8 Top Marketing Strategies for an Event Management Company
Event management involves a huge range of different tasks, from creative brainstorming to logistical planning.
Event marketing is another task that falls under this umbrella of responsibilities, requiring organisers to strategise the best way to promote their event, establish a positive reputation and manage a good relationship with their attendees.
There’s plenty of generic advice out there on the best ways to market an event. But in this article, we share 8 of the best marketing strategies for event management companies to help you take your marketing effort to the next level.
In this article:
What is Event Marketing?
Event marketing is a marketing technique that advertises a brand, service or product through the facilitation of events or experiences. These events may take place in-person or virtually and offer a much more engaging way for potential customers to interact with a brand and its representatives.
As well as being a marketing technique itself, event marketing is also a term that is used to describe the way that an event is marketed to attract attendees and promote the experience.
Why is Event Marketing Important?
Event marketing is a very important marketing approach for many organisations because it allows them to speak and interact with potential customers directly, which increases the likelihood of conversion. Events are also a great way to stand out from competitors and generate press coverage which can increase brand awareness and improve brand reputation.
At a time when so many things are accessible instantly and anywhere, event marketing is making a comeback as customers seek the novelty of an in-person (or virtual) event that offers a unique experience unavailable anywhere else. Brands need to consider offering events as a marketing strategy to capitalise on this interest and also to create opportunities for networking and potential business partnerships, as well as increased sales.
What is B2B Event Marketing?
B2B (business to business) event marketing is a specific kind of event marketing that promotes the service or product that one business offers to another. Whilst B2C events tend to focus on creating enjoyable customer experiences and improving brand awareness and image, B2B events have more of an emphasis on networking opportunities and lead generation, which may either lead to partnerships or sales.
The interactions facilitated by B2B events allow for businesses to share advice, insight and information about their work and the industry, which benefits everyone involved through forming relationships, solving problems and boosting brands’ reputations as industry thought leaders.
These events can also be a useful way for businesses to get an idea of who their competitors are and what they offer, giving an idea of what could be done to grow to their level or stand out in comparison to their offering.
8 Event Management Marketing Strategies
Event management companies ideate and oversee all kinds of B2B and B2C events, and many will also be involved in marketing these events to ensure that attendance is high. Here are eight of the best strategies for event planning companies to use when organising and promoting events to generate plenty of interest and offer the best possible experience.
Create Target Audience Personas
First things first - to understand how best to market your event, you need to know who you’re actually marketing to. Doing target audience research is always a good place to start when developing a marketing strategy, but the best way to consolidate this research is by creating audience personas.
A target audience persona is a kind of fictional profile for the kinds of people your event is aimed at. In most cases, you’ll have at least two or three different personas within your target audience, although some brands may target more if their event is large or their offering caters to all kinds of people.
Each persona should contain useful information about the demographic they belong to, with details such as:
- Identity (gender, sexuality, religion)
- Common pain points
- What they are looking for from an event
You can then use this information to tailor different marketing efforts to these different personas, which allows for much more targeted approaches and usually more efficient results.
Plan with your Metrics in Mind
Every aspect of an effective marketing strategy should be working towards a specific business goal. If you’re planning an event, it should be with the intention of making progress towards one of your wider goals, which is why planning with metrics in mind leads to more successful event marketing.
For example, one of your organisation’s goals for the year is to receive coverage in at least ten different industry publications. You should therefore plan an event that is tailored towards getting featured in one of these publications, ensure that you invite people from the publications and put together press packs before the event to make coverage as simple as possible to acquire.
A B2B example might be that you have a target of developing at least three partnerships with other businesses in the industry within 12 months. You should therefore plan your event with time specifically carved out for networking, as well as inviting potential partners to attend and preparing a pitch beforehand if a conversation is going in the right direction.
Map and Refine the Attendee Journey
We’ve already talked about how the experience of attending an event and the exclusivity that this might involve is one of the biggest draws. But this experience begins and ends way before and after the occasion itself, and a really successful marketing strategy in the events industry makes the most of this entire attendee journey to capitalise on as much interaction as possible.
Mapping out an attendee journey is the best way to ensure you’re helping to build anticipation, establish your brand identity and provide an outstanding experience from start to finish. Once you understand where you can make contact with potential attendees, you can use different marketing approaches at each stage to generate as much interaction as possible.
