Successful salespeople have both expert product knowledge and effective sales skills. Expert product knowledge is essential in today’s competitive environment. The expertise the salesperson demonstrates regarding the sponsorship package or other event component will differentiate this person from the competition. More important than sales skills, demonstrated product expertise shows the client that he or she is making a purchase that has added value and helps to develop confidence as well as long-term loyalty.
Every event product combines history, quality, and value to produce a unique program. Even new events may draw from the experience or history of the organizers. This demonstration of consistent capability to produce similar events will influence prospective clients to recognize the overall quality of the event organization. Finally, every event product must convey not only perceived value, such as dollar-for-dollar worth but also added value. The concept of added value is perhaps best described with the Cajun word lagniappe. This term literally means “everything one deserves and a little bit more.” The little bit more may mean providing the client with the home telephone number of the key contact person, developing a unique approach to achieving the event objectives, or perhaps simply spending additional time with the client to better understand his or her needs.
You may have the best-quality event product, but unless you have a strategic plan for promoting this product, it will remain the best kept secret in the world. Even large, well-known mega events such as the Super Bowl, Rose Parade, and Olympic Games require well-developed promotion strategies to achieve the success they require.
Following is a systematic checklist to assist you with identifying and budgeting for your event promotion:
1. Identify all event elements that require promotion from the proposal through the final evaluation.
2. Develop strategies for allocating scarce event promotion resources with efficient methods.
3. Identify promotion partners to share costs.
4. Target your promotion carefully to those market segments that will support your event.
5. Measure and analyze your promotion efforts throughout the campaign to make corrections as required.
The promotion strategy you identify for your event requires a careful study of past or comparable efforts, expert guidance from people who have specific expertise in this field, and most important, setting benchmarks for specific measurement of your individual promotion activities.
There are a variety of ways to measure promotion efforts. First, you may measure awareness by your target market. Anticipation of the event may be tantamount to ultimate participation. Next, you may measure actual attendance and the resulting investment. Finally, you may measure the post-event attitudes of the event promotional activity. Did the promotions you designed persuade the participants or guests to attend the event? Promotion is the engine that drives the awareness of your event by others. Throughout event history, legendary promoters have realized that you must shamelessly promote your event product to attract the attention of the public. However, it is essential that event managers carefully select those media outlets that will precisely target the market segments that are appropriate for their events. Targeting promotion strategies is essential to ensure the alignment of the event’s attributes with the needs, wants, and desires of potential attendees.
Market research will help you determine price. Part of this market research will include conducting a competitive analysis study of other organizations offering similar event products. You may initially believe that your product is uniquely different from every other event. However, when you interview potential ticket buyers or guests you may be surprised to learn that they consider your event similar to many others. Therefore, you must carefully list all competing events and the prices being charged to help you determine the appropriate price for your event.
Typically, two factors determine price. First, the event manager must determine the financial philosophy of the event. If the event is a not-for-profit venture, the organization may not be concerned with a large commercial yield from the event. Instead, the philosophical purpose of the event may be to generate overall awareness and support. However, if the event is a commercial venture, the goal is probably to generate the greatest potential net profit. Once the philosophy is clear, the event manager will be able to determine price. The price must reflect the cost of all goods and services required to produce the event plus a margin of profit or retained earnings.
The second factor is the perceived competition from similar events. If your event ticket costs $ Notes 100 and does not offer the same perceived value as a similar event selling for $ 50, your prospective guests are more likely to select the latter event. Therefore, you must be price-competitive. Becoming price-competitive does not mean lowering your ticket price. Rather, it may require raising the perception of value (as discussed earlier) to justify the slightly higher price.
These two factors—the cost of doing business and the marketplace competition—certainly influence price. A third area that may also influence price is the general economic conditions, not only in your area, but also the region, your country, and increasingly, the world. During times of recession, some events with lower ticket prices will flourish while other upscale-event products may not be as successful. Keep a close eye on market economic indicators to make certain that your price matches the purchasing power of your target market.
Advertising is what you say about your event, whereas public relations is what others (or that perception) are saying about your event. Since many events require a second-party endorsement or even review to encourage people to attend, public relations is significantly more valuable and effective than traditional advertising.
In the 1930s and 1940s public relations consisted primarily of press agents who worked diligently to convince the print media to devote editorial space to their clients. With the influence of leaders such as Edward Bernays, the public relations effort soon became more complex and respected. Bernays recognized the psychological factors that govern a person’s decision-making ability. Therefore, he advocated that public relations professionals first engage in research, including focus groups, to determine the values, attitudes, and lifestyles of their target markets and carefully match their messages to these important factors.
Today, in many event marketing campaigns, public relations is at least equal to and in many cases, even more important than traditional advertising. However, public relations involve much more than merely grinding out a short press release.
The effective event public relations campaign will involve research with event consumers as well as the media; the development of collateral materials such as media kits, fact sheets, and other tangibles; the organization and implementation of media conferences; the development of a speaker’s bureau; and on-site media relations assistance at the event.
Event public relations help create the overall impression that others will develop about your event. In that regard it is significantly more valuable than advertising because it implies greater credibility.
Use the power of public relations to beat the drum loudly for your event. Carefully select those public relations tools that will most effectively and cost efficiently help you inform and persuade others to support your event.
In real estate, location is everything. In event marketing, distribution of your product may be everything as well. The location of your event often determines the channels of distribution. If your event is located in a rural area, not only may it be difficult to promote the event due to limited media resources, but it may also be difficult for your target market to make the purchase due to logistical restraints.
The place where you locate your event ultimately will determine the marketing efforts you must exude to drive sales. For example, it has been shown that those events that are close to inexpensive, safe public transportation or those events that feature closed-in reasonably priced parking will attract more guests than those that do not offer these amenities. Furthermore, those events that are connected to other nearby attractions or infrastructures (such as shopping malls) may also draw more attendees due to the time efficiency of the destination. For upscale events, the addition of valet parking may improve the chances of attracting guests to a new or non-traditional location.
The event manager must seriously consider place when designing the marketing program for the event. Place not only implies the taste or style of the event, it also, in large part, defines the type of person that will be persuaded to invest in the event. In this regard, the event marketer must determine the place in the early stages through research and design. This is the perfect time to convene a focus group or conduct a survey to determine who is likely to attend your event when they are given a variety of location choices. Making certain you have thoughtfully analysed this important issue will save you time and money throughout the entire event marketing process.