Every event professional understands that events are a form of marketing – especially in a B2B and B2C world. A Splash study shows that it might be the most powerful tool in the marketer’s arsenal! Like any other marketing effort, events need a comprehensive event marketing strategy to get the best results. What does it entail? There is no one-size-all approach in a world of diverse and versatile events.
In this blog post, we explain what an event marketing strategy entails and explore various event marketing strategies, from the traditional singular annual events to the boundary-pushing community model.
WHAT IS EVENT MARKETING?
Event marketing is a type of marketing that leverages the power of human connection and experience to reach a pre-established set of goals. Organizations can entertain, educate, inspire, sell, or do all of the above simultaneously. Organizations use event marketing to:
- Promote the brand to a larger audience
- Establish themselves as thought leaders in their industry
- Build trust and loyalty among existing customers
- Get data insights into their target audience
- Increase their conversion rate
Hubspot’s INBOUND is an excellent example of event marketing. It has become one of the world’s largest marketing conferences. Its loyal attendees come year after year, enjoying space to meet and network, and learn about the newest technologies and innovations. After the event, they put all their content online on demand. Hubspot achieves all of the bullet points above.
3 EVENT MARKETING STRATEGY TYPES
There’s no one marketing strategy to fit all events. But based on the most recent marketing and event trends, we can categorize them into three broad types:
- Singular annual event strategy
- Multi-event strategy
- Community model strategy
Most businesses have always sworn by planning singular annual events. But in 2020, the pandemic forced us to take our events online.
While the worst of the pandemic is (hopefully) behind us, the changes within the events industry remained. Event marketers have started dipping their toes in community marketing, leaving the logic of one-off events behind.
Planning Singular Annual Events
Many organizations plan one big in-person event or conference yearly and put all their efforts and budget into it. After all, such events often take 8-12 months to plan and require tremendous effort and coordination.
Once the event is over, event professionals consider their jobs done. But by doing so, they lose an opportunity to market to freshly-inspired attendees who, if they had a positive experience at the event, feel far closer to your brand or organization than before.
In a digitalized world, planning singular annual events is becoming an outdated approach. Instead, event management companies are encouraging event professionals to reframe their approach to a multi-event strategy.
Multi-Event Marketing Strategy
As the name suggests, a multi-event marketing strategy broadens its focus to more than just one event. For example, you can engage your attendees after the big annual in-person events with follow-up virtual meet-ups and hybrid events. Let attendees know what’s coming next while they’re at the event. Sell to them while they’re enjoying the event experience.
A multi-event strategy means taking the entire event budget and distributing it among multiple events. You can define goals based on the event type. This approach encourages event marketers to pay more attention to brand storytelling. All events should reflect the values and have a common thread to strengthen brand loyalty.
Community Model Marketing Strategy
The community model is where the lines between event and community marketing begin to blur. After all, events are the meeting point of communities and strengthen community members’ bonds. However, events alone won’t hold a community together. Event marketers understand that their community members need to have a chance to interact with their brand year-round, and that’s where event platforms come into play.
Event platforms and other online platforms are a great way to connect with your community at any place, any time. They offer infinite space where members can talk and learn. In return, you gather feedback and get to know them even better. And as outlined above, feedback helps immensely when building your event marketing strategy. Additionally, you can host webinars, virtual events, and giveaways or create ambassador programs tailored to their wants, needs, and interests.
BUILDING AN EVENT MARKETING STRATEGY
Whether building a community or planning one annual event, event professionals must develop a comprehensive event marketing strategy. And since events come in various formats (in-person, virtual, hybrid) and have different goals, budgets, sizes, and attendees, each event needs a unique marketing strategy.
Unfortunately, event profs can’t simply use a one-size-fits-all event marketing strategy template. However, they can consider the following guidelines when building their next event marketing strategy.
Understand Your Event
Start building your event marketing plan by clearly defining your event. The more effort you put into this step, the better your event will be and the less stress event planning will cause your team.
Here’s what you need to define to get started with your event marketing strategy:
- Learn as much as you can about your target audience and create attendee personas.
- Define your event goals and KPIs. Follow the SMART goals tool and decide your criteria for event success.
- Create a comprehensive event timeline for all planning aspects: operations, marketing, designers, and vendors.
- Decide your marketing channels to promote your event: social media, email marketing, podcasts, blogs, ads, etc.
- Choose the best way to deliver your content.
- Understand how your event falls into your overarching business or marketing strategy.
Promote Your Event
Next up, you need to strategize how you’ll promote your event. Create a marketing timeline and make a separate section for each marketing channel. These may include:
- Social media
- Paid search
- Press release
- Website (B2B blog)
That way, you’ll ensure you’re posting quality content on time and anticipate upcoming posts.
If you’re following the community model, you’ll also greatly benefit from an overarching marketing timeline that maps out your multiple events and other brand activations.
Use Data to Measure Event Marketing Success
Event success used to be hard to measure as it was nearly impossible to gather quantitative data about our attendees. But thanks to event technology solutions, such as event apps and platforms, that has changed. Event marketers can now get an unprecedented amount of data insights into their events.
Data helps event marketers:
- Understand their target audience better
- Prove the value of event marketing to decision-makers
- Negotiate higher budgets for upcoming events
- Develop a future event marketing strategy
Post-Event Considerations: Content & Feedback
A great event marketing strategy stretches beyond the conclusion of your event. Two major areas of consideration are content and gathering feedback.
First, make sure you have a plan for your content. Answer the following questions:
- What content did you record?
- How and through which distribution channels will you distribute that content?
- Will you offer sessions on-demand?
- Will you highlight user-generated content? How?
Secondly, make sure you gather feedback from attendees, sponsors, exhibitors, and other event stakeholders. That feedback is invaluable because it’s your guide for developing your future event marketing strategy. And finally, think of your event marketing plan as a living, dynamic tool. Don’t be afraid to tweak or update it to suit your target audience better as you receive attendee feedback.
BUILD YOUR EVENT MARKETING STRATEGY WITH ENDLESS EVENTS
Events hold immense marketing power because they’re experiences centered around your brand. The less is left to chance, the better. Experienced event professionals understand that to measure and reach event success; they must build a solid event marketing strategy.
In this blog post, we’ve divided event marketing strategies into three broad groups and elaborated on some basic guidelines for crafting an event marketing strategy for your next event. However, no two events are the same. Let your audience and your brand story be your trusted guides.
Not sure where to start? We have your back. Endless Events is an event management company that helps companies leverage the power of event marketing and reach their business goals. If you’re looking for a trusted event partner, look no further. Reach out to us, and we’ll help you create experiences your attendees won’t forget.