Turn Up The Heat On Event Marketing With 5 Easy Steps

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Now is a great time to heat up your local event marketing efforts, and heres why: The flat economy of the last three years has paralyzed most small and mid-sized businesses in terms of propelling their marketing efforts forward. Your competitors have spent very little money to position themselves effectively through local marketing.

As a result, the field is wide open for any forum that gets people talking to one another about their lifestyle needs and choices.

Whats more, you can create good synergy in the midst of what has been a couple of seasons of profit doldrums for most industries by partnering with another like-minded alliance–adding depth to your offering and reaching a broader audience. Furthermore, if that isnt enough to convince you not to delay in taking steps, remember that editors–now more than ever–are looking for positive stories to write about, which means there is a good chance you will get the local press to cover your event.

For these reasons, the time has never been better to warm things up by carving out an event or campaign that will give you the prominent reputation that you so richly desire. Start by asking yourself a few simple questions:

1. From what audience am I going to receive the greatest gain in the shortest amount of time–existing clients, new prospects or a combination of both?

2. Based on this groups time constraints and priorities, what subject would most interest this audience? How will I bring value to this group? (For example, if my local network is mostly made up of suburban parents, can I offer an event that is tied to their childrens after-school activities, like sponsoring soccer clinics for would-be coaches that allows for a soft tie-in to my area of expertise?)

3. Once the audience and the event offering have been sketched out, I need to decide with whom will I collaborate to lend credibility to the event and drive more exposure. (In the soccer clinic example above, it might be useful to approach a local donut franchise or restaurant for refreshments.)

4. How will I draw more people to my event and make it easy and interesting for them to participate? (Perhaps Ill approach the local professional soccer franchise and see if I can arrange for a professional player to stop by the clinic, sign a few autographs and take a few photos with the kids.)

5. How will I leverage every aspect of the event–especially the aftermath–to turn this investment into long-term relationships and, ultimately, sales?

Once the answers to the above are thought out, you are well on your way. But before your planning gets into full swing and you get steeped in the details, take the time to ask yourself another vitally important and strategic question: What has to happen to make this event a critical success?

Do you need to have “X” number of people attend? Will you be satisfied if 50% of those people schedule a follow-up appointment with you? How important is it that the story is covered in the press? How many referrals will make the event worthwhile?

Maybe you just want to have an enjoyable time and ensure that your clients and prospects do, too. Whether your goals are tight or loose, take the time to write them out and share them with anyone that is involved in making your event a success.

To ensure that your investment of time and money really pays off, think through all of the ways throughout the year that you will leverage your event. Would a follow-up survey bring in more information from your audience and provide another touch point? How will you refine your networking approach or “first talk” to incorporate the value you provided in this latest event? Is there a desire for more events or more collaborative opportunities with strategic alliances? Are there other audiences or communities that you could target with a similar approach?

If youre serious about applying some heat to your marketing efforts, these thought processes are all you need to know to pull together a strong local event that will serve to reconnect you with your clients and build your prospecting base for the next year.

By following these five simple steps you will create a terrific story–at very little cost–and will present a positive pitch for your services in what may be an otherwise untapped market.

is a partner of The Gallagher Group, a lifestyle marketing and public relations firm based out of New York City and Andover, Mass. She can be reached at trisha@thegallaghergroup.net.


Reproduced from National Underwriter Edition, March 17, 2003. Copyright 2003 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved. Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.