A strategic marketing plan is the foundation of every successful meeting. After all, the best program with the most insightful speakers and most compelling design elements doesn’t matter if no one actually shows up. From April 23–25, I had a chance to hear from some of the most creative marketers in the travel industry at the DMAI CMO Summit at the Four Seasons in Denver. The audience of chief marketing officers for destination organizations may not be promoting meetings and events, but their lessons in selling cities and states can be applied to anyone trying to drive interest and awareness around an experience. Here’s a look at how four of the most valuable takeaways from the summit speak directly to event marketers.
1) Get Specific.
A trade show or a conference with four days’ worth of sessions, speakers, exhibitors, and receptions has loads of material to entice prospective attendees. However, instead of trumpeting the massive number of opportunities to do, see, and learn, event marketers may be better off picking a few of the holy-grail items on the agenda.
“We shoot too big as marketers,” Jay Baer, founder of strategy consulting firm Convince & Convert, said in the summit’s opening general session. “We need to focus on narrowcasting instead of broadcasting. Get specific. Specificity creates relevancy.”
2) Avoid Overusing Your Call-to-Action.
Register for the meeting before the early bird deadline! Register today! Have you registered for the biggest event all year?
Sound familiar? Every event marketer is working to build interest that eventually leads to registration. However, that objective can easily make marketers feel like they must include an invitation to buy, register, or pay in every social media post. Baer highlighted that marketers must balance calls-to-action with real storytelling. “Smart marketing is about help,” Baer said, “not hype.”
Rather than constantly touting why people to need to pay to be there, event marketers should aim to tell stories about the components of the program that will truly matter to prospective attendees. Is there a past attendee who would be willing to write a first-person blog post to share his or her story of the how a new career opportunity opened up as a result of the event? Could the education chair offer some personal thoughts on the big trends and issues that have shaped the program?
3) Go Live.
Marketing materials have historically been polished, edited, fine-tuned, and carefully crafted. In today’s digital landscape, though, it’s okay to offer an unedited — maybe even gritty — look at your organization via Facebook Live, Periscope, or any of the other easy-to-use live-video technologies.
“Live video is the most significant leap in social media since the creation of the iPhone,” Joel Comm, CEO of social media consulting firm InfoMedia, told the summit audience.
For an example of its power, consider this Facebook Live video from Visit Denver, which showcased a new tiger exhibit at the city’s zoo. With more than 60,000 views and 200-plus shares, the low-budget, four-minute video managed to capture plenty of attention without requiring loads of dollars or resources. There are simple ways to leverage the same approach with a meeting. Consider a 30-second invitation from a keynote speaker, a two-minute tour of the on-site environment before attendees arrive, or an off-the-cuff in-office interview with your CEO.
4) Repurpose, Repurpose, Repurpose.
Baer lives by what he calls the 1 x 8 Rule: For every one good piece of content you create, you should use it in eight different ways. For example, let’s say you capture a three-minute live video interview of one of the subject-matter experts who will be appearing in the educational program. The first iteration of the video engages live viewers on Facebook. Then, edit the video for a 15- to 30-second Instagram video. Consider writing a blog post with a complete transcription of the interview, and feature it in a newsletter. Perhaps you can share the three most memorable quotes in separate posts on Twitter over a period of three days. You get the picture — each piece of content you create can have a much longer lifespan.
“Success is not about making more content,” Baer said. “It’s about atomizing the content you’re already creating.”
Looking for more insights to update your event-marketing plan? Make sure you’re not making this big mistake.