About a year ago, we posted a blog titled 5 Event Marketing Mistakes to Avoid. Everything is written here is still relevant and we urge you to read it immediately. However, since it is now 2020 and the start of a new decade, we have decided to offer you a new list of event marketing mistakes to avoid. These are timely pitfalls that seem to be plaguing even savvy marketers these days. Read on for more information!
No Jabs, Only Right Hooks
Borrowing a phrase from Gary Vanyerchuk (great book!), don’t just hit your audiences with a hard ask or sales pitch (a right hook) on every customer communication. It’s better to offer “jabs” or useful information or other benefits once in a while without asking for anything in return. For example, tease your event’s keynote speaker by emailing out a compelling “sneak peek” video of their talk or a downloadable recommended reading list from the speaker. Consumers are savvy these days, they know a hard sell when they see it. Disarm their expectations a little by not asking for a sale, just offering something of value to them, something that makes them smile. They will remember that positive feeling the next time you do send them a sales communication.
Forgetting Your Brand Standards
The official definition of a brand is the marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products (or an event from other events). That is all true. But it’s also deeper than that. Your brand is your reputation. It is also a promise. Your brand impacts engagement with your attendees as you promise to meet their expectations through their experience of your event. It is the foundation from which you are successful.
So it is more than your logo and name. Your brand should be reflected in everything you do, including the venue you choose, the activities you plan, the speakers you book, and the prices you charge. Every detail of your event will lead up to a feeling or emotion held in the hearts and minds of all those engaged with your event. Just as Coachella has become the music festival of choice for many music lovers because of the unique integrated experience, your event can be THE choice in your industry if your brand is engaging in a way that makes attendees want to invest their time, talent and treasure into the experience.
So, don’t just plop a logo on your ticket and on your website and call it a day. In every decision you make, ask yourself, “Is this brand right?” It’s so important.
What the Digital Revolution?
Digital marketing continues to evolve as consumer behaviors change and technology improves. Channels fade away and new ones take their place. Algorithms change. Data shows that engagement drives sales more than passive clicks but that doesn’t necessarily mean that click-through-rates have become unimportant. How do you keep up? It’s difficult to be sure but it’s also necessary. Don’t just do what you’ve done in previous years. Keep track of your digital marketing performance both on a micro and a macro level. In other words, identify and analyze critical KPIs for each channel and for your entire digital marketing campaign. Once you have this data, find places of weakness to test and iterate in order to push better results. This is the most actionable way to keep up with trends without completely upending your entire marketing plan and possibly endangering ticket sales. Given the prevalence of consumers’ increased dependence on digital technology, this is a critical mistake to avoid.
Pay No Attention to that App Over There
Apps have personalized e-commerce in a way that can’t be ignored. The trend of accessing websites and shopping from a phone is only going to grow. In the future, no company will be able to stay viable without a personalized mobile-responsive app. Apps have become the primary medium of interaction between many companies and consumers. Also, Google has also started ranking websites that have an app higher than those that don’t. Event apps can engage attendees before, during, and after the event. Do not wait to create an app that not only sells your event tickets safely and easily but also offers opportunities for guests to interact with each other and with your partners.
Who Needs Relationship Marketing Strategies?
Traditional marketing strategies are transactional. A brand cultivates a lead, asks for a sale, and a conversion is made. Typically, that is the end of the journey. However, the world is changing as consumers interact with brands on a more fundamental level. For example, consumers communicate in real-time on digital platforms, wear clothing with brand logos, and recommend brands to their friends, family, and followers.
To that end, smart brands pivot their marketing efforts to build long-term, loyal, and engaged relationships with their customers. That means deepening the interaction with customers to be a two- way conversation that benefits both parties. Relationship marketing strategies create meaningful interactions both online and offline. This could be as simple as asking for user-generated content or reviews on your social media channels, offering useful tools and downloadable content on your website, asking for feedback from guests and partners after an event, or creating influencer-generated pop-up events in crucial locations. Your goal is to offer a positive and authentic experience to your customers and leads so they feel both rewarded and included in your brand mission and purpose. This builds loyalty and affinity.
In the busy day-to-day event marketing tasks, take time to think beyond your next event. The long- term success of your business will depend on building a loyal customer base that comes back to your events time and again.
No one is perfect. Mistakes will be made from time to time. However, a savvy event planner takes the time to think through every marketing tactic and plan carefully and to do thorough research in order to avoid the most mistakes possible. Marketing is not hard when strategy and precision are deployed.