Event Marketing Best Practices
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Event Marketing Best Practices

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  • Now we will discuss further the basic motivators of the pull factors
  • Content Content alone does not maximize registration rates. Make sure you ask some simple questions before you develop the content for your event. What does your audience want to hear about and from whom would they like to hear it? A pitfall to content can be delivery. Invitees are generally wary of events that appear to be long infomercials for the sponsoring company. Now everyone knows that the sponsor wants to sell its products or services. There often remains, however, a fine line between presenting credible, objective content and to foisting a 3 hour sales pitch on a cornered audience. In the recruitment process, content needs to be presented in a way that brings out these “highlights”. If there’s a famous/well-known speaker, the name should be mentioned twice. If a co-sponsor is a well respected name that company should be positioned as the PRIMARY sponsor. If the content is particularly relevant to a narrow group of invitees, this needs to be put front and center. Entertainment – People attend events to be entertained on some level not just be informed. This applies to user group events as well as C-level summits. In the recruitment process entertainment attributes should not be left out of the recruitment message. The initial touch point and subsequent follow-up should not hesitate to emphasize the interesting setting, the fact that a cocktail hour immediately follows the lecture.
  • Convenience Invite customers/prospects that are “in range” no more than a 20-30 minute drive. The time of day, day of the week, event the month of year influences registration rates. According to Market One an event on a Monday morning will garner higher drop off rates than events held on any other day of the week. Also afternoon events experience higher drop off rates as people become too engaged with their morning schedule to breakaway at noon. Full day is usually reserved for user events, trade shows or summits. When evaluating your event see if any of these factors could have had an impact of the outcome. Isolate competing events. Also if you are planning from a National level it is important to note that some states observe holidays that others don’t. Connections – People often attend events to make connections. Networking is a significant motivator for event invitees. It gives people a chance to expand their exposure outside the company. The networking component is generally part of most events these days for these reasons, but it is not often emphasized during recruitment. You need to emphasize the interactive nature of an event in your messaging. You may find too that some may seem more interested in socializing with their competitors than in speaking with the hosting organization. Main point is know what you are up against.
  • Opportunity Cost – Events at the participant C-level are reserved for special affairs with enticing offers – examples include: CEO of a Fortune 200 company as the keynote speaker, a round of golf with other CEOs etc. Typically recruitment at this level is usually performed either by a high-level executive or through a multi-step invitational process. Recommended process Calling the Executives office and speaking with the Executive Assistant Recruiting the executive assistant into the invitation process by agreeing to hand an overnight invitation to the c-level invitee Sending the invitation to the Executive Assistant Following up with the executive assistant then asking to be put through to the executive.
  • List Quality Make sure you have the right audience. This speaks to the validity of the record. The validity rate is that portion of the list containing accurate telephone numbers, email addresses, ensuring that the invitees are still at the listed company and that the company is still in business.
  • RECRUITMENT PROCESS – Also In Direct touches can help drive attendance CONFIRMATION PROCESS – Probably the second most important (the first is sourcing a good list) but most overlooked step in the recruitment process involves confirmation. Upon the conclusion of the confirmation calls it is possible to forecast the drop off rate by looking at the cancellation rate. Being in a position to forecast attendee rates helps because it puts the on-site coordinator in control of event logistics. TIMING – The greatest registration rates is when recruitment begins a full month ahead.

Event Marketing Best Practices Event Marketing Best Practices Presentation Transcript

