the affected patrons happy!

Back to the case of the Iowa caucus. It started with a simple coding issue. Usually, not a problem. That is until you add in the backup plan failing. After the backup plan failed, apparently there wasn't a well thought out plan. Then the chaos started, followed by a media firestorm!

When it comes to technology, especially with critical cogs like your event ticketing, prepare for the worst! Have a backup plan for your backup plan. Especially with onsite ticketing issues.

Do you have contingencies in place for when your on-site ticketing system goes down?

Play through a variety of scenarios. Such scenarios can be an online-only ticketing issue, ticket scanning issues, or a combination of both.

Also, have you practiced all your contingency plans?

Practice execution of all your backup plans with your team members. It's not enough to have a great backup plan or series of backup plans. I've seen some of the most magnificent backup plans fail, not because they weren't great, but because of an inability to execute the plan.

Be prepared and practice!

Check out the links below:

How to scare the pants off ad agencies & profit

Advertisers, ad agencies, ad sales reps and graphix designers don't want you to know the following ...

99% of them are terrified of direct response marketing (directly linking an advertisement or marketing piece to dollars in your bank account).


"Without data, you're just another person with an opinion." -W. Edwards Deming

If agencies or graphix designers are the ones doing the work and the results aren't where they need to be, quantifiable results hold them accountable. When you bother to measure: emotions, feelings, and opinions are judiciously set aside.

In many cases ad agencies and graphix designers don't want to measure the effectiveness of their advertising and marketing. This makes them very uncomfortable and it's to your advantage.

You need to have a system in place that ties in action to results. When you have data and results on your side, you can drive hard bargains with advertisers and marketers. It's the ultimate form of advertising negotiation.

Don't be afraid to ask agencies the questions and make them prove their worth. Using direct response marketing tools gives you that power!

When you know your numbers, you are in complete control of your advertising and marketing outcomes.

That means you can walk into a room and confidently state, "I know what advertising works and what doesn't, and exactly what I can afford to pay. Here's what I'm willing to invest in this and here is the expected result."

If you don't have your numbers down pat, get on it, and start negotiating the ad deals you deserve! And don't be shy in saying, "We only pay for results!"

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

(An on the fly) diversified event advertising portfolio

During a recent telephone conversation, a friend shared some unfortunate news about his business. My friend had been banned from advertising on Facebook.

When I asked, "what happened?" His response was, "we have no idea. Facebook just banned us from using its ad platform. There was absolutely no warning or notice!"

Even Facebook ad experts were perplexed. In one expert's opinion (someone who manages up to $30K USD of daily Facebook ad spend), "I can't see anything in their ads that get close to violating Facebook's policies."

As context. My friend has been advertising on Facebook for years. Last year alone, he spent over 150,000 USD on Facebook ads. Additionally, his business' Facebook page has 100,000+ page likes. The company's customer service and product reviews are nothing short of exemplary.

What happened above isn't limited to Facebook. It's happened on Google and numerous other advertising platforms. Often with little to no warning.

Just last year, an event client had their Google Ads turned off after missing a single obscure email. It took months and over 10 hours on the phone to restore their ads.

Yes, I am trying to scare you with the above stories. My hope is that you never get your ads banned. With that stated, allow me to ask you the following question. Much like investing, "do you have a diversified advertising and marketing portfolio?"

If you and your team haven't given the above question a few minutes of discussion, please reconsider. Be ready to diversify on the fly!

Fortunately, my friend, who was banned from advertising on Facebook, had advertising contingencies in place. As a result, he's still looking at the possibility of a new gross online revenue record.

Here are some additional event promotion tips on Facebook and using social media:


A one-shot super spend Sunday

If you watched the Super Bowl on Sunday, there is no doubt that you caught some of the commercials. Some companies paid up to $5.6 MM USD for a 30-second spot.

With the above said, if you had USD 6 million to spend on a 30-second Super Bowl ad that reached over 100 million people in one shot, would you do it?

