The Keys to Event Marketing – Part 1: Know Your Audience



There are a multitude of reasons for organizations to host events, but planners and marketers tend to agree that the top reason is to build brand awareness, which will increase revenue or engagement, depending on what kind of organization.  To grow this awareness and drive revenue via an event, you must first generate interest, deliver registrations, and ensure attendance.  In this post, we’ll cover steps that should take place before you even hit send on the first email, post the first tweet, or spend your first dollar on a Google Ad.

Where it All Begins – The Target Audience:
There are multiple channels and tactics that can be used to get the word out about an event: email, social posts, direct mail, word-of-mouth, paid search ads, print ads, etc.  But before you choose how to reach prospective attendees, you must first consider the following – Who is your ideal audience? What do you know about them?  Why would they be interested in attending your event?  How will you reach them and persuade them to spend their money and time at your event?

Increase Relevancy by List Segmentation:
Once you have answered these questions and narrowed down your target audience, now consider how you segment them. By industry? By geography? By job title/job function?  By attendee type? Segmentation of your contact list will allow you to tailor your outbound messaging, such as email invites and paid digital ads, to be more relevant to the audience on which you are trying to reach.

Take IMC’s Integrate conference – the team marketing the event is targeting a variety of attendee types: previous attendees, speakers, professors, current students, former students, prospective students, industry professionals, and sponsors.  Imagine if they used the same messaging to try to invite someone to be a speaker as they did to invite a current student to participate… both the speaker and the current student would most likely delete that email because they wouldn’t think it was relevant to them.

Personalize with Data Tags:
Segmentation is the first step to being relevant and the second is using the information you know to personalize your communications.  Do you know their first name?  Use the <Insert First Name> data tag in the greeting to address them at the start of the email.  Do you know what industry they are in or company they work for?  Direct them to a page on the event website that is relevant to <insert industry here> professionals.  Were they an attendee at last year’s event?  Add a note at the top of the direct mail piece acknowledging that, something like: “We hope you enjoyed Integrate 2016.  We’re excited to invite you to join us again this year!”

Know Your Audience & Use It to Your Advantage:
In our world, nearly every experience is tailored to each person.  It is imperative that you look at all the information you know prior to launching your event marketing campaign.  Then see how you can use that information to make prospective attendees feel as if you are personally inviting them to your event.

Jennifer Maltba began her journey with the IMC program in August 2012; graduating in December 2014. Her favorite thing about the program was its ‘learn today, use tomorrow’ philosophy, which she felt truly made this a one-of-a-kind program.  A month after graduating, she took the position of Marketing Manager at Cvent, a global meeting and event technology provider headquartered in the DC area.  When not creating integrated marketing campaigns and tracking Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs), Jen can be found planning her next trip to somewhere new, exploring the neighborhoods of DC in search of the best food, or taking in the latest museum exhibit in our nation’s capital.  

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