Is Your Event Marketing Working?

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Marketing experts* like Pam Slim get asked, constantly, why other’s marketing isn’t working; Twitter hasn’t brought any sales they say, or Facebook ads ROI hasn’t been what they expected. Name a digitally-based service, and there’s a story of woe about how time and money spent with it hasn’t produced results promised.

The problem here isn’t the tools, and it may not be the product or service offered, but rather the idea that marketing is just like advertising. That marketing should have a direct, trackable impact (it certainly may, but usually not as immediately as a print or online advertisement). That marketing will solve all of your event or business woes.

Marketing is a relationship. It’s not a coupon, it’s not just a series of tweets, and it’s not a QR code that saves $10 off event registration. And it takes a heckuva lot longer than the weeks or months leading up to your event. It’s a full-time, always-on practice that often costs more time than money. So how can you check if your marketing is working?

Are you keeping tabs on who clicks on your newsletters, how many people use your landing page to register, and how many people followed check-in instructions? You should be. Check out something like MailChimp and UnBounce to get these things done.

Data is great, as long as you know how to interpret it. While we don’t profess to be customer data experts, tracking and recording customer behavioral information is an integral first step in understanding how your choices affect your customers’.

If your analysis revealed site visitors preferred 30 second videos over 90 second ones (LoopLogic can reveal this sort of data), are you in a position to act? Far too many content creators spend more time gather and analyzing data than acting on it, a huge mistake in a digital world that can be changed fairly easily.

HubSpot has great tutorials if you’re just getting started.

*Not certain Slim would cop to being a marketing expert, but she’s able to answer marketing industry questions well and often, so we’re comfortable labeling her as such.

Our Take On Event Marketing Lies

Famed marketing guru Seth Godin will tell you that All Marketers Are Liars Tell Stories, but you probably already knew that. It isn’t often that the general public can’t see through flimsy stories and contrived responses when it comes to what we’d think would be simple, straightforward answers to our questions.

But lying is a strong word. Just like advertising tries to convince you to take action by focusing on either a) what the product/service can improve for you or b) how far you’re behind and how the product/service can keep you from losing it all, event marketing professionals tell a variety of tales to whet consumer appetites.

We’re fans of the Event Manager Blog, and wanted to share our take on their top 10 event marketing lies. You ready? Read on!

Space Is Never Limited
No, really, it’s not. Marketers know that scarcity drives people to action, so we say this to drum up interest. While I’m sure most marketers would love not to employ this obvious lie, it works far too well to not.

Tickets Will Sell Out Soon!
Again, people are drawn to scarcity. If tickets are selling fast, it must mean a ton of people want to go, which means they should want to go, which means they should buy their ticket because space is limited. Not usually true, but again, this works well.

run easy - evento a milano

Early Bird Pricing
We love limited time deals like early bird pricing, but are also infuriated when tickets drop below that discounted price right before the event date. All this does is convince attendees to wait until the last minute next year, which presents serious staffing and resource issues.

Add value. Market more. Advertise, too. But don’t screw over the early birds first adopters. They like you too much.

Only On InsertSocialNetworkHere
If it’s only on Facebook, I’d better not see it on a newsletter, Google+ page or in a tweet. Seriously. Exclusivity is fun and makes people feel special, but when it’s a lie it hurts.

Our Event Reaches Eleventy Kajillion Industry Experts!
Suuuuuuuuuurrrrrrrre it does. For this trick to work, it’s best to showcase a few prominent people, along with bios and company information. Attendees are better able to connect with one or two faces than eleventy kajillion mysterious strangers on a list.

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Featuring Interactive Sessions!
Q&A time is barely interactive, so please stop counting it as such. When attendees think of interactive, they think hands on, moving around the room, we’re going to be able to take something away from this and show our people, not that they had 30 second answer to a specific question that no one else in the room wanted to know about.

Biggest Event In/On the Industry/Country/Planet/Universe!
Here’s a secret that no one has yet told the event planners of the Miss Universe Pageant: we know you didn’t search the entire universe! Sure the name is just a marketing ploy, but why not be specific about your event and work on under promising while over delivering?

That or we’d better see some trips to planets besides Mars here soon.

Members-Only Event
Exclusivity isn’t a bad thing, but a members only event should mean a members only event. That means no surcharge for non-members and even a limited number of +1s. If you’re going to write an event marketing script, stick to it please.

All Attendees To Become Experts!
Pretty heady promise there, no? While educating attendees is a good thing, promising to make them experts in at the most a few days seems irresponsible at best. Let’s focus on improvement and forgo the buzz words.

Connect With Potential Employers/Colleagues/Clients/Professionals
Networking is good, but unless your event has some sort of planned activity that encourages and facilitates networking opportunities besides exchanging business cards, let’s save obvious attempts to sway attendees for the real stuff, like famous keynote speakers.

Please let us know if you see these phrases on any events we work with. We’ll do our best to set marketers straight.