It’s easy to get marketing strategy, marketing plans, and marketing tactics confused. However, your marketing strategy is the approach you’ll take to achieve your goals. Your marketing plan is your blueprint for achieving those goals, and the tactics are the specific actions that you’ll take to achieve those goals.
Marketing is crucial to your event not only because it fills the room, but because it’s also the very first experience new attendees have with your event. As you embark on creating your marketing plan, think about what kind of impression you want to set.
Use the following steps as a guide to creating your event’s marketing plan:
Step 1: Set Goals
Review overall event goals and set marketing goals that are in alignment with them.
Step 2: Identify your Budget
Big or small, you should be aware of the budget allocated to your marketing efforts. Printing, advertisements – it all costs money and you’ll need to be aware of the constraints before embarking. While these constraints will set limits on certain things, they’ll also show you where you can get creative.
Step 3: Gather your Core Team
Your team is your number one resource when marketing your event. When you first begin your planning, take stock of who you currently have on your team. Having at least one other mind in your core team who is committed to marketing can greatly help throughout the entire marketing process, especially in the early stages.
Your core team would include anyone in marketing who can help you get organized and create your strategy. You can bring in the subject matter experts (designers, videographers, copywriters) once you’ve created your overarching strategy.
Here’s a quick list of questions you should start asking yourself/your team early on:
· What kind of internal communication will we need?
· What kind of external communication will we need?
· What digital assets will we need?
· What communication tools should we use?
While it’s highly likely that you won’t know all the answers, or even the questions, until later when you’ve identified your tactics, this is a great time to start preparing. You can build on this list as your marketing advances.
Step 4: Analyze and Review Existing Strategies
Strategies may already exist in three facets: past marketing strategies for this event, the current marketing strategy for the organization putting on the event (the brand), and the strategies in use by partnering or competing events.
Looking to the past will help you learn what’s gone well in terms of marketing this event, and what’s not gone so well. You’ll save money, time, and headaches if you do this. This will go especially well if you have access to the following information:
· Past attendee demographics
· How past attendees heard about the event
· RSVP’s vs tickets sold
· App downloads
· Social media interactions
Step 5: Create your Strategy
Before even creating a Facebook event, sending out an email, or creating a digital flier, create your strategy statement. A strategy statement clearly states your goal and your overall approach to achieving this goal, and is created to be in alignment with the brand’s strategy.
If your brand doesn’t have a strategy, you can kill two birds with one stone and invite the brand marketing team in on this process.
Once you’ve finalized your strategies, you can begin to weave together the document that will clearly lay out your master plan: the marketing plan.
Step 6: Build your Marketing Plan
Marketing plans come in all shapes and sizes. However, a strong marketing plan usually consists of the following components:
· Competitive analysis
· Specific marketing tactics
· SWOT analysis
· Branding guidelines Event strategies and brand strategies
· The brand’s mission statement
Once you’ve created the marketing plan, share it with everyone on your team!
Step 7: Revisit your Team Needs
Do you have all the people resources to accomplish what you’ve outlined in your plan?
Will you need to bring on a PR agency? Designers? Your needs will different, but the following is a list of subject matters experts and additional help you might need to bring on:
· Public relations experts
· Graphic Designers
· Web Designers
· Street team (flier distribution)
· Strategic partnership liaison
· Social media team
· Digital asset manager
· Marketing project manager
After completing steps one through seven, you should have a solid framework for creating a winning marketing plan that will help you reach your goals and build momentum for your event.