Best of Marketing Genius: Successful Event Promotion (Pt. 2)
Keys to Successful Event Promotion - Part Two
[first published here July 2006]
It is getting tougher and tougher, to get the people you want and need to come to your important event to actually attend. The problem is two-fold. People are busier. They are also being bombarded with requests to attend events. That means there's more competition for their valuable, scarce time. No matter if your event is an annual meeting or a fundraiser or an educational seminar or a sales presentation. No matter if your event is in the morning or the evening ... food or no food, you have to be lucky or smart to end up with a full room on the appointed date and time of your big event.
Oh sure, you could pay people $100 to attend ... or you could hire a celebrity or sports hero to entice people to attend. Either tactic might boost the numbers. Most of us do not have such a rich marketing treasure chest. Now, as for luck, we'll leave that to others and focus on helping you become a smarter event promoter. So here goes!
Earlier this month we introduced you to the RSVP model for event promotion. Here are more helpful insights for you:
V - Variety
To get your invitee to respond, it is no longer enough to mail him an engraved invitation. You have to communicate the information about your event through a variety of channels. Invite them by way of a mailed piece, fine. But combine that tactic with an e-mail invitation. And don't forget to use the media. Hit your invitee in her mailbox. Hit her in her inbox (e-mail). And also hit her in her newspaper and even her radio station. Yes, if you are crafty and persuasive you can get your event covered in the media. Don't expect an expose, though; a simple announcement is much more likely--and still helpful.
P - Packaging
If you want to cut through the clutter and have your invitees pay attention to your invitation and your event, you have to package it. Make it interesting. Add some sizzle. Build up anticipation for the event. Make it the don't-miss-event-of-the-year. Explain why your event is valuable and important. How can you make it more fun ... more important ... or more enticing?
Example: "Attend our annual meeting where you'll have the chance to visit with 20 of the city's most successful business owners."
Another example: one of our clients opened a new facility in one of the city's oldest hotels, a 1920's era building. We gave the grand opening a Roaring Twenties theme, complete with period props, caterers dressed in period costumes and a big band playing swing tunes. It was a smashing success, something different.
Look, there's no cookie-cutter solution. You have to be creative--and you have to know your audience. To be sure, there's a fine line between unique and cheesy; your job is to know that balance point. We're not here to give you the one answer. The point is that marketing geniuses avoid going through the same old tired, mindless tactics that no longer work.
In closing, we ask you, marketing geniuses: what have you done or seen that packed the house for a special event? Please share your stories with us.