Event marketing should not just be about ‘keeping the lights on’


This week I have been thinking a lot about event marketing plans, not least because I am creating them for a couple of very different clients.  I’ve also been helping deliver a very complex report for a specialist IT consultancy, and this set me thinking about the processes we undertake when creating our promotional campaigns.

Within IT there is a clear differential between Keeping the Lights On processes, i.e. making sure that all of the technology works all the time, and those required to help a business change.  An IT team can be good at keeping things ticking along but not necessarily strong in terms of innovating or developing new systems.

A key reason for this is often that management isn’t communicating the vision for their business fully with the IT team, that the latter don’t have the requisite skills or seniority to suggest innovations, and/or the IT are not communicating their capabilities further up the food chain.  Within event businesses something similar often happens, where event directors set budgets or targets without consulting their marketing teams; marketing teams haven’t evolved to encompass new skills; or that innovations are only suggested after the available budgets have been announced.

These behaviours mean that the event promotional cycle gets locked into the short term view.  Instead of looking for new ways of attracting audiences, the marketing team continues to try and wring just a little bit more out of the same dry old sponge.  As discussed before in our post about ZBB, events do have a yearly opportunity to completely reassess their marketing activities so there is really no excuse for keeping on doing the same old things.

This doesn’t of course mean throwing the baby out with the bath water.  But clearer communication of the long-term business objectives rather than ‘make more money this year than last’ could result in a realignment of strategy, perhaps investing in different technologies or content specialists.  Where the goal is to inprove an event property’s investment/sales potential then this approach could prove both invaluable and financially rewarding.

Hellen @missioncontrol