To the best of my knowledge, there are no single Super Bowl commercials that have lead to a company to fame and long term fortune. Specifically, direct revenue dollars generated from a single advertisement.

If you're aware of a one-shot super successful Super Bowl ad, feel free to let me know.

Here's the direct opposite of a single 30-second advertisement to the masses ...

Last year, an outdoor event spread their advertising and marketing efforts over 576 touchpoints. Most of those promotion efforts were in the form of online campaigns. Ultimately, those 576 touchpoints lead to $6MM of ticket revenue.

If you're going to spend your hard-earned ad dollars, break up how and where you spend those dollars and cents.


Doing the opposite of everyone else

Years ago, I sent a struggling event organizer an overview of my marquee service. At the time, the organization ran a million-dollar-plus annual event and was almost bankrupt. To say that the future looked bleak was an understatement.

Here's an excerpt of marketing copy that evidently irritated my future client ...


Now I'm going to be candid with you. The "scammers" out there who promise people insane results annoy me to no end! The proven system you're about to learn IS NOT a magic pill. You WON'T become a millionaire overnight or sell out your event in 10 seconds. If you're looking for a last-minute miracle for your event - please look elsewhere.

Sorry to disappoint you ... but it's the truth. In short, you can get some extraordinary results, but you're going to have to work at it. But please remember, I'm here to help you each step of the way!

The system is specifically designed event organizers who want to be proactive and maximize their advance ticket sales, plus supercharge the effectiveness of their advertising campaign. What do I mean by pro-active?

In short, people who take the information they LEARN and put it into ACTION.

Again - Let me be VERY DIRECT here - if you or your team are NOT good at implementation and really good at second-guessing, this training IS NOT for you!

If you have a vendor, Board member, or team member who's going to second guess the recommendations and results of over $11,000,000 of event tickets sales, this program is NOT for your show. Some people would classify that as egotistical and I'm ok with that.

To be brutally honest, I have ZERO TOLERANCE for people with lots of opinions and ZERO experience or quantifiable results. That said, I'm happy to learn from people who have produced similar results.

Also, this isn't a magic bullet or some B.S. "get rich quick" scheme. What you will learn takes time and dedication. You'll need to stick with the course outline and take action steps. The good news is that I'm here to guide you on each step of the journey.


After reading through my materials and a few telephone calls, some people within the organization classified me as an "egotistical lecturous a-hole who talks too much." (At least one part of the previous description is spot on!)

I'm not sure if it was an act of desperation or reluctance, but the organization signed on as a client.

It is with great elation to report that the client has turned their fortunes around! They now have a robust six-figure reserve in their bank account. Yes, there is still work to be done and it's not all peaches and cream.

If there is one powerful (seemingly over simplistic) quote to sum up the client's journey, it is this:

"Watch what everyone else does – do the opposite. The majority is always wrong." -Earl Nightingale

To the client's credit, they embarked on a journey that involved radically changing the pricing, marketing, and advertising of their event. All things they were extremely reluctant to do when they were broke.

When faced with financial desperation, dare to be different! When it comes to marketing and advertising your event, look at what other event organizers are doing and "do the opposite!"

"Facebox" just banned your page, now what

During initial marketing assessments, Facebook is usually one of the first topics mentioned by new clients.

A favorite point of event organizer braggadocio is touting one's Facebook followers or page likes. It goes like this: "We have over X number of followers on our Facebook page!" In some cases over 40,000 Facebook followers.

What gets muddled in the details of marketing is who owns what. Specifically, your Facebook followers or people who like your event page.

My question to event organizers is this, "have you ever tried to download a list of people who follow your Facebook page?"

If your ever bored, take a look at Facebook's terms of service. I'm no attorney, but last time I checked, your "followers" don't belong to you. They belong to Facebook.

This information is not being shared to depress you. It's to get you to think.

Specifically, what are you going to do if your Facebook page gets taken down or is no longer available to you? When asked the previous question, most event organizers respond with, "we never thought of that!"

