Looking to map out a customized promotional plan for your event? During a recent Visit Alexandria webinar, Michael Doane, marketing manager for the event technology firm CadmiumCD, shared seven steps for drafting an event marketing battle plan. Grab your marketing team and answer these key questions to expand your event’s reach.
1. Set a Goal
Key question: How will I measure success?
To begin, determine the primary goal(s) that will orient your marketing campaign. Maybe, as Doane suggested as his example, you aim for an increase in app usage at your event. Other goals could include increased registration, traffic to the expo hall or leads for exhibitors. Once you’ve narrowed down a specific, measurable goal, you can streamline marketing initiatives accordingly toward your version of success.
2. List Available Channels
Key question: What channels do I currently have access to?
Take stock of the outlets available to you before, during and after the event, including both digital and analog. Pre-event, you may have access to social media, advertising, an attendee list, video, and/or an online forum to promote your event through. Next, visualize yourself walking through the conference space to conjure up all available channels during the event itself. These may include signage, an app, volunteers, staff, social media and educational materials in breakout sessions. Lastly, consider your post-event resources, from surveys and evaluations to content from sessions repurposed within your event app and elsewhere.
3. Leverage Existing Resources
Key question: What assets do I already have?
Within the channels you have identified, consider the existing assets available for cross-promotion. Leverage the investments you have already made by advertising across channels, from marketing the event app on your website to sending strategic email promotions to your attendee list.
4. Create Additional Assets
Key question: What am I missing and how will I get it?
Having taken inventory, you can now pinpoint the missing components needed to carry you to your goal. If your objective is increasing app usage, perhaps you have access to an advertising channel but still need ads to encourage app downloading. Depending on your company’s resources, you may opt to utilize in-house graphic designers, contract a marketing agency or ask your app provider for customizable templates.
5. Launch Your Campaign
Key questions: How am I going to connect the dots and deliver? Who is going to implement each piece?
All systems go! You’ve identified where you are, where you’d like to be and your strategy to bridge the gap. Now, be sure you’ve instituted a structure to track your deliverables throughout your event timeline. That way, you’ll be able to monitor various campaign stages and rest assured that all assignments have been delegated. Create a comprehensive and shareable spreadsheet in Google Sheets, or use the project management tools on platforms such as Asana, Zenkit and Trello.
6. Gather Data
Key questions: What are my KPIs? How will I track them?
As the marketing initiatives go out and the data comes in, you’ll need to evaluate it through the lens of key performance indicators (KPIs). In Doane’s case, he would measure overall attendance against app adoption to find a percentage of app users, pulling simple statistics from the app’s dashboard and registration software.
7. Analyze and Refine
Key questions: How will I use data to better my next conference?
After the event has concluded, dive into the data and use your KPIs to see where you landed compared to your goal. Your KPIs may even reveal insights outside of your specified objectives. Along the way, you’ll discover invaluable insight to elevate next year’s event and empower your marketing plan going forward.
Insider Tip: See part 1 of this two-part series, How to Engage Your 3 Key Stakeholders: Event Marketing, to find best practices for engaging your three primary stakeholders: attendees, exhibitors and event speakers.