Promotions at Events: Activating Different Audience Segments

When confronted with the challenge of multiple audiences at the same event it takes a little ingenuity and creativity to get your guests to engage at the level you wish.

Sure, most zen marketers believe everything to be organic and happen because of  serendipity, but those of us down in the weeds understand that without a little encouragement and self-promotion even the most authentic, well-meaning outcome may be missed.

Ramping up for an event is an event all its own. Making sure that materials are printed and aligned correctly, staffing is proper and goals are set are the three main concerns of an internal event promotion. Whether you are doing this for your own organization’s benefit or for sponsorship activation, following the plan’s details make the day of event operation much easier.

Evaluating the audience you are attempting to engage is the first step to a successful promotion. The key to making a promotion run on event day, is making sure it is nearly bullet-proof in the planning stages. There will always be issues that are unpredictable – but if you can eliminate as many of the mistakes in advance, you are well on your way to a success.

If you are working with a sponsor, they may or may not have an activation team already working on the program. But if you have small to mid-level partners, this responsibility may fall to you and your team. Same goes for an organization trying to run a parallel fundraiser or self-promotion for itself to drive membership or brand awareness. Your team may be the ones to shoulder the load to deliver specific and measurable results. If so, make sure you know what those expectations are. Lay them out in advance and get agreement from all of the stakeholders involved… it will avoid great disappointment or set you up for a victory lap!

Much of my time is spent looking at the opportunities for our team to leverage small opportunities to create momentum to grow into larger ones. We are always asking the question: what can we do onsite that will create a great experience that attendees want to share with their friends and will allow us to continue to work towards our objectives.

All of us have multiple audience segments, and even within those segments there are subsegments. Don’t worry about reaching everyone with the same message – that is certainly a recipe for disaster. But rather by focusing on smaller sub-segments you can make the messaging much more relevant to your desired audience and the increased results will follow.

If you have an audience of tens of thousands, break them into hundreds or thousands. If you have an audience of thousands, segment them down to hundreds, but all with the same goal in mind: to reach attendees with authentic, genuine content that engages and impacts them effectively and provides the results that exceed your sponsors, partners and internal teams expectations.

Another tip is to be realistic about your goals. There’s only so much you can attempt to do within the allotted time and space. If you have a transient audience that doesn’t stay for the entire length of the day, break your project into shifts. Once you know your audience’s trends, it is easier to run corresponding promotions and messaging based on when you know what group will be on site and when they might be replaced by another segment.

I’ll follow up soon with Part 2 of some event activation ideas… focusing a little more on specific promotions which might work for you.

 

 

About

Sean King has been consulting with small businesses and non-profit organizations for 25 years. Currently, Sean is a principal in the Aspire Consulting Group providing solutions and training for arts, events and non-profit marketing professionals and their organizations. Clients include Youth Education in the Arts (YEA!) and a growing list of satisfied organizations. Sean speaks regularly throughout the U.S. including at the IFEA Annual Conference, Arts Reach Conference, AFP, 92Y, CiviCRM User Summit, PA Council on the Arts, Michigan Festivals & Event Annual Conference. Sean serves as the Marketing Chairperson for