In my years of helping businesses with branding and marketing strategy, I have often helped people promote events. I am generally brought in after the decision is made to hold an event, and I often try to discourage people from hosting events because of one or all of the potential dangers that exist in event marketing. The following are my top three:
Danger 1: Events create an illusion of marketing activity when all that is really being accomplished is activity. Once the decision is made about an event, everyone feels good. We are going to do this, and everyone is set in motion to do their part. There is a lot to be done: find a location, prepare a presentation, invite people to name a few. All this activity is important to host an event, but it is activity and not marketing activity. It provides an illusion that this event will deliver the results we need. I often notice that expectations grow in the process. Most often they grow unrealistically.
Danger 2: Events become the marketing strategy instead of a marketing tactic. This is probably this biggest problem with events. Events can not be your whole strategy. If you don’t have the bandwidth to do other marketing activities, you should not be doing events. Do you have a solid strategy on how to turn strangers in to friends, friends in to customers and customers into brand evangelists?
Danger 3: Events lose steam at the point when the greatest amount of energy is needed. Once an event is done is when the real activity needs to begin. The follow up strategy is often the thing that gets left undone in all the effort to host an event. The truth is that events nurture leads, but rarely convert leads. Unless you have a solid follow-up strategy, events will be a disappointment.
Events can be an effective part of a marketing strategy. The best events start with making sure that all involved have the same expectations and there is a good post-event strategy in place before the event date.
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