The question above doesn't apply to just Facebook. It includes social media platforms such as Instagram (owned by Facebook), Pinterest, Snapchat, Twitter, TikTok, etc. Each of the service providers just listed own the platform and "your" followers, page likes, etc.

Be different and be proactive!

Make sure you're taking steps to build and collect your own permission-based datasets. Especially when it comes to event attendee data. That said, if you're going to collect data, do so ethically and with the highest of privacy standards in place.

Owning your own data set is one of the best ways to ensure the success of your event today and in the future.

Playing the Game Differently
If you want to leverage social media, you have to play the game differently. What follows are the most common social media marketing mistakes to avoid and simple corrections you can use. The suggestions apply to any social media platform. Click below and dive on in to the 5-Part Social Media Series:

  1. Putting Your Social Media Mindset Ahead of Theirs

  2. Focusing Too Much on Likes & Followers

  3. Trying to Engage on Too Many Social Media Platforms

  4. Avoiding Paid Social Media Advertising

  5. Not Measuring the Results of Your Hard Work

Opening your event tickets like Christmas presents

In 2018, I found myself in Antwerp, Belgium for a speaking engagement. During a small group coaching session, I was asked if I had heard of Tomorrowland.

My initial response was, "As in Disney's Tomorrowland? The movie and theme park area?" No, the Tomorrowland in question had nothing to do with Disney.

Tomorrowland is an International electronic dance music festival. It takes place in the town of Boom, Belgium. Ironically enough, Boom, Belgium is only about a 30-minute drive south of where I was presenting in Antwerp.

After finishing my Belgian speaking engagement, I returned to the United States and took a careful look into Tomorrowland. To say the least, it's an extraordinary event. Even if you hate electronic dance music.

During my research I discovered the following video link:

The link above is a reaction video with a woman who was able to secure highly coveted Tomorrowland tickets.

The video has been shared with all my clients and with the following question. "When people receive tickets to your event, do any of them react similarly?" Then, go post a video on YouTube about it!

To be fair, not everyone is going to react like it's Christmas morning and you just received the gift you've dreamt about for years.

If you look on YouTube you'll find tens of thousands of Tomorrowland videos. A Google video search showed 1,070 results for "Tomorrowland ticket unboxing".

Put directly, Tomorrowland is an event every serious event organizer should research. Any event organizer could learn a lot from an outdoor event that sells over 200,000 tickets in less than 43 minutes.

There are also plenty of lessons on creating an extraordinary event experience, from ticket buy through the event. Be sure to check out the video link above and take a careful look at Tomorrowland. There is at least one good money making idea waiting for you.

Additional Event Promotion Resources
Below are some additional email event marketing articles on how you can be a great email marketer for your next event ...


Are you just jealous or really hungry to learn?

With the days that have passed, I reflect on a few nuggets of event wisdom. Specifically, last month's observations at an international conference of event organizers.

If you haven't had an opportunity, please go back and read the "Can I buy you a drink?" post or email for context.

This year was the first year I did not have a trade show booth at an industry conference. Not having an exhibit allowed me to take in the conference in a whole new way.

In short, when you're not focused on trying to book business at your booth, you are far more aware of the subtleties around you.

One of my biggest conference takeaways is a question for every event organizer, "what's your approach to other event organizers who are far more successful than you?"

My reason for bringing up how event organizers react to the success of others tends to be very telling.

There are usually two distinct responses. This isn't absolute and I'm sure there are exceptions, but for the most part... those who are jealous of the success of others aren't doing as well as they could.

On the positive side, those who recognize the success of others and carefully study event success are far more likely to have successful events. It could be as simple as ethically borrowing and implementing one great idea.

I'm curious, "what's your approach to other event organizers who are far more successful than you?" Drop me a line and let me know.

Here are some additional nuggets of event planning advice:

A crazy question with massive mileage

Years ago, I was out to dinner with the Chairman of the Board for a client.

At the time, I asked a question to our restaurant waiter that the Chairman found to be unique. The next time I met with the client's Chairman he said to me, "Eugene I've been using your crazy question when my wife and I go out and the stories have been non-stop entertainment, thank you!"