  • Event Marketing Best Practices Wendy Fitzpatrick Nerissa Traola Elliott Lowe
  • Agenda
      • Event Best Practices
      • CA Case Study (Susan)
      • CA Case Study (Regan)
      • Q& A
      • Closing Remarks
  • Event Best Practices
  • Factors contributing to high participation levels
    • The two critical elements that are part of the process of attracting registrants
      • Pull and Push
        • Pull
          • More qualitative elements such as relevance of content, excitement about the speaker, physical location of the event, and even social networking aspect
        • Push
          • Quantitative involving the mechanical steps surrounding the invitation and promotional process
          • How do you “push” your message out to the invitees?
    • Source: Fred Ewald, De-mystifying the Event Recruitment Process; From an Art to a Science – Whitepaper, May 2008
  • Pull Factors
  • Pull Factors
    • Content
      • Remains the most important motivator for events
      • Attendees looking for solid value: solutions, ideas, best practices, knowledge, trends
      • Content Pitfall - Delivery
    • Entertainment/Venue/Food & Beverage
      • People attend events to be entertained on some level
      • What constitutes entertaining is broadly defined
        • Location/venue, networking breaks and social hour
        • Food and beverage
  • Pull Factors
    • Convenience
      • Invitees should be “in range”
        • No more than a 20-30 minute drive
      • Also related to convenience is timing
      • Isolate competing events
    • Connections
      • Networking is a significant motivator for event invitees
      • Provides a platform to expand their exposure
        • Elevating their personal “marketability”
          • Some look for jobs at events
  • Pull Factors
    • Opportunity Cost
      • Key Concept underlying any recruitment process
      • Time is a scarce commodity
        • Need to give busy professionals a compelling reason to want to attend
        • At the VP or even C-level the opportunity cost is massive
          • Need to be enticed with a special offer
            • Round of golf with senior CA executive and other CIO’s
        • Offer the high-value accounts something “extra”
          • Unique gift in advance, car service to event or sales to bring attendee
  • Push Factors
  • Push Factors
    • List Quantity (Self Evident)
      • Number of invitees receiving the invite
      • Leverage CIDB and pull based on SCF zipcode (3-digit range)
        • Provide additional descriptor information
        • Use Campaign codes (self qualified / qualified through title)
    • List Quality
      • Make sure you have the “right” audience
      • Need to make sure the records are still valid (reconfirm with sales)
  • Push Factors
    • Recruitment Process
      • Initial invite (60 days prior)
        • DM is recommended as first touch point
        • Have a version that sales can send
      • Email to non-responders (5-10 days later)
      • Tele-recruitment to non-responders (5 days after email)
    • Confirmation Process
      • Email reminder to registrants (15 days prior)
      • Phone call to registrants (5 days prior)
      • Email reminder (day prior)
    A A strong Recruitment and Confirmation Process can double or triple the number of attendees. The higher the level the more time is needed Source: Jefferson Davis, Competitive Edge, High Impact Exhibit Marketing
  • Event Best Practices for Tier 2 Cities
    • A great opportunity to generate business among accounts that are eager for insight and attention
    • Proven recommendations
      • Promote the event through local user groups and associations
      • Schedule events on a regular basis so they know that their business is important to CA
      • Local sales rep (s) are highly involved in the recruitment process
      • Encourage registrants to invite their colleagues
      • Schedule national web casts on a regular basis for different product lines
      • Create Cross-brand events to cover more solutions and broader messaging
      • Create multi-track events for different audiences
    • Source: Area Marketing feedback
  • CA Local Case Studies Susan Kunz (Central) Regan Ogner (Canada)
  • Bringing Clarity to Service Management Roundtable
    • Event Format
      • Roundtable – Chicago, 10/29
      • Evening Event featuring networking, (3) presentations coupled with hor d’ oeuvres and wine tasting
    • Target
      • Senior IT and Business Leaders – C-suite, VP, Director and Manager
    • Event Overview
      • Leveraged best practices and benefits of fully integrated management solutions
      • Specific use cases for service portfolio, demand and change management
      • Evening Event featuring networking, (3) presentations coupled with hor d’ oeuvres and wine tasting
    • Recruitment Strategy
      • Sales (AD/AM), Clarity and SM Solution Strategist
      • Email blast to CIDB and Simply Direct survey contacts
      • Reminder email blast
      • itSMF Email blast to Chicago members
      • Hard copy invites mailed to Chicago PMI membership
      • Approval for PMI CPE continuing education credits
  • Bringing Clarity to Service Management Roundtable
    • Outcome
      • Initial target – 15 – 25 attendees
      • 32 registered
      • 22 attended
    • Key Learnings
      • Topic and speakers resonated well with attendees based on evaluations
      • Roundtable was the right format
      • Customer Speaker is Key!
      • Multi-faceted recruitment strategy is deemed important
      • Content/slides need to be shorter to fit the allotted agenda
      • Messaging needs complete alignment
  • Service Availability Seminar
    • Event Format
      • Breakfast Seminar – Toronto, 11/4 & Regina 11/5
      • ½ day seminar featuring analyst Jim Metzler and CA speaker Tom Hayes
    • Target
      • Influencers and Decision Makers for both IM and APM (Manager level and higher)
      • Customers that have one or more of the products or none
    • Event Overview
      • The strategy was to show how CA has leading products in both Infrastructure Management and Application Performance Management.
      • In addition showcase the value of the integration of the two solution sets.
    • Recruitment Strategy
      • 1 month prior to recruitment: Event Overview email is sent to reps and presented at Sales Briefing
      • Sales (AD/AM), IM and APM Solution Strategists, Customer Solution Architects
      • HTML, Text & PDF invites provided
      • Toronto: Email blast to CIDB contacts; Teleboosting campaign with outside vendor; confirmation phone calls
      • Regina: 2x email blasts to local Help Desk Institute Membership
  • Service Availability Seminar
    • Outcome
      • Toronto
        • 37 registered; 26 attended (70% turnout, typically expect 50%)
      • Regina
        • 33 registered; 31 attended (93% turnout)
    • Key Learnings
      • Provide sales with plenty of time to understand the event, the strategy and time for recruitment
      • Prior to event speakers need to understand the audience and opportunities
      • Teleboosting goes beyond the event..
        • create awareness about CA and our solutions even if customers/prospects cannot attend
      • Plan for 100% attendance rates in smaller markets
      • With cross BU events, a new event series plan for high CA attendance
      • CIDB is questionable in terms of value
  • Conclusion
    • Survey attendees prior to event to determine lead topics
    • People attend events to be entertained on some level
    • Know what you are up against – isolate competing events
    • Networking opportunities are critical
    • Time is a scarce commodity – busy professionals need a compelling reason to attend
    • Start the recruitment process way in advance (60 days)
  • Sources
    • Fred Ewald, De-mystifying the Event Recruitment Process; From an Art to a Science – Whitepaper, May 2008
    • Reach Force, B2B Marketing and Sales Tip – Event Marketing
    • Jefferson Davis , Competitive Edge, High-Impact Exhibit Marketing