By Jim Hennessey and Katie Zupancic Wymer
As event marketing professionals, we are constantly evaluating and reevaluating the who, where, why, what, and when of our events. On this quick journey through our event marketing funnel, we’ll explore the best ways to target, locate, reach, inspire, and convert listeners into participants.
Who are we trying to target? Effective event marketing begins with defining exactly who you are trying to reach. At Event 360, that definition goes well beyond simple age and gender demographics. We create numerous profiles of our current participants, allowing us to fully explore their behavior and lifestyle – which ultimately leads us to figure out what motivates them to register for an event. While these profiles do include basic demographic data, we append that information to include buying habits, social media traits, and even behavioral characteristics. We gather the data to build these profiles from many sources including participant surveys, focus groups, digital advertising/click-through analysis, and social trend reports. For each event or series we produce, we create 4-5 profiles of our most likely participants and create a back-story of why the user chose to register for the event. Focusing in on a relevant audience is the first step in determining the who, where, why, what, and when of successful event advertising.
Where are they consuming media? There are so many places and platforms to market your event, including traditional advertising, social media, out-of-home channels, and even guerilla marketing programs. Our participant profiles help us determine what mediums have the strongest appeal to our different audiences. Digital and social channels allow us to target our desired participants by indexing trends and online behavior. These channels are most reliable in delivering participant actions, such as registration and fundraising. In addition, digital and social media marketing is very cost-effective and readily adaptable. These channels allow you to react to changes almost instantly. Traditional mediums, such as radio, TV and print, are more effective for building brand awareness and serve as a terrific complement to digital and social campaigns.
Why are they consuming media in those places? Once event marketers determine where their different audiences are consuming media, they need to determine why their target participant profiles are there in the first place. For example, a promoted Facebook post might be an excellent avenue to seek conversion from our tech savvy, thirty-something participant profile who is constantly tuned into social media. However, that same promoted post might be a poor way to influence someone who aligns with a participant profile that uses Facebook to stay in touch with family. Though both profiles are relatively active on Facebook, their varying why impacts the effectiveness of your advertising dollars.
What motivates our target audience? Before deciding on creative for advertising copy and artwork, every event marketer needs to consider what motivates our who. In order for creative to effectively and efficiently make an impact on a target market, messaging must be aligned with their motivations. Copy and artwork that might sway a weekend warrior to conversion may not get a second glance from a seasoned athlete. Similarly, creative appealing to past participants cannot possibly impact a new participant unfamiliar with the event to the same degree. By intelligently targeting messaging across the different wheres that an event’s participants frequent, beneficial awareness and the lowest cost-per-conversion can be achieved.
When is the best time to reach them? Finally, the when is key for determining the timeline of message delivery. Is your brand recognition strong enough to immediately drive to conversion? Most likely, you will need to initially execute an awareness campaign to familiarize your who with your brand.
By consciously evaluating the who, where, why, what, and when for our events, we are able to deliver impactful messaging to our participants at the right time through the best medium. In our next blog post, we’ll dive more deeply into the who of event marketing.
Jim Hennessey (LinkedIn, Twitter), is the Director, Consumer Marketing at Event 360. He leads the marketing and social media strategy for MuckFest® MS and works with other organizations including Bike MS, the Florida AIDS Walk & Music Festival, and the MMRF Team for Cures 5K with digital marketing and social media strategies to support their peer to peer events and fundraising. Jim lives in Chicago.
Katie Zupancic Wymer (LinkedIn, Twitter) is the Manager, Consumer Marketing at Event 360. She manages digital marketing and social media strategy and sponsorship for MuckFest® MS, the FUN mud run in support of a world free of multiple sclerosis. She also manages digital marketing for other fundraising events like Bike MS. Newly Minnesotan, she enjoys exploring her new home with her tiny dogs, Annie and Charlie.