How you should be planning for the return of the Marketing Event

With media attention concerning a return of the business and marketing event in Autumn, more and more businesses are gearing up for the Return of the Marketing Event (capitals absolutely necessary!) - but there’s a problem. With little to no information about what shape these events might take, when it might happen, and what the business world will look like once it does, how can you make effective plans?

Here, Fluid’s MD Miles Lovegrove gives advice on how to effectively plan for the return of the much-missed marketing event...

How you should be planning for the return of the Marketing Event
How you should be planning for the return of the Marketing Event

Not planning your next event? You might want to reconsider.

I wrote recently about how pausing your marketing efforts might not be such a good idea - and that also goes for planning future events once the lockdown is lifted. The simple fact is that your competitors are very likely to be all making the most of the current situation to fully utilise their time in isolation - and to do a whole load of planning.

Many people and businesses will have time on their hands and may be able to help - so don’t wait to see what happens. Engage with them now and see what they can bring to the table. Keep in contact with your designers, suppliers, customers and stakeholders to let them know you are there and ready to do business as soon as restrictions are lifted.

Ask yourself - how will you engage with your customers and suppliers in the emerging new environment? Are you able to adapt and continue to provide relevance? What will they be looking for, and how can you make sure that your business, product or service is the first one they turn to?

Marketing events have always played a key role in launching and promoting products and services, but the future may look very different. Here’s a few things to consider.

Choose your location wisely

It may no longer be feasible to have all of your target audience at the venue. Bear in mind that the hospitality industry and transport services will not all recover immediately. One way around this is to consider the use of technology to bring people together in imaginative ways.

Make sure you research venues that will be able to provide cutting edge technology and use these technologies in your planning. Can you combine live-streaming with a live audience to create a hybrid experience for all? How can you engage both at once? Use the expertise of your chosen venue to bring solutions and deliver your message to your audience in a way that they won’t forget.

Get your agenda straight

What can you offer to draw people in? What will inspire your customers to stay loyal, but also attract a new following? What will their priorities be? Look at potential ways you can adapt your goods and services to be (and remain) relevant in the coming months and years - and keep asking yourself what sets you apart from the competition, making sure this is communicated effectively to your audience.

Guest speakers and subject matter experts

Expert speakers and guests are a great way of communicating your subject matter, and securing the right people to speak at your event is key.

Who do you (or your audience) want to hear from at your event? What value can they add in promoting your business? See if you can secure their services now, or book a tentative slot. Sooner or later, they are going to be inundated with requests, and you may find it hard to nail them down.

Promotional Products and Branded Merchandise

How will you get yourself noticed? Currently, customer contact is more impactive than ever, with reduced communication and people in isolation.

Engage your suppliers - trust me, they’ll have been thinking about this, and they will have some imaginative ideas to help you stay relevant to your customers. What can you offer them now to keep them on board and ready to engage at your big event? Can you whet their appetite with a ‘taster dish’ of what is to come?

So, use your time wisely in these difficult times and be prepared to respond to new priorities. Social distancing, home working, reduced travel, increased attention to hygiene and personal safety, and increased reliance on technology are all here to stay for the foreseeable future. Make sure you’re ready to inspire your customers with relevant products and services that they will desire in whatever becomes the new ‘normal’.

Get ahead with planning your marketing events, and don’t be constrained by the traditional, tried and tested routines. Retain the best venues and most charismatic guest speakers. Design and develop promotional products that can market your new and relevant goods and services.

These are uncertain times, but one thing will always remain a constant - planning for success is never a bad idea.