Ray Sheehan, founder, Old City Media, an international marketing agency that helps brands connect with target demographics through experiential marketing.
Why Event Marketing is More Important Than Ever in a Post-Pandemic World
Although the COVID-19 pandemic caused a decline in the amount of in-person events, this was only temporary — the events space has returned to thriving the way it was before. However, in this post-COVID landscape, event organizers struggle to find ways to connect with their attendees. Luckily, there are some principles that brands can follow to ensure their events resonate with their attendees.
What to Think About When Planning Your Event
The first thing to consider when planning an event is your target audience and design it to cater to those people you hope to reach. Think about what might make an impact or lasting impression on them and implement those strategies as much as possible. Demographics such as age, ethnicity and educational status can all significantly impact the strategies that will resonate with that audience.
The next step is to create a budget for your event in order to figure out how much you can realistically spend on your event. Although there are obvious considerations — staffing, merchandise and food and beverage — don’t forget other factors that can become expensive rather quickly, like the venue, furniture, AV services and entertainment.
The goal of budgeting for an event like this is to ensure the event is amazing but also practical. It doesn’t have to require a ton of financial investment to make an event successful and memorable, but you also don’t want an event to look like it was scraped together with no money at the last minute. Find ways to be creative and leverage your limitations.
The most important consideration in creating an event is to emphasize engagement, and there are several methods you can use to drive engagement with your target audience. Some events are most effective by giving the audience an experience or activity that they will remember, while other strategies include giving away prizes, free samples or branded merchandise.
Many event organizers underestimate the power that the people who staff their event can have on the event’s success. Treating your event staff as “brand ambassadors” — people whose job is to represent the brand — can ensure they are not only knowledgeable but also passionate about the brand and its message. Don’t skimp on details that may seem insignificant, such as staff uniforms. These can put your event over the top in terms of professionalism and identity.
Hosting an Event That Will Have a Lasting Impact
Another important consideration brands must make when organizing an event is how the event will be documented. Although the event can be a powerful way to connect with those who are in attendance, it can also be a powerful way to connect with those who aren’t.
Share the experience on social media from your accounts so your followers can also experience the event. Additionally, as part of your planning, ensure you create shareable features, such as photo opportunities and a dedicated hashtag, so that attendees can also share the event on their social media profiles.
Brands that want their events to linger in the minds of their consumers should find a way to help their events stand out by determining what sets their brand apart from others. The things about your brand’s voice that are most unique are likely to be the same factors you should emphasize in your event.
Of course, the biggest thing an event can do to stand out is create legitimate value for the consumer, as events that provide this tend to be remembered far longer than those with little impact. For example, if a brand puts on a sponsored talk with a speaker related to their field, it’s likely to resonate more with consumers than a brand activation where you just give away some free swag.
By creating an event tailored to the needs and desires of your brand’s target audience, you can ensure that your event not only stands out, but also has longevity in their minds. These memorable events are an investment in your brand’s image, as consumers will continue to connect to its messaging long after the event has ended.