Events are becoming an increasingly important element of the marketing mix. Well-designed marketing events effectively engage existing and prospective clients. Examples of marketing events include product launches, trade shows, showcases, roadshows, guerilla marketing events, pop-up events, client appreciation events, and sponsorship events (i.e. events designed and executed by event sponsors).
To be effective, all business events, including marketing events, must be built on a solid foundation of return on investment (R.O.I.). Once you have pinpointed the objectives for your event and how you will measure R.O.I. for an event, consider:
- core messages that are directly related to your objectives (this should drive content)
- the target market and its demographics
Event design decisions will fall out of a clear understanding of objectives, core messages, and the target market.
According to the Event Leadership Institute, an event designer is “the artist, idea-maker and aesthetic visionary behind the event”. Event designers work with clients to determine the shape that events will take to achieve their objectives. Last year, the University of San Diego and MPI teamed up to create the first global event design certificate.
Corporate Event Design Essentials
1. Content: The goals and objectives of the events are key drivers for content decisions. High production values and fancy décor can never make up for weak content or messaging. Potential clients will walk away confused. Event participants will leave disappointed and frustrated.
2. Content Delivery Methods: For conferences and workshops, avoid a parade of “talking heads” and use a variety of delivery methods that appeal to the demographics of the group. Experiment with games, simulations, panels, breakout sessions, crackerbarrel sessions, and roundtables. Pop-up events and flash sales can be highly effective in building brand awareness and boosting sales.
3. Event Format: Determine if the event should be face-to-face, virtual, or a hybrid.
Experiential marketing events that deliver emotional engagement and appeal to all senses create a total brand experience. Examples include guerilla marketing events, pop-up events, pop-up shops, and flash mobs.
Activations and installations bring brands to life. They can have some longevity if captured by video.
4. Theme: Themes are powerful vehicles for underscoring and reinforcing content and messaging. They can be a source of strong metaphors, analogies, examples, and anecdotes to help participants remember the content or consumers to recall brand messaging. Themes will facilitate decisions about venues, décor, props, and even catering.
5. Venue: For face-to-face meetings, select venues that underscore your theme, accommodate the selected delivery methods, and promote interaction among participants. Venues can be on-site or off-site, indoor or outdoor. By choosing a venue that reinforces your theme, you can minimize expenditures on décor and props.
It can be helpful to select venues such as shopping malls, trade shows, forums, association events, and festivals where members of your target market already congregate.This Pictionary guerilla marketing event created an exciting brand experience in a shopping mall environment.
6. Technology: Technology can help convey the content and underscore the theme. It can also add excitement to events and engage participants.
Here is how Southwest Airlines used technology to unveil its new branding in a compelling manner.
Consult 8 Keys to Integrating Emerging Technology into Events for tips on selecting and integrating technology
7. Décor: Décor is an essential ingredient for engaging visual learners. Nothing puts them to sleep faster than a drab environment. Lipton used a giant tea bag to transform ordinary tea tastings at malls:
8. Props: Props and tactile objects are important for engaging kinaesthetic learners. Aim to make marketing events as hands-on as possible.
9. Catering: Catering is important to keep the energy of participants high and minimize gaps in programming. Event themes can also be reflected through careful catering choices.
10. Entertainment: Entertainment is important for all kinds of events. It can consist of live or video performances, interludes during breaks, and energizers during slow times of the day. Again, let your content and theme be your guides. Whenever possible, build in the element of surprise.
Corporate Events: Taking Shape
Effective marketing events don’t just happen. They involve a carefully designed strategy and ample time for planning and managing the myriad details that must come together to create and execute compelling events.
- Selling through new technology to executives? Always an interesting conversation. We’ve got 7 strategies to share that might help.
- Wondering how you might promote event technology with attendees to ramp up adoption? Or understand what your event app analytics really mean? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Event App Marketing.