With the new year and new opportunities upon us, we find ourselves in the company of others. Allow me to share a simple question that is anything but boring. The "question" also has a fantastic ability to bring out the best and most humorous responses.

Here's my crazy question (and variation).

If with family and friends:

"What's the most interesting thing you've done since we last spoke?"

If you're out and about at a restaurant (used by the Chairman when out to dinner with his wife):

"What's the most interesting thing that's happened to you while working here?"

I immediately follow up the question with, "please share something funny or interesting, nothing depressing." This helps eliminate 99% of negative responses. Also, you'll have to gauge the personality of the person you're talking to.

In the last 15 years I've used the question(s) above hundreds of times and not a single person has refused to answer. Even better, most of the answers are surprising, inspiring, and laugh out loud hilarious.

In today's non-stop world of tech, something as simple as sharing a story can brighten someone else's day and yours. Give it a whirl and let me know how it works.

Beware event convention hucksters and charlatans

In the world of business, dollars mean the difference between success and bankruptcy. This axiom is universal and applicable to every business and event. Put bluntly, if you can't pay your bills, you are out of business.

My issue with too many (not all) people who give marketing advice and presentations at industry conventions is their use of vanity metrics, backed up with unqualified opinions.

e.g. "Look at how many people are using social media. Here are the global stats. Therefore, you must use social media!"

My rub with vanity metrics is it's a lazy way of playing the "trusted advisor" game. For too many events, social media accounts for less than 5% of their total ticket revenue. This is not my opinion, it's what the data clearly shows.

And the above critique is not limited to the social media acolytes.

I'm an equal opportunity discriminator. Either what your doing can directly be tracked to dollars or not. There is no partial credit.

Just last month, I was at an air show convention in Las Vegas. There, a panel of "experts" were espousing the dos and don'ts of event website design.

One of the panelists, an award-winning owner of a prestigious marketing agency said, "don't do (X) on your website because it annoys people."

If that same opinionated panelist took the time to look at data, they wouldn't make such ignorant statements.

Case and point. One client did the annoying (X) with little cost in terms of time and money. That same client sold nearly a thousand tickets to their event. Total cost, about $250 USD and 30 minutes of the client's time. All with zero complaints from event attendees!

"How much would you pay to sell 1,000 tickets to your next event?"

Instead of me being all angry pants on people, let me give you a simple tool for your marketing toolbox. The next time you find yourself at a convention or seminar on marketing. Ask the following question of the presenter:

"Can you share any case studies or hard data supporting your specific recommendation?"

One important note on the above. Regardless of my disapproval of most marketers and advertisers, my goal isn't to publicly embarrass anyone. So, I would encourage you to wait and ask the question above in private.

Use the question above and let me know how it turns out.

And in case you're wondering, I welcome your questions regarding any of my recommendations.

Want more event promotion advice? Check out the articles below:

Trying to rescue cats that can't be found

If you can keep a secret, read on ... (If not, no worries, catch ya tomorrow!)

In my sparsely spare time, I help my lady rescue abandon and outdoor felines. It's everyone's hope that engaging in such activity would assist me in being a more compassionate human. We'll see what happens.

Today's cat rescue adventure involved driving to a local pet store to check in on the kittens my lady rescued from the city streets of Rochester. According to the rescue organization's most recent Facebook post and associated comments, the event was to be held today from 1200h-1400h.

Upon arriving at the pet store, we headed to the back of the store where all the rescued furballs can be found. Usually, there are a bunch of happy people and cute fur babies on display for adoption.

You can pick the cats up, cuddle, nuzzle, and see if their purr-motor works (some do not). Today there was nothing. No cats in need of rescue or helpful humans from the rescue organization.

After scratching our heads for a few moments, my lady double-checked the Facebook post and we indeed were at the right place at the right time. There were even a bunch of supportive comments on the post announcing today's event.

We proceeded to the front of the pet store to inquire on the event. That's when we spoke with Jen, a pet store employee.

