Your event is well-organized, will provide value to the attendees and you believe that it’s the best out there. However, if no one attends that event, then your time, effort, and money are wasted. Bearing that in mind, every event manager should consider creating an event marketing plan to make their event a success and reach out to potential attendees.
But what is an event marketing plan?
In simple words, an event marketing plan is an outlined process of how you’ll acquire leads, reach out to them and finally convert them. However, every plan has its own goals, and objectives. For instance, your goal can be selling tickets to the event, or it can be raising brand awareness about your event management company. Whatever the business goals you want to attain — we’ll walk you through the most efficient way of creating an event marketing plan.
How to set up an event marketing plan
First, you should know that event marketing has different aspects and you’re free to judge on which you can count on, and which you should ignore. That said, we’ll explain what are the most important factors in your marketing plan.
A value proposition in event marketing is the added value that you’ll promise your event attendees. It’s the statement that has all information about what you’re selling to your targeted customers. Your events’ value proposition should reflect the entire value proposition of your event management company.
However, when defining your value proposition, you should be able to ask the right questions and dig deep into what you’re exactly providing. For example, how will your event help the attendees, and what problem will it solve for them? Furthermore, how is it any different from your competitors’ value proposition?
When writing your value proposition statement, you should consider what are your clients’ fears, wants, and needs. This includes the benefits and features that differentiate your event from the rest.
Your event marketing plan will rely heavily on trying to sell that value proposition and if not done well, your marketing plan will be of no use.
Although many event managers have an established targeted segment for their business — the process of defining the targeted customers for a particular event isn’t. In event management, you can have different types of events for different purposes. Consequently, you’ll have to limit the broad market into a more specific one.
For instance, some events target women. But, what type of women?
What’s their income, and interests and how does the value proposition of the event relate to them?
Asking these questions will enable us to define the perfect client who’ll have the highest conversion rate ratio. Additionally, it will save you the time and money of targeting the wrong segment that will end up ignoring your marketing efforts.
The process of narrowing the targeted segment is called market segmentation. It includes setting a goal for each segment; since not all targeted customers will have the same goals. For instance, some potential customers can be interested in a one-time event, whereas other customers can turn into loyal long-term customers that will provide your management company with recurring revenue.
Each segment will serve your revenue stream in different ways and narrowing down the list of targeted customers will help you do that.
Event marketing plan goals
Events come in different shapes and forms, and so do event marketing goals. To properly set-up your marketing goals, you should first know about the different marketing frameworks that you can use.
One popular framework is SMART — a mnemonic for different characteristics of each marketing goal. It stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely goals. This framework allows you to make focused and in-depth goals. Take for example one popular objective in every marketing plan — selling tickets. To be able to sell tickets, don’t assume that selling tickets is a goal.
However, selling 200 tickets for example is more Specific, since defining how many tickets should be sold will enable you to follow Metrics. Additionally, the goal will be Attainable and Realistic and you can set a time for it; say 20 ticket sales per day for 10 days period, so it becomes Timely.
Market segmentation is one aspect of market research. Although the two are tied together, market research is much broader. In market research, you’ll take into consideration the demographics, socioeconomic and psychographics. Market research involves segmenting the market into these three categories.
Demographics include information about the age, gender, income, and marital status of your targeted segment. Whereas, psychographics focuses more on the consumer behavior of that demographics group. Your psychographics research about a specific target segment will study their lifestyle and hobbies.
This will allow you to communicate better with your client, and adapt your value proposition message to their language and lifestyle. Meanwhile, socioeconomic gathers both the demographics and sociographic groups to define if they’ll be able to afford your event’s ticket for example.
The process of researching the market and collecting data about consumer behavior and interests consists of four steps.
First, you can run surveys and collect data directly from the market. Second, you can conduct interviews, that will enable you to get answers to your unanswered questions.
Then, you can make focus groups and develop an even better understanding of the clients, this however if not done well can harm your event marketing plan. Finally, you should observe the actions and the behavior of targeted customers in similar events.
Nevertheless, market research isn’t only about studying your customers’ behavior. It also involves studying the competition and making a competition profile to better know where you’re losing potential event attendees.
Studying competition or competitive analysis is a strategy that event managers follow to define the weaknesses and strengths of their competitors. After identifying competitors, you can then segment them into groups. The list can consist of highly competitive competitors to the less competitive.
Since you’re losing your potential clients to other event organizers then the problem is probably your marketing. If, however, you want to close the gap in your event management marketing plan, then you’ll have to see what your competitors are doing better than you.
Is their way of showcasing an event or promoting more efficient than yours? Or, is the value proposition of your competitions better than yours? It can simply be that their website is more attractive. Following metrics and collecting data about your clients and then comparing it to your competitors’ profiles will enable you to tell where the problem is.
One smart way of studying your competitors’ weaknesses is through reviews. Simply reading reviews online about your competitors will enable you to know what event attendees are looking for. Whereas, positive reviews will allow you to further develop your event marketing plan. Furthermore, running a competitive analysis will allow you to better understand your value proposition.
In conclusion, your event management plan is the one place where you’ll gather all your metrics, data, and information. The data will be used to know more about your customers, competitors, and your event. Each component of your event marketing plan is tied to one another in some way. That being said, you should fill as many gaps as possible in your plan to attain more goals and make your event the success it deserves to be.