The self-fulfilling prophecy of events
Our research shows that 2 out of 3 organisations lack an overall event strategy. This results in expensive events, without sufficient return. Oftentimes, events are not seen as a powerful and strategic marketing channel, and not taken seriously within the organisation. As a result, there is no urgency to formulate an event strategy with corresponding budgets and evaluation tools – which does not improve the quality of events. In other words: a self-fulfilling prophecy. A comprehensive organisation-wide event strategy offers a solution.
How good is your event strategy?
Have you looked critically at the event strategy of your organisation? The following signals indicate something is missing:
- Events are being organised on an ad hoc basis
- (Realistic) objectives are lacking
- There is little collaboration between Marketing, Sales and event teams
- Event results are not measured
- Event-specialist software/tools are missing
- There is not enough direction/involvement from the board/management
Event managers frequently mention these points as restrictive factors in their work. But more importantly, they clearly indicate the importance of an event strategy.
The importance of an overall event strategy
We live in an era of efficiency and digitalisation. At the same time, relations are becoming increasingly important, because we are moving towards a relationship economy. Even though at first, it seems hard to unite relationships and digital communication, these two elements can reinforce each other. This can be done by investing in networks. Because of digitalisation, the target audience is seeking face-to-face contact – this is where live events can make a huge impact. To achieve this, it is essential that live events strengthen, not undermine, the overall marketing communication strategy. Therefore, it is an absolute must to formulate a clear overall event strategy that is supported by the whole organisation.
Events as part of the marketing mix
When the different channels of the marketing (communication) mix are aligned, synergy can occur. Both live events and online interaction provide valuable information about the needs of the client. This information can be used to improve the organisation’s products and services.
The combination of events and online content is extremely powerful: by nourishing your target audience with valuable content (both online and offline), you are able to win them over. After that, you can use your events to strengthen the relationship with the attendees, and to attract new (potential) clients. No newsletter, white paper or blog can compete with that.
The opposite is also true: events are an important communication channel that can reinforce or contradict the message of other (marketing) communication. If the message of the various events is not clearly determined in advance, the target audience may get confused by different, or even contradicting signals. This can be harmful to your brand proposition.
Break the vicious cycle with an overall event strategy
Enough reasons to devote time and attention to the formulation of an overall event strategy. Yet, that is easier said than done. To ensure that the strategy is complete and supported by other stakeholders within the organisation, you need (information from) other teams. An extensive analysis of the existing events, objectives and results provide insight into the value of events for your organisation – and how to increase it.
If your organisation is does not organise events yet, it is extra important to ask yourself ‘why’. Why do you want to organise events – and are they actually the right channel to achieve your (marketing) goals?
Once the overall strategy is formulated, you can elaborate the objectives, key message, target audience and action points for each individual event. Don’t underestimate your target audience, surprise them with new concepts and insights instead. Always think in terms of behavioural change: after all, you want your target audience to get into action.
Measure, validate, adjust
Last but not least: make sure everything is measurable. It’s important that you are able to demonstrate the effect of individual event – and how it contributed to the overall objectives. Formulating proper objectives with corresponding indicators (NPS, attendance rate, integration of the key message, number of leads, etc.), makes it possible to measure both the results per event as well as the trends and growth in the long(er) term.
These analyses are necessary to keep validating the overall strategy: each event provides new insights about the target audience and the market. Use them to sharpen the strategy and continue to make more and more impact with your events.
The effect: good results, happy stakeholders
As mentioned before: the overall event strategy goes beyond the ‘event department’. It is a collective vision that can be used time and again to determine direction. All involved stakeholders benefit from this.
A few advantages:
- More support and commitment for events
- More event data for Marketing and Sales
- Less difficult discussions about budget, due to accountability of the costs
- Fewer ad-hoc decisions
- Realistic objectives
- Better understanding of the target audience
- Coherent events with more impact
In our next blog, we show you how to create a proper event strategy for your organisation in 8 steps.
These organisations use events successfully
More and more organisations develop a proper event strategy - and it shows in their results. Examples of Momice clients that benefit from a proper overall strategy are YoungCapital, USG, Hotelschool The Hague and Van Wijnen-Noord. They all have one thing in common: events form an important part of the organisation, both internally and externally.
The lack of a proper event strategy can lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy. Because events are not perceived important, there is no urgency to formulate an overall strategy for events. Events are underappreciated in the organisation, which means that clear event objectives and proper tools/software are lagging behind. The result: what events yield remains unknown, making it impossible to value them. This creates a vicious circle that seems difficult to break.
And yet, it is possible! Start by formulating a solid event strategy. It is necessary to start including events in the marketing mix and to involve all stakeholders in the development of the overall strategy. By measuring the results at event-level and analyse the trends, the strategy can continuously be adjusted to create more impact.
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!