Consider how a potential attendee might hear about your event initially, and what might be needed to encourage them to sign up. This might involve paid social media advertising, coverage in industry publications, testimonials from previous attendees, or maybe an opt-in on your website with a lead magnet that lets you advertise the event to people who have given you their contact information.
Once an attendee has signed up for your event, think about the ways you can get them excited about the experience, from sharing teasers of what’s to come to advising on how best to prepare. You can also use this stage of the journey to give them more information about the origins of the event, using a storytelling approach to add a personal edge to this background and make it more engaging.
During the event itself, you’ll have plenty of different opportunities to interact with attendees and ensure that they’re having a positive experience. Also consider how you might extend the experience after the event by offering access to information that was shared on the day, sending out a survey or helping attendees keep in touch with each other.
Map out the entire attendee journey, decide what it is you’re trying to target at each stage, and then come up with several ideas for how you’re going to approach each of these.
Prioritise Inbound Techniques
Inbound marketing is an approach to marketing that focuses on generating interest by building a positive reputation that will appeal to your target audience. Instead of going out and pushing marketing material on people that may not be interested, inbound techniques revolve around offering valuable content and services that your target audience will find useful and increasing awareness by strengthening your brand image.
In event planning and management, using inbound marketing techniques involves creating content that your target audience is going to be interested in. This won’t be explicitly promoting your event, but instead talking about a related topic that may encourage the reader to find out more about the event.
Inbound marketing also involves nurturing the relationships you have with existing or previous attendees with the hope that they’ll recommend your events to others. This may involve giving them exclusive or early access to things, free perks or just ensuring you offer outstanding customer service.
Generate Excitement with Email Marketing
We’ve already touched upon how attendee experience begins far before the actual event, and email marketing is one of the best approaches to use for this. Sending emails involves the same short, easy-to-consume content you’ll find on social media, but sending it directly to attendees makes this feel more exclusive and also means you can tailor the content based on your recipient’s interests.
The best way for event management companies to use email marketing is to set up an automated email sequence that goes out to everyone who registers for their event.
This might involve:
- A welcome email confirming their attendance
- Information about what the event is going to involve
- Background information about the event and its purpose
- Guidance on anything attendees might need to do or know before the event
- Stories or content related to the industry the event is part of
By sending regular emails before an event takes place, you start to build more of a relationship with your attendees and keep the event at the front of their minds. This helps to generate excitement and creates an experience right from the moment that someone registers their attendance.
Attend Industry Events to Network
Yes, you read that right: a great marketing method for corporate event organisers is to attend other industry events and make the most out of networking opportunities. You can guarantee that the other attendees are likely to be interested in your event, which makes promoting it easier, and is also a great way to get your name out there and start to generate more recognition.
Events like IBTM World are a great choice for event management companies as they are specifically tailored to event planners. Not only can you promote your event, but you’ll be able to connect with all kinds of other businesses and professionals that can help improve your event offering and spark new ideas for unforgettable experiences.
Encourage Post-Event Feedback
Part of a successful marketing strategy is continually monitoring and measuring your success and refining your offering based on this. One of the simplest ways to get a clear idea of what you could do better is simply to ask your audience, which is why we recommend encouraging post-event feedback from your attendees.
Not only does this extend the experience after the main event has ended, but it provides an incredibly valuable review of how enjoyable and successful your event was. By asking attendees what you could do better, be that with your communication, your marketing of the event or the organisation of the event itself, you’ll end up with a clear list of things to start improving.
You can take this a step further in your marketing strategy by advertising the fact that you ask your attendees for feedback and then giving specific examples of the changes you’ve made based on this. Not only does this provide a great angle for promoting features of your event, but it also demonstrates a commitment to improvement and shows attendees that you care about their experience.
Create Exclusive Spaces for Attendees
The more benefits you can offer to event attendees, the more appealing your event is going to seem. A great idea for a benefit is giving all attendees access to a virtual space or creating a community to facilitate networking and discussion, which you can then advertise as another feature of your event.
Creating spaces or communities - either online or in-person - where attendees can network and be given access to exclusive content is a great incentive to attend and helps the experience extend beyond the organised event. Making attendees part of a community also helps to strengthen your relationship with them, leading to increased brand loyalty and a higher chance that they’ll attend other events in the future.
The majority of event organisers are already familiar with plenty of basic marketing approaches, from social media advertising to search engine optimisation and promotional images or videos. But the above advice has been chosen for its particular suitability for event marketing, and we strongly recommend you add at least one of the suggested techniques to your next event marketing strategy.
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