An event is a unique form of marketing communication that has so many important elements that you must get right to ensure it's a success. Getting it wrong could mean you lose credibility as a professional or could damage your brand image, or could be a costly, unrewarding experience.
Be sure to write down and figure out the following before launching into organising an event, so you don't make costly mistakes. Ask yourself:
- why am I doing this? Ultimately any marketing activity has the end goal of attaining more sales, however your answer could include getting the attention of media (with the goal of a free write up in their newspaper / magazine), brand awareness of your product or service to your target market, or awareness of a new product or service to your current customer database.
If you understand the reason behind hosting an event, it will make goal setting much easier.
- what is your goal? make it SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic & Time-bound), that way you will know what next steps to take.
For example if your goal is to launch a new product to your current customer base, with the goal to sell 5,000 units of your product by December 2015, then you will need to:
- look at your customer base and see where most are located (so you know where to have your event). If the majority of your product's customers are in Perth and you want to show off your new product, there's no point in having an event in Sydney, as most won't attend.
- organise samples of the product to give away at the product launch so your customers can test it for themselves or even gift to a friend
- have products (new and current) to sell at the launch, with payment and receipt facilities
That way, you can ensure you have done everything you can in preparation for the day of the event, and that that you have made every effort you can to achieve your end goal.
You should write down all the steps to achieving your goal.
Having an end goal makes it easier to work out what marketing collateral you need and what calls to action will be written on the marketing materials to achieve this goal.
If you don't achieve the goal, or the ROI you hoped for, then you can analyze what went wrong, so you don't make the same mistakes again.
Keep in mind though, that a well run, professional branded event that your target market attended, is never a waste of time, because brand awareness (although often difficult to measure), is valuable, as the next time someone has a need, they will think of your business or service, or could recommend your business or service to a friend.
- (after event) was the goal achieved? If you have SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic & Time-bound), you will be able to look back at sales results (or other results eg: membership sign ups if that was your goal) after the event.
Look back on what aspects worked and what didn't, and tweak each event, to ensure each time you do it better!
I would also recommend giving each attendee a quick follow up call and subsequent email after the event to thank them for attending and asking if they had any questions. This makes you more approachable, and that way they have your contact details on tap for when they (or their friend) have a need for your product or service.
Once they have you on the phone or email one-to-one, they may make a comment or ask a question about something they were unsure of at your event, but didn't feel confident enough to ask. This is also a good time to ask them if they would like to be signed up to your monthly newsletter, so they will be reminded of your frequently. Your monthly newsletter should be full of useful advice for your target market.
From personal experience of attending product launch events, I love to get a goodie bag with a sample of the product inside, or if your business is a service, you could send your attendees away with a branded box with a voucher inside, or something of value, so they feel they have received a lovely gift for their time. People appreciate that you appreciate their time.
If you have a product, this is a perfect opportunity for you to give away samples of your product to your target market to test and talk about to their friends and family.
As every event is unique, its important to make it special. Make sure you choose a venue that suits your brand image, don't skimp on anything, and make it as professional as possible! Everything you do makes or breaks the image of your brand.
I have been to events where I walk in the door and a bunch of friends of the event organiser are having a good chat and not caring the attendees are waiting for them to finish their chatter, finally giving the name tag over, without a welcoming smile.
My impression is that this is a shonky, unprofessional event and business, run by amateurs, which affects the overall brand image of the product or service.
If you bring your friends and family to assist, ensure you make them look and act professionally - as if they are working for you. Make very single customer or potential customer feel special and welcome!
Best of luck with your event!
Clara Cassidy, Founder and Marketing Manager of Custom Printed Bags & Boxes, is a marketing professional with years of experience in branding, promotions and events.