79% of experiential marketers say in the coming years, live events will become increasingly important to their organizations’ success*. Brands seem to agree: According to Bizzabo,** the average chief marketing officer allocates 24% of their budget to live events, and the majority of event marketers plan to invest 63% more into live events.
For all that investment to be worth it, you can’t just try something out and hope for the best! Instead, event marketing needs to be approached strategically. Events based on an experiential marketing strategy will align better with your brand objectives than events that are born from creativity alone. Using experiential marketing strategy also allows your brand to be more proactive, navigate possible organizational challenges, and ultimately deliver more impactful experiences to the consumer.
What is Strategic Planning?
According to bdc, strategic planning “determines exactly where your organization is going over the next few years and how it’s going to get there. A strategic plan is a coordinated and systematic way to develop a course and direction for your company.” Strategic planning may happen when starting a business, when markets are changing, and/or when preparing for a new venture, such as launching a product. As events and experiential marketing are often used to launch products or to re-introduce a brand to the modern marketplace, they are a perfect time to incorporate strategic planning.
Generally, strategic planning includes elements such as developing a vision statement, identifying core values, analyzing a brand’s strengths and weaknesses, and establishing goals and an action plan. Sound complicated? It doesn’t have to be! In simple terms, being strategic means taking time to step back, research your brand and your market, and get everyone on the same page. In this blog, we’ll show you how to apply some of the principles of strategic planning to events.
Strategic Planning for Events
Step 1: The Mission
The very first step is to understand the brand’s mission or goals for success. A marketing strategy can’t be developed if you don’t know what outcome you are striving to receive. For event marketers, it’s also important to know who the relevant stakeholders are and gather their perspectives.
Step 2: Do Your Research
During this step, take the time to investigate internal and external factors affecting the business. Illuminate both the brand’s strengths and the challenges they face. Identify industry trends and where the brand stands in the marketplace. Look at data from past events to determine what has worked and what hasn’t. Once you’ve done your research, you can develop objectives. Think long-term goals: what you do in this event could impact your next event, and you should think about how this event will fit into achieving your brand’s long-term goals.
Step 3: Understand Your Audience
What do your customers want to get out of your event? What kind of events would your customers want to attend? What do they expect from your brand? The only way to answer these questions is by talking to your customers and getting feedback. Events should always be designed with the audience in mind. And don’t assume that you know your customer: Sometimes the audience changes, and your process should include adjusting to the evolving tastes of consumers.
Step 4: Action Plan
This step is where you move from the more abstract, such as mission, values, and long-term goals, and into actual tactics for the event. Develop a course of action. How will customers be engaged? How will the event be marketed? What equipment is needed? Who should we hire? All of these details are important to a flawlessly executed event.
Step 5: Implementation (and Adjustment)
You know your brand’s mission. You’ve identified long-term goals and objectives. You’d done your research, and you know what your customers want. The logistics have been sorted. Now, it’s time to put the plan into action! Keep focused and energized by having regular appointments or meetings to evaluate progress. Although the word “plan” in strategic planning suggests that everything is set once the event starts, the process is dynamic. You will need to regularly measure the results of the plan to see if you are accomplishing your goals, and adjust your tactics as needed. Data you can look at include sales or revenue, event attendance, or audience satisfaction.
Last Step: The Final Review
Finally, once the event is over, look at the data that was collected. Compare the results of the event to your identified objectives. You can always take what you’ve learned and apply it to your next event.
Unless you’re a seasoned event marketer, all of those steps probably sound like a lot of work. That’s why experiential marketing professionals such as Pro Motion are great partners for planning events. For example, Pro Motion worked with Duck Tape to create The Duck Tape Pop-Up Store.The goal of the pop-up store was to showcase Duck Tape as the undisputed creative leader in the duct tape industry and to leverage the partnership with Project Runway. Pro Motion provided marketing strategies, developed the idea of the pop-up story, logistics and operations, including: store staff and management, retail operations and development, permitting, site negotiations, street teams and runway models. Over 12 days, more than 15,000 shoppers visited the store, and the pop-up generated approximately 37.5 million media impressions.
Our proprietary Success Process provides the opportunity to truly understand the need and build the right program to exceed expectations. To get started, call Pro Motion today at 636.812.3757
Learn More About Steve Randazzo’s book, Brand Experiences: Building Connections in a Digitally Cluttered World. Click here to download 2 free chapters!
*2018 EA Experiential Marketing Trend Report
**Event Marketing 2018: Benchmarks And Trends