There’s always something, even if it’s just forgetting the ice. You get more mileage out of your event if you accept, from the start, that something will be overlooked. Something won’t be ready in time, or just won’t be a hit. If you focus on the framework – the things that support the event’s purpose, you’ll have a good chuckle about any trivial mishaps later.
Outline the Reasons to Engage
If you’re having a marketing event, your goal is more signups, members, customers, or something like that. Don’t let the excitement and enthusiasm distract you from the need to get tangible and specific about your service or product features and differentiators. Use a Value Proposition Canvas to nail it down, and get as far from generalities and as close to specifics as possible.
Prep Your Ambassadors
Your marketing event is a sales event. As much as you may designate it a launch party, meet and greet, social, or holiday gala, you need to sell stuff. You need to close. Arrange your people strategically. If you’ve got a couple of people manning the check writing people, keep that from becoming a long line by training them to hand questions off to your roving ninjas who will clarify anything needed, close the deal, and get them right back to the table with their checkbooks out.
Tie in Your Call to Action
Whatever you want, you have to ask for it. Don’t let a sign do all the work, or hope that people figure it out. Stand up and tell them why they’re here, and what you want them to do. Keep it brief; and put your most winsome smooth talker on that task. Be direct, but don’t ramble and don’t apologize. If your reasons are good and your value clear, and those are tied to the event, you should be able to have fun with your pitch.
Give Punch to Your Collateral
The usual brochure is not a good companion to a glass of wine and a handshake. Have two versions of things: a) something they can take it at a glance – a conversation piece that provokes questions. The more visual it is, the better. Think big headline and simple illustration, not complex diagram and lots of details. That’s what YOU and the handshake are there for; b) something to take home but not easily toss in the waste basket when walking across the street. Maybe it’s an executive briefing, but here’s where you can go for substance.
Capture Your Event in Videos & Stills
What goes on there is too valuable to lose or waste. It can feed your blog, social media, e-mail marketing, and more. Get video of the main event, some “b-roll”, and 1-minute spot interviews (along with a model release). An event is content; you only miss it, if nothing gets captured. Still photos are a special art, too; you want to tell the ‘story’ that’s going on there. Most events have multiple, overlapping stories. Reach out to MadPipe for introduction to some pros, if you don’t have someone.
Events are PR-generators
Don’t pass up the opportunity to invite bloggers, tweeters, and maybe a celebrity or two who is willing to endorse and give an interview. Any time you’re doing an event, make it noteworthy enough to be reported. Don’t be shy about it; invite the press. You have to have a great idea, but then everybody loves a great idea, so it pays off. Above all, don’t be banal.
Prep, Practice, and Rehearse
Meet routinely in the weeks leading up. Meet more often than you need to. It doesn’t have to be in person, but a regular planning call can resolve logistics, clarify roles, iron out misconceptions, and make sure everyone is going in the same direction. Make sure everyone is clear on all aspects. People tend to think, if you don’t talk about something, it must be covered. If you don’t talk about it, it isn’t covered. Assign roles, and ask what resources people need to execute those roles effectively. Start this conversation early, and have it often.
Your event doesn’t have to go off without a hitch. You can afford for the band to be kind of comical, or the food to be 20-minutes late. You can’t afford to not break down your project into parts, and plan it systematically. That’s key to getting return on value for anything you do in marketing.
To get help with this, get MadPipe on it. Identify the gaps and opportunities, and have an event you’ll be talking about months later.