As a business owner, you probably realize that a business operating in the second decade of the 21st century is very different from a business back in the 80’s or 90’s. On the one side, you’ve got a tremendous opportunity to reach out to a huge audience online; on the other side, your competitors have got the same opportunity.
You can be the best in your industry, but what if your competitor has a better website or higher online traffic? When it comes to advertisements on the radio or TV, the challenge becomes how to create a very strong message, so that you can get enough attention and not waste expensive air time.
People nowadays underestimate the value of physical offline look and feel promotion. A promotional event is a perfect way to reach out to your target audience, to show the prestige of your brand, to answer questions your prospects may have, to get their contact information, and to associate something bright and memorable with your product or service.
You could drive attention to your product or service through various forms of promotion events.
For example, you are launching a new release on of existing product, and organize an event to celebrate the occasion. Or you participate in a trade show – you setup a booth and speak directly with your customers or prospects about your products or services. Or you participate in an exhibition that demonstrates the features of your product.
Alternatively, you can consider an event that focuses on your brand rather than your product or service. You organize a bright and memorable event (for example, a dinner with speakers, entertainment and networking) and promote your brand – on invitations and tickets, on badges, on event advertisements, on stage, through banners, through giveaways, and of course, from the stage.
Here are the first steps that will help you initiate your promotional event:
Setup your goal – What are you going to promote, what presentation/promotion strategy are you are going to choose, what would you like to achieve by conducting your event?
Define your target audience– Are you looking to invite your existing customers, partners, and prospects? – Once you know the answer to this question, you can determine the amount of people you are planning to invite.
Choose event type– Now that you know who you are targeting, you can come up with the proper type of promotional event that will suit your audience. By carefully reviewing the advantages of each option, you can determine which kind of event will have the greatest marketing value for your business (for example, a business conference vs. a corporate party).
Define event name–Next, you need to come up with an event name that will appeal to the audience you are targeting, meanwhile promoting your business so that even those who cannot attend will learn about your event and relate (can say “connect” or “link”) it to your business.
Define event content –Depending on the event type, “content” can consist of conference topics or agenda items (e.g., networking, speakers, etc) or types of entertainment (dinner, cocktail, shows, dancing).
Determine geographical location of the event–There are numerous factors to consider: accessibility, origin from which your guests will be arriving, accommodation options (if applicable), transportation, choice of venues in the area, seasonal weather conditions and more.
Set Date, Time and Duration– The final date will be subject to venue availability, however, if you have a specific date in mind you may look for a venue that is available on that date; event start time and duration are typically determined based on the preliminary program (event content).
Determine preliminary budget – While it is nearly impossible to calculate the event cost based on the preliminary data, you could decide that your event budget should not exceed value X (this set value could be adjusted as you learn more details about your event and whether funds are available).
HOW TO THOROUGHLY PLAN AND ORGANIZE YOUR PROMOTIONAL EVENT
by Dmitry Tsitrinel,
Owner of Maplemind Events and Entertainment
Assuming you have completed the initiation steps described in the previous article, you can now proceed with more detailed planning of your event. From this step forwards, we recommend that you use our professional services.
Venue selection – You’ve determined the geographical location of your event, hence you’ve narrowed down the list of venues available in that location. Next, you apply the following criteria to choose the venue for your event: venue size and layout, limitations and restrictions, catering options, AV equipment, included services, prices, security, insurance requirements, and of course, availability. Once you’ve selected the venue, negotiate and sign the contract.
Vendors and event staff –Regardless of the size of your event, once you know what is involved, you can secure the team that will be working at your event. The first person to engage is the event manager. He or she will create the event management plan that will turn your event into a manageable project. Based on the plan, you will know the roles and responsibilities of each team member. You will also know how much money to allocate for hiring external vendors (caterers, entertainers, speakers, decorators, etc). Next, you contact vendors, select them, negotiate, and sign contracts.
Event marketing – This is a very special and serious area of your event preparation. If your audience is limited to your existing contact list, then your marketing is relatively simple: you come up with an attractive event description and reach out to the people on your distribution list to let them know your event is coming up. If you are aiming for a bigger event, then marketing becomes more intricate. It includes work with sponsors, preparation and distribution of advertising materials, and arrangement of advertising through different marketing channels.
Event organization. At the core of your promotional event preparation is its actual organization. At this stage, your event manager and team finalize and implement all the details that were planned upon your event initiation: list of participants, volunteers, catering menu, required accessories, equipment, decoration elements, seating charts, entertainment riders.
The day of. On the day of your event, most of the organizational work will be taking place on site. Activities will include the following: coordination with the venue, catering, AV vendor, performers and speakers, sponsors, coordination of the on-site team, guest registration, guest assistance and accommodation, setup of decoration, AV equipment, stage, dinner tables, sound checks, presentations, cleaning, security, hosting, photo and video filming.
After the event. Your promotional event works for you even when it is over. Pictures, feedback, videos, memories, and promotional materials you distributed – all that lasts. You may want to develop a plan of post-event activities that will enhance the effect and the duration of your event “aftertaste,” and as such, efficiency.