event marketingMarket share and mindshare: A successful event can bring heaps of both kinds of attention to your business. The key is to plan it so that your execution is flawless. That's where the practical concerns such as insurance, safety, security, and logistics come into play. Many decide to hire an event planner once the scale of even a "small" event is understood.

This article focuses on getting the most marketing mileage possible. Let's look at three crucial time periods that can affect how the marketing is received: prior to the event, during the event, and after the event.

Prior to the Event

Major planning starts here. What will the event say about your company, service, or products? What is the desired mood you want to achieve? What will attendees learn, or what other benefits will they receive from attending? This is the time to craft the strong message that will be repeated throughout the event.

[ ] Comprehensive marketing plan

Direct mail, website, radio spots, TV, newspaper ads, film and photography, and other methods should be part of the planning process depending on the audience you want to reach.

[ ] Logo, colors, and style guide

Events with strong visual branding throughout the experience tend to be more memorable and feel more cohesive.

[ ] Press kits -- paper and digital

Plan to notify local and/or regional media prior to the event for the best hope of earned media. At minimum, you'll need a press release with photos, bios, and information packets ready to distribute.

[ ] Social media marketing plan

Word-of-mouth is still the cheapest and most effective marketing method; social media should be the centerpiece.

[ ] Pre-show emails

Whether a part of your existing newsletter or as stand-alone promotion, emails are an important way to build buzz.

[ ] PPC, SEO, and online advertising

Target keywords and phrases for advertising leading up to your event.

[ ] Create the agenda packet

This document is a potent sales tool to get attendees. Highlight the benefits of attending and the proposed schedule of events. There should be at least two versions, one electronic and one printed for the event itself.

[ ] Show giveaways

Order the giveaways you'll use during the show to encourage participation.

During the Event

Every part of the event contains a marketing possibility. A strong, consistent message should be seen and felt from start to finish. Plan activities that support this overall message and be sure that all materials designed for attendees to take with them also conveys your theme.

[ ] Creative materials at the venue

Consider distributing packets of information in a suitable format. This may include novelty tchotchkes or branded everyday items. It may mean digital materials, such as free apps or games.

[ ] Visuals at the venue

Marketing potentials include all signage, posters, banners, balloons, boards, name badges, tent cards, plaques, etc.

[ ] Filming and photography

Events are goldmines for marketing materials. Be ready with a professional photographer or videographer. Hire a pro to ensure quality images and good lighting setup.

[ ] Social media "live streaming," "live tweeting," or similar

Have a dedicated group of people creating social media updates for Facebook, Twitter, and other social sites to maximize and capture the real-time experience.

[ ] Collect testimonials

Video is the ideal way to collect testimonials since you can reuse this later (be sure to have attendees sign a release). Soliciting written feedback and photos also work well.

After the Event

Immediately after the event is a time to collect feedback, materials, and measurements. All of these data points can be processed for improvement in the future or used in upcoming marketing materials. Organize the post-event media and other information as diligently as you planned it for best results.

[ ] Measure and report on social media outreach

Use a site like Hashtracking.com to measure discussion reach.

[ ] Collect links to social media updates

You will be able to point to these again later since most will stay online for a long time.

[ ] Archive the event on your website or post again to social media

This archive can provide valuable social proof for future events.

[ ] Collect and organize feedback

Attendee testimonials can be organized for future use, as can post-event survey responses. Look through feedback for verbiage useful for marketing future events. Be sure to get permission for attribution.

For more detailed steps check out The Definitive Guide to Event Marketing produced by Marketo. It is a free download with email registration.

Featured images:

Katie McCaskey is a freelance journalist who covers event marketing tips and trends for Vistaprint, a leading source for address labels, invitations, and other products to help you market your next event successfully. Katie has written about marketing for 12 years and is co-owner of a neighborhood grocery/cafe outside of Washington, D.C. 

countryside meetings

Photo By: Joe Shlabotnik

For most of us, at least 40 hours of our week is spent in the sprawling urban world, surrounded by the glass & concrete of office towers and bumper-to-bumper traffic congestion.

When it comes time to host a meeting, the venue of choice often ends up being in the exact same environment, even though most events are typically meant to act as a change of pace from the normal day-to-day working life. So why not shake things up a bit and host a meeting outside of the city instead?

Out in the countryside, you have nearly endless choices for unique and memorable meeting locations that are as far from the metropolitan experience as you can get, including everything from valley resorts, to forest cottages, charming hotels, and so much more.

For both event planners and attendees, hosting a meeting outside of the city has a number of benefits, including enjoying a relaxing & laid-back environment, taking in the fresh air and peaceful scenery of rural areas, and inviting the opportunity to take part in team building activities that you just can’t find in a city.

Enjoy A Laid-Back, Small Town Feel

Help your meeting attendees escape the chaos and bustle of city life for a little while by hosting your event in a small town, rural area, or secluded location. Outside of the city you’re guaranteed to find locations that offer a laid-back atmosphere surrounded by small town hospitality and charm that you just can’t find anywhere else.

One of the best reasons to escape the city for your next meeting is that it gives attendees a chance to wind down some stress from their day-to-day working lives. This can hopefully lead to a much more enjoyable & productive event, as well as a more memorable experience than having just another get-together downtown.

In fact, psychological research has shown that being in novel environments; from a quaint small town hotel all the way to something incredibly unique like a wine barrel room tends to lead to more pleasurable feelings and improved outside-the-box thinking. As a result, hosting your next meeting in these types of locations can have a hugely positive impact on the quality of the event.

Take-in the Fresh Air & Scenery of the Countryside

Taking any opportunity to reconnect with nature is always a good thing, and you can help your meeting attendees out by booking your next event far beyond the skyscrapers and highways of the city. The fresh air and scenery of rural spaces will do wonders to calm some minds, leading to a more relaxing and productive gathering.

In a city it can be easy to lose touch with the natural wonder of the world, and the constant buzz of urban life can be draining at times. Having just another meeting in the a city environment might lead to a less than enthusiastic crowd, so you’ll probably be greatly appreciated for taking a leap and planning an event that gets all your attendees out into nature for a change of scenery.

You don’t even have to go far outside of the city to reconnect with the natural world. For example, if you take about a 90-minute drive outside of Los Angeles, you’ll find the peaceful Korakia Pensione oasis villa in Palm Springs, or if you’re in Edmonton, Alberta and up for a short flight, you can experience the natural beauty of the Athabasca forest in nearby Fort McMurray.

Get Involved in Unique Outdoor Activities

If you’re planning a team building event rather than the usual conference or typical business meeting, consider doing it outside of the comfort zone of your team’s day-to-day city lives, and explore what the countryside has to offer instead. This change of pace can lead to once-in-a-lifetime experiences that can be a huge help in building longtime bonds and unforgettable stories.

While team building events in the city can often be meaningful and bring your team closer together, the impact of sharing a completely new experience in relatively unknown environments can really leave a lasting mark on how your team sees each other. The great outdoors of the countryside encourage a bigger sense of adventure, challenge, and fun that simply can’t be replicated in between office towers in the downtown core.

Depending on the destination and time of year, your team building activities can include a large variety of unique experiences. You can do everything from hiking in the woods outside of your hotel, sailing the waterfront outside of your cozy maritime meeting venue, to skiing the slopes alongside your mountain resort. The variety of countryside activities are nearly endless, but no matter what you choose to do, it’s certain that your team will never forget it!

Michael Smith is an Inbound Marketing Consultant at Powered By Search, writing on behalf of Quality Hotel Fort McMurray offering hotel rooms and meeting space in northern Alberta, Canada.