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The Ins and Outs of Event Marketing 101

The city where I reside has, within the past 10 months alone, been in the global spotlight for two major events we’ve hosted: those being the pope’s visit and the Democratic National Convention. The week before the DNC, Cleveland hosted the Republican Convention and the week after it, the Olympics started in Rio.

Have you ever run an event? It is a lot of work, isn’t it? There is the venue, marketing, finance, food, logistics, technology, speaker selection and on and on.

Venue

Should you hold your meeting at a hotel? I have been to meetings in churches, firehouses, libraries, four-star hotels and just about everything in-between.

Hotels turn revenue with their meeting space. They are looking for the most yield for each meeting. If you are not booking sleeping rooms, food and beverage (F&B) or audio visual (AV) - have fun! Most major properties will only rent to you if absolutely nothing else is happening.

Marketing

Bob Pike from The Bob Pike Group in Minnesota says it takes at least 10 weeks to properly market an event. Naturally, he’s talking about something much smaller than the kinds of events I mentioned at the top of this post.

Finance

How much should you charge? How are you going to collect the money? Will there be a waiting list? You can use Eventbrite, Meetup or TicketLeap for smaller events.

Cvent, Lanyon, etouches and Regonline are for larger meetings where your reporting and archiving needs are greater. Keep it as simple as possible. Take money up front. Do not collect at the door. Just have them register on your site at the meeting. Wait lists can get ugly. It doesn’t hurt to know that many planners overbook, assuming attrition at the time of the meeting.

Food

Will the location hosting the event provide the attendees with food? When during the meeting will the food be served? Will the serving of it interfere with the presentations?

The catering department will work with you on menus, etc. They generally have the pulse of the latest requirements, allergies, gluten free, light snacks vs full meals.

Logistics & Transportation

Can you imagine all the logistics that go into these events? High touch meetings supply transport for attendees and speakers from airport to venue, etc. This can range from buses and shared rides – all the way to personal limos.

Technology

Will sound enhancement be needed in order for the attendees to hear the speakers? What kind of microphone(s) will be used? Does the speaker need a lavalier mike or can they get by with a handheld or lectern microphone? Will another (cordless) mike be needed to take questions from the audience?

The size of meeting will drive this parameter. This is your “product!” Most venues will work with you based on the size of the room. It is another source of revenue for them.

Meetings and Events Training Consultant Mark Stevens recently spoke at a venue that provided entire production staff. They had microphones, projection equipment, an online presence (including iPads for audience interaction, posting poll results and questions). They had a director, creative specialist and much more.

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Speaker Selection

What presenter(s) will energize the attendees from the outset? Which ones will challenge them? Which will send them off into the world with a spring in their step? How much will it cost to get those speakers to speak?

If you are looking for a place to start with speaker selection, you can start here .

Bottom Line

There is a $3 billion industry of meeting pros that do this every day. Enter the world of gratuities, portage, signage, hotel sales support, master bills and negotiation on hotel rack rates for everything in the meeting. The bigger the meeting, the earlier you need to book it.

And you thought it was hard to mobilize a dozen leaders for your Rotary Club’s weekly get together! We didn’t even touch on security requirements in this post.

If you are a book author, imagine how many books you could sell at a meeting like one of the many that are held all over the world each and every day. Remember, if you are a speaker, you have a captive audience – and it is a tremendous opportunity to sell copies of your work. Don’t miss out!