In short Jen told us, "a bunch of interested people showed up and nobody from the adoption agency is here. No call, no show!" You could tell Jen was annoyed and for a good reason.

Why am I telling you the story above?

Because if something unexpected happens with your event, where are people going to find an update? Are they going to Facebook, Twitter, or your event website? Maybe you're going to send a text message or email. Perhaps it's all the above. (And it should be.)

Just imagine if someone showed up to your event and nothing was going on and nobody to be found. It's frustrating to say the least and a waste of people's time.

The above story is an example of how not effectively updating people wanting to attend your event can damage the reputation of your event and your organization.

If people lose faith in your organization, are they going to spend their hard-earned money to support your cause? Probably not.

Regardless of how big or small your event, please make sure you have a contingency and communication plan in place ready to go a moment's notice. It doesn't always have to be complicated.

With the cat rescue event above, a simple update to the organization's Facebook post would have helped.

From Woodstock to Tomorrowland (Belgium)

Recently, I encouraged subscribers to watch a YouTube video on the unboxing of event tickets. The tickets were for an event called Tomorrowland.

Even if you have zero interest in music festivals, I encourage you to take a more in-depth look into Tomorrowland (Belgium). So, I'm going to hit the "easy button" for you.

What started in 2005 with a few thousand people, has exploded into a two-weekend event that sells over 350,000 tickets in less than 45 minutes. Tomorrowland sells out almost 4 months before a single person walks in the front gate. Conservative estimates put their event ticket revenue at around 75 million Euro.

You might not be able to sell out 350,000 tickets to your event. But, imagine what it would feel like if you could sell out your event 4 months in advance! That means cash money in your bank account and the ability to focus on executing a great event.

One of the biggest reasons for Tomorrowland's incredible growth has been the organizer's focus on the attendee experience. The production quality is in a word extraordinary.

Below are two videos that give you a behind the scenes look and overall feel for Tomorrowland. Give them a click!

CNBC International – Tomorrowland Feature:

Tomorrowland Official 2019 Aftermovie (note: 23 minutes in length & contains adult language):

While watching the videos above, I encourage you to ask yourself, "what ideas can I ethically borrow for my event?" There's at least one proven idea waiting for you!

Here are some additional event planning links and suggestions:

"Goats in Trees" and "Underwater Dogs"

In 2018, I found myself in a fascinating discussion with a European event organizer.

During a marketing seminar, the topic of email marketing was broached. Specifically, the number of marketing emails you should send for your event.

So I asked, "how many emails would you feel comfortable sending?"

The gentleman's response, "around 5 to 10 emails."

To which I replied, "how about sending 20 to 30 emails?" His answer was a firm, "No."

Because the event organizer was a good sport, I decided to dig a little deeper. So I asked, "why wouldn't you want to send more than 5 to 10 emails?"

Because, in their personal opinion, they consider sending too many marketing emails "spam."

This is a prime example of applying one's personal beliefs to an entire target market. During our debate about email frequency, one of the event organizer's team members chimed in ...

The team member mentioned an event in the United Kingdom. That event sent, "an email almost every day and sold out months in advance." Am I saying you should email every day? No. There is something much more important at play.

This "email frequency" story illustrates the importance of not applying one's personal bias (team bias, or Board bias) to your target market.

Why "goats in trees"? Because while walking around and waiting for a booklet to print at an office supply store, I found a "Goats in Trees" calendar. My initial reaction was one of disbelief. "Nobody's going to buy that!" But sure enough, there it was a full-color calendar of goats in trees. Next to the goat's calendar, "underwater dogs!"

A simple Google search will show you there is an entire line of books, t-shirts, puzzles, and coffee mugs dedicated to "goats in trees." Apparently, they've been selling "goats in trees" calendars since at least 2010.

Please remember. Just because you believe or are put off by something, doesn't mean your target market feels the same way. In some cases, the people who you are trying to appeal to might have an entirely opposite belief than your own. And that's an opportunity cost for your business or event!

Additional Email Event Marketing Resources
Below are some additional email event marketing articles on how you can be a great email marketer for your next event ...