All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.
“Because I love people.” “Because I love to travel.” “I’ve always been really good at planning parties.” These are common responses I hear when I ask people why they are interested in events. While these are fabulous attributes to have in an event planner, the responses have prompted me to spend a little time on The Truth About Event Marketing. In a truly well-planned and integrated marketing program, events can play a pivotal role in the sales funnel.
An industry tradeshow like VMWorld or Oracle Open World can drive basic brand awareness, can generate targeted leads, and/or can be used to capture dedicated time with a particular target account. Not only can they provide a hands-on demonstration of technology, they can also drive thought leadership through keynote session opportunities. The objectives for participation should be determined based on the timing of the event and the message that needs to hit the marketing at that time.
A customer advisory council can not only allow customers to feel engaged in the product or marketing strategies of one of their key strategic business partners, but it can provide valuable insight into real concerns and opportunities in our customers’ environments. It can foster trust and even turn around a strained customer relationship.
A user group or user conference can unite IT operators who manage datacenters with Dell and partner solutions. It can create an ongoing community of advisors, content generators, and advocates for Dell in the IT and business world.
Executive hospitality events (golf, wine tastings, sporting events) provide dedicated time with targeted accounts, their account teams and partners, but also allow for the free-flow of information among colleagues and general relationship building for future business meetings. Trite but true, sometimes more work gets done on the golf course than in a week’s worth of meetings.
As business units create their marketing plans and campaign timelines, industry events with set dates can be used as launch pads for products or solution sets or marketing message initiatives.
As assets become ready for market and you move to a demand generation phase, webinars, roadshows and lunch and learns become part of the marketing mix.
When we need to shift perception and convey thought leadership, we strategically target keynote speaking opportunities and executive-level forum and networking events.
I want to stress that event strategies should not be stand-alone creations. They should be part of the annual planning process when mapping out a truly integrated marketing plan.
I also want to stress that everyone loves events. Everyone thinks they can plan events (and maybe they can!). But not everyone can create a truly great brand immersion experience. That's the key.