Get your business noticed with the right event marketing strategy.
With an over-saturated events market, technical advancements and ever-more creative ways of getting noticed, it is becoming more difficult than ever to stand out at large-scale events.
Throwing money at the situation can only go so far. Flashy exhibition stands, fabulous freebies and even celebrities have become common to attract footfall, but the right event marketing strategy will ensure your business gets noticed, without the need for flashy and expensive gimmicks.
Having managed PR and social media at one of Scotland’s largest outdoor events, the Royal Highland Show, for over a decade, we have a real insight into how successful organisations stand out.
Here’s a list of event marketing tips to get the most out of your investment without requiring big budgets – just a planned approach and some creative thinking:
Know what success looks like
When did you last think about why your company is attending the event? It sounds obvious, but just because your company has been exhibiting for decades is not a good enough reason! Without having a clear vision of what you are trying to achieve, it makes it impossible to evaluate whether or not it has been a success. Whether it’s awareness, perception, positioning, lead generation or partnerships, having a defined idea of what you’re hoping to achieve before you even get there is vital.
Consider other ways to engage
Stands are not the only way to achieve profile at events. Often sponsorship can give valuable exposure in a more targeted way. For example, if you are a 4×4 vehicle manufacturer you could consider sponsoring the Forestry Arena at the Royal Highland Show, placing your brand in a relevant space away from competing products.
Or consider hosting a drinks reception to entertain key customers. Speak to the event organiser – they often have times when the VIP area is not being used and you can hire it out for a small fee, creating a memorable and unique experience for your customers.
Tap into the event’s communication channels
Some events are more than happy to share your news on their social channels, especially if you have something new and interesting to announce. Consider using the event hashtag to encourage engagement and offer up a quirky or valuable prize to encourage online cut through.
Think creatively – and like a journalist
For established events, media are hungry for something new to focus on… from the largest Haggis, to the most expensive tractor or simply a new flavour of ice-cream. During the four days of the Royal Highland Show, BBC crews are on site and are often looking for quirky things for their presenters to do, like pole climbing, sheep shearing or cooking challenges.
This will be reflected at whatever event you’re attending. Put your heads together and think up a stunt that will make good content for print or broadcast but be careful and don’t suggest something that isn’t authentic. Creative is good, off brand can damage your reputation.
Develop a powerful PR plan
An important step in building a communication strategy for a launch or event is to develop an effective PR plan that incorporates all the different aspects of communication, such as media briefings and webinars.
If you plan to hold a press briefing, check with the event’s PR team to make sure there aren’t any clashes that will trump your story. Often at events, there is space in the press room for exhibitors’ press releases. If you have products to sample, then speak to PRs managing the press room about handing these to your key target media.
Also, don’t forget to invite media to your stand. If you know there is access to senior personnel and catering on tap, it adds an extra incentive to swing by.
Effective event marketing is essential to ensuring you see a return on your event investment. We know getting noticed at large-scale events can be tough but follow these tips and you will stand out from the crowd – regardless of how big the crowd or how small the business.
Are you looking for event marketing support? We’d love to meet you for a coffee to discuss your requirements. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0131 526 3190.