If you’re trying to connect with your audience, you have a number of options when it comes to traditional and non-traditional marketing. Sure, you could take the safe route, hiding behind your computer or phone and sending out emails or making cold phone calls. While this will get your message out there, it may not compel your audience to act (after all, what’s in it for them?). Why not meet your audience where they are, instead, face-to-face, with event marketing?
We won’t preach to the choir: you’re probably already hosting a few events, and you likely know the value. And, sure, sometimes it makes sense for you to do just one or minimal events, but have you ever thought about broadening your event offerings to support your organizational goals? That is, holding more events to help you meet the different KPIs that have been set out.
Why event marketing?
- Make a softer sell: Rather than directly shouting your message at consumers in the way that you might in emails or cold calls, event marketing represents a softer sell. Not only do audiences leave having had a good experience but, done properly, they also feel like they’ve been able to contribute something. They’ve gotten something out of an experience, and bonded with their peers. Can the same be said of a cold email?
- Convey holistic messaging: Instead of sending a one-off message that a customer can archive or delete, event marketing gives you an opportunity to reach out to customers throughout the event lifecycle. You can embody your messaging in many facets of your event, from tailored invitations to a robust event calendar listing to on to the theme and content of the event itself. Even post-event surveys and correspondence can be tailored to drive home your important brand messaging. This way, consumers will absorb your messaging at many different points, giving it more of a chance to sink in.
- Connect emotionally: Ever wish you could tap into things like sentimentality and emotion in your marketing? Events allow you to engage your audience on a deeper level, all while making them feel included and valued. There’s a reason Apple and its ilk chooses to use exclusive events to launch their new products rather than a traditional press release; the shared sense of community sparks excitement about the product, brand, and experience itself, and that’s something that can’t be matched with traditional marketing copy.
- Promote brand awareness: As mentioned, event marketing also allows you to foster brand recognition and awareness in a subtle way that doesn’t leave your audience with a bad impression. For example, 74 percent of attendees have a more positive perception of an organization after an event, and 96 percent of consumers who have a great experience at an event will be more inclined to purchase.
- Address concerns: Events allow you to have a wider and more extensive dialogue with your stakeholders. Have they emailed concerns? Asked questions over the phone? Submitted product surveys with suggested modifications? Why not use an experiential approach to address these issues, hosting events online or in person and letting them know that their concerns are heard?
The benefits of event marketing are clear. Ready to tackle it for yourself? Here are five simple ways that your organization can get started hosting more events:
- Series: You don’t need to fit every topic into one event. Instead, consider creating a series of events that tie together with a common theme or plan. Not only will your attendees get more out of it, because they’ll have more time and energy to tackle each section, but you’ll be able to dive deeper into each topic and make sure everyone’s walking away satisfied.
- Offline and online: Your events are likely in-person, but they don’t need to stay that way. Have you ever thought about digital event extensions? Consider digital and in-person offerings — both have their pros and both will allow you to reach different audiences. You might even consider having an online component for a traditionally offline event, marrying the two topics to educate different attendees on the same theme. Make the most of your hard work and effort and use that content twice!
- Inter-departmental: Events don’t exist in a vacuum and neither does your department. Consider coordinating with other departments in your organization to see if it makes sense for you to go in on the creation and management of an event together. In this case, your teams could partner up to create a new event from scratch that addresses concerns and interests you’re both hearing OR you could sign on as a sponsor or coordinator for a pre-existing event, if it helps fulfill your KPIs. The options are practically endless — ask around and see what else is happening in your organization already. You may be surprised!
- Partners: You could also work with partners outside of your organization to co-create events. Similarly to the inter-organizational partnerships, this is a good time to create them from scratch, taking care to balance both corporate and audience interests. It’s also a great time to sign on as a sponsor or partner and help do some of the heavy lifting. Your partner organization will thank you for it, and those brand awareness and softer sell benefits we mentioned earlier will still be there.
- Customer-led: What if, instead of the traditional host-led event, you flipped the script and had customers lead? This is a great way to start to create a sense of community among your audience, making them feel like they’re not only valued and important but also like their input matters when it comes to your brand. You don’t have to look far for topics – surveys, emails and the like will tell you where customer interests lie. Talk to some standouts and get started on your first customer-led event today.
Work to implement one or more of these strategies, and you’ll increase your event output in no time. And more events means more customers served, and more opportunities to hit your brand goals and drive home your key messages. Good luck!