Use Events to Your Advantage

Article excerpt

Byline: By Nicola Railton

Using events as a marketing tool is becoming an increasingly more popular method of reaching target markets directly and effectively.

The corporate hospitality and events sector has increased by 19pc since 1997 and is currently worth pounds 11.56 bn. Conferences, events and exhibitions are particularly useful for branding and recognition with many companies hosting their own events or exhibiting at events as a method of promoting themselves in the marketplace.

Exhibiting or hosting an event must be carefully planned, selecting the occasion wisely. Defining your goals and objectives, determining what image you would like to portray and knowing your target markets and target public is an essential part of your marketing strategy.

Public perception of direct targeting and tailored events has become more positive with customer relationship management (CRM) strategies being used more.

Events offer a more personalised approach to profiling your company, products or services, giving you the power to influence your audience's perception of your company and develop the foundation for long-term relationship building. Personal contact can stimulate and excite, creating a positive impression which the audience will associate with your company.

Event staff are the most important marketing tool in this process.

Free events are likely to entice people and encourage them to primarily seek further information. Nobody wants a sales pitch but carefully administered events can offer the opportunity to present information to the target market explaining how you can provide a solution or fill a gap in their needs.

Play on unique selling points and try to anticipate and react to customer needs better than the competition. Use the opportunity to present breaking news or announcements to take advantage of media attention. Keep the event customer-focused and consider their needs at all times.

The networking opportunities involved in events, exhibitions, conference dinners, social events and workshops can be essential to building a targeted database of those attending.

This is invaluable for other aspects of your marketing plan and customer base for future marketing. Delegates consider it important to be recognised as an individual so use this occasion to meet and greet people and pay attention to what they do. …