How to Develop a Winning Event Marketing Strategy
A winning event marketing strategy ensures that your audience knows about the event and gets the most out of the experience. However, creating a solid event marketing strategy is often easier said than done, and knowing where to begin and what to consider can be challenging. In this guide, we walk you through developing a marketing strategy to promote an event, extend your brand reach, and enhance your impact.
1. Clarify Your Brand and Program
The first step of the process is to clarify your brand and program. Before a whole host of decisions are made, everyone, including internal teams and partnerships, must be on the same page. At Hamilton, we use these discussions to uncover insights, identify opportunities, and develop themes. Do not be afraid to dream big! Before moving on to the next step, make sure you can clearly articulate your vision, as it will help you define your goals, hone your message, and direct the content design and delivery.
2. Define the Event Goals
Next, you must define the goals for your event. Remember that many of these goals can encompass the big-picture vision but must also be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. The most important outcome from this stage is clearly establishing quantifiable benchmarks for the span of your event. On the macro level, the objectives can be qualitative concepts like redefining the brand image and conveying the brand as an industry leader, as in the case of ADT Authorized Dealer at ISC West 2022. These metrics may pertain to quantitative aspects such as the number of attendees or quality leads, the percentage of leads converted, and more. When outlining the goals, consider how you define success and what you want the audience to take away from the experience.
3. Identify the Target Audience
The third step in the event marketing strategy development process involves audience research. Look at your audience's demographics and consider likes, dislikes, habits, and behaviors. Think about your existing customers and how you want to expand your market reach. Seek to understand your customers' motivations and preferences to connect and satisfy their needs. Evaluate the benefits of creating a persona or sets of personas to help focus your efforts.
4. Outline Marketing Content
Once a rich understanding of the target audience is developed, outline the marketing content. Map all pre, during, and post-show marketing communications. Use your vision, goals, and audience research to guide content development. Consider the messaging and event elements needed when maximizing attendance and engagement to attract an audience of qualified prospective customers.
5. Design the Creative Elements
Next, design the creative components that transform your strategy from a vision to reality. Leverage experiential design, physical architecture, and digital engagement techniques to shape the most compelling narrative. Utilize your company’s voice to shape the messaging for specific channels and define how the information will be shared. Personalize each element to ensure your attendees feel that the experience resonates with them.
6. Leverage Partnerships
Another critical stage in the process is leveraging partnerships. Event collaborators and stakeholders, like speakers, attendees, and industry influencers, are essential members of the brand community and can participate in sharing excitement about your event. For example, empower guest speakers to promote attendance at the event and invite attendees to share their enthusiasm and experience. You can tap into the ever-powerful force of word-of-mouth marketing by calling upon your partners.
7. Execute the Marketing Strategy
The execution of your plans may seem like the culmination of the development process, but it remains ongoing. The delivery stage is an unfolding process requiring agility, communication, and careful attention to the vision and goals established during the initial development process. The execution phase may happen alongside and inform additional aspects of the strategy development process. After all, events are no longer limited to single point-in-time experiences. Throughout the pre, during, and post-event programming, brands can revise and improve their marketing strategies based on feedback from execution metrics.
8. Evaluate the Marketing Strategy
For a marketing strategy to qualify as a "winning" strategy, it must be measurable. In the final stage, reflect upon the metrics collected during the event. Organize and compare the results to the objectives established at the beginning of the process. Use this analysis to gain insight into attendee experiences, lead generation outcomes, and messaging performance. Post-event insights can inspire and direct your future marketing endeavors.
Looking to learn more about event marketing?
Hamilton is a full-service event marketing agency with a 75-year legacy creating immersive brand experiences for companies throughout North America and worldwide. We design, produce, and execute integrated experiences that drive meaningful connections between your brand and your audience. Our full range of solutions include exhibits, proprietary events and conferences, mobile tours, corporate environments, outdoor events, and digital experiences. To maximize the impact of your next event with a strong strategy, contact Hamilton today!