To ensure a successful event strategy, you need to work together with other departments within the organisation. Oftentimes, many aspects have already been thought through by Marketing (Communication) or Sales. If not, see this as a good opportunity to create a strong base together.
Where Marketing, Communication, Sales and Events meet
The following components – lying at the interface between events and other departments (Marketing, Communication, Sales) – are essential for the overall event strategy.
1. Personas and proposition
To start, you need to know how to address the target audience best. Developing buyer personas is therefore an important step. In many cases, the Marketing department probably has these personas sitting on the shelf already, since they provide important guidelines to reach and understand the target audience. It is important for your event strategy to support the promise (proposition) to the target audience. Formulate an overall proposition and, if necessary, translate this to each different secondary target group. The promise to your client will become the red thread throughout your events.
Events offer a great opportunity to get in contact with (new and/or existing) clients and provide important data about the target audience. Therefore, think carefully about the potential of events as a whole: what do you hope they yield? You can use various indicators for this, such as NPS, overall reach, number of visitors or (potential) revenue. These indicators provide direction for the overall event strategy – and for the objectives and budgets of each individual event. Ask what specific information Sales and Marketing need, and remember to keep questioning whether events are the proper channel.
3. Content approach
Determine the themes you’re going to use to address the target audience: your content approach. Try to limit them to a few main themes that support the organisation’s proposition. You can determine which theme you’re using for each event later on – both in the run-up to the event (online) and in the programme (offline) – but make sure the individual themes are in line with the overall strategy. Take a moment to think about the combination of events and other marketing communication channels, and consider how they can reinforce each other.
4. Measuring impact
Ensure that both the overall strategy and every individual event are measurable: determine the objectives, key message and action points per event. You have already established the indicators for measuring the impact (see point 2), so you can determine the results afterwards. Translate these indicators into specific questions in the event survey, which enables you to easily measure the event results afterwards. Finally, you decide whether the event contributed sufficiently to the overall objectives, and make adjustments where necessary. The overall strategy is therefore both the starting point as well as end point of each event.
Support and mandate determine the success
Two things determine the success of the strategy: support and mandate. ‘Heavy terms’, so it seems, but they are so important! The bottom line is that your strategy will only succeed when other stakeholders within your organisation support the strategy. Moreover, it is important that you are able to intervene when people deviate from the strategy.
To achieve sufficient support for your events, you need a shared vision. There is only one way to achieve this: talk to each other! Connect with the various stakeholders and find out what their interests are. Every department has its own driving forces. Sales, for example, wants to strengthen the relationship with the customer and meet new leads, Marketing is looking for conversion, leads and client data, whereas consistency in proposition and tone-of-voice are very important to Communication.
Try to understand these driving forces and look for the shared goal. Also explain what is important to you. This will increase the support for events in general, and your position as event manager.
The literal definition of mandate is: an authoritative command or instruction. This means that if you, as an event manager, are responsible for the proper execution of events, being able to get others moving is important. The person in charge of the event budgets must therefore understand the importance of events.
In order to achieve this, you (the event professional) must show what events yield. Collect hard data about each event with an event survey. Making a professional report of the results enables you to show the value of events. This strengthens your position and increases the chances of support for your strategy!
Where to begin?
It is smart to start with an analysis of the current situation. What is already being done within the organisation? Do you have insight in the budgets, planning and effects of currently organised events? This needs to be crystal clear, in order to formulate an overall strategy.
For some organisations, events are spread across various departments, locations, or even countries. It may take some time to complete the puzzle. But especially in those cases, the following applies: the more fragmented the whole, the greater the necessity. So bite the bullet! To help event managers collect the proper information, we developed the Quick Scan. During the third edition of the event series Connecting the Dots we will dive into this.
The success of a proper strategy lies not only in the content of the document, but also in the process of developing it. Involve other stakeholders in this process, discover each other’s driving forces and work together to establish a shared vision. Pay attention to measuring the results as well, so you as an event manager can demonstrate the impact per event and adjust the strategy where necessary - and strengthen your position.
Connecting the Dots 03: Events start with strategy
To support event professionals with the formulation of a solid event strategy, Momice will organise the third edition of Connecting the Dots in October. Because Connecting the Dots is a Dutch-language event, it is less suitable for English speaking attendees. However, we feel the articles we write about these topics will still be relevant to all event professionals! Do you want to learn more about event strategy or the previous topics of Connecting the Dots? Please read more here!