5 Planning Tips for a Successful Event Marketing Program

Independent of b2b marketing or b2c marketing, creating an event marketing strategy to maximize your investment, customer experience and desired outcomes all require a specific road map and proper internal alignment. Here are a few tips from our past experience in both consumer and trade shows.

1. Establish Success Metrics

How do you keep score? How will you know if your program is successful?

Prior to the planning process, formulate Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure each event against. This will help keep all stakeholders, both internal and external, focused and aligned. 

(Hint: don't forget to gain perspectives from both sales and marketing)

2. Map your Customer Journey

Who is your target audience at this event? What experience do you want them to have?

A successful event marketing program begins with the experience of the targeted audience in mind. Start by mapping the desired customer experience – from an attendee's initial research into a show online, to checking out social media content prior to the show, to the first impression of your booth, to brand representative engagement, to post-show engagement. You can use any approach that works for you. We use our E1 Strategic Map framework to do this with our clients. 

3. Evaluate ALL Investment Options

There are many to consider...have you considered them all?

Maximizing your Return on Investment (ROI) is critical for any marketing program. Here are a few factors when it comes to determining your ROI metrics in event and experiential platforms:

  • Your Footprint - 10x10 vs 10x20 vs 20x20 vs larger booth space
  • Exhibitor vs. Premium Vendor vs Sponsorship
  • Location, Location, Location – are you creating your space for an inline, end cap, island or peninsula?
  • Giveaways - to use or not to use, that is the question
  • In-house staffing vs external (brand ambassadors)
  • Cost of the event – more low cost shows vs fewer high cost shows

4. Selecting the Right Shows

What is driving your event selection process?   

There are over 3,000 Home & Garden Shows in the U.S. each year (plus some great home shows in Canada). With all these shows, choosing the right shows for your brand can be instrumental for reaching your company's goals. A show may be listed as the “best”, or held in one of the top markets, however, it may not be the right show for your brand. We recommend taking an audience-first approach to making this decision while considering various elements including event program maturity, budget, products, services, goals and DMA conditions.

Here is some criteria necessary in choosing the right event for your brand:

  • Industry specific
  • B2B vs B2C
  • Specific Market / DMA
  • Cost point
  • Educational 

5. Find the Right Partner

Is your agency or vendor relationship an extension to your event marketing / sales team? 

Business impacting event marketing programs don't happen alone. You need the right partner to help you develop, execute and measure your program to ensure success. Be sure to evaluate all options and choose the partner that best matches your specific goals. 

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