HOW TO GET THE MOST VALUE FROM YOUR EVENT PRESENCE AND BUDGET

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Agricultural shows are firmly back on the calendar this summer in their usual sociable formats, and with them the power of in-person communication not only for several of our clients who are exhibiting, but also for us as we concentrate on businesses with an environmental focus.

However, these events offer far more than just the opportunity to connect with existing customers over a coffee or beer. They provide businesses with a chance to promote themselves to a new audience, launch a project or initiative, and gather valuable leads to follow up and convert once the show is a distant memory.

A presence at a large regional or national show can be seen as expensive – the stand, the hospitality, the collateral and merchandise, and the employee hours all add up.

We’ve been working with our clients to make sure they get the very most out of their investment before, during and after the show, to ensure that their activity over a couple of days in June becomes the gift that keeps on giving for the rest of the year.

Here’s how:

We find out what the client is hoping to achieve, and with what budget

Are they catching up with current customers? Attracting new customers? If so, what’s the demographic? Are they promoting a new product or offer? 

The answers to these questions are what the event marketing plan is based on so it’s essential we find out in as much detail as possible.

Are the goals tangible, such as aiming to attract 50 new leads? Or are they intangible, and about relationships and brand awareness or launching a new product or service?

Early in the process, pitch bookings, printing costs and equipment hire all need to be taken into account, so everyone is aware how much money can be allocated to the creative part of the event plan and tied back to the results afterwards.

We create a plan to cover the lifespan of the campaign

Not just a plan for the event itself, but for before and after the event as well.

The key areas of the plan are:

Messaging

What is the key message? This content will direct the creation of all the collateral required, as well as the channels via which the event will be promoted and when. Our team and the client team all need to be aware of the message so we’re all spreading the same word.

Design

In recent months we’ve both created brands from scratch, and refreshed existing brands. A brand isn’t simply a logo and a font of course, it is the behaviour of a business, which is even more important at in-person events. We talk to clients and their customers to ensure the whole ethos of the brand, from the colours to the mission statement, align with the values of the target audience.

Early planning ensures the audience becomes familiar with the brand through whichever channel it’s delivered long before the event itself.

We create a suite of brand assets so everything is to hand throughout the campaign, whether we’re arranging for banners to be printed, or distributing press releases to the media.

We tie online and offline strategies together for the most effective measurement of activity and success

Digital or online marketing is often considered superior because the data it produces is easier to gather and anlayse. 

But offline marketing can be just as effective, and at an industry specific event it is often more so. Merchandise increases brand awareness, and putting tangible printed collateral that cannot be deleted or missed into the hands of a potential customer is very powerful indeed.

BUT, it’s essential to make the impact of the offline marketing materials as measurable as possible. This is where we come in to blend the two channels as seamlessly as possible. 

Our marketing strategy for events regularly includes the creation of an event-specific website landing page that can be reached using a URL or QR code, often referring to the event itself, possibly with an offer only available to event attendees.

In this way, data can still be gathered, and a fresh audience nurtured and encouraged towards conversion over the coming months. Ultimately, the client will gain a solid understanding of whether the event has driven revenue, and to what extent it should be part of the overall marketing mix in the future.

Promotion in all the right places

Prior to an event, we identify a target audience, but this is never set in stone. As the promotional phase continues, engagement and reaction are measured, and targets adjusted. 

Multi-channel marketing is key at this point, and we consider social media, email marketing, industry press, area specific broadcast media, PPC ads, and out-of-home media.

We keep a close eye on website analytics, which give us insight into website traffic, and begin to understand the audience well before they’ve even walked into the event.

After the event, the audience has not only grown and become more defined, but re-marketing is then deployed to ensure anybody who has shown an interest, is contacted in the most appropriate way.

We’re here to help you to squeeze every drop out of your event budget, and ensure it impacts the direction and growth of your business for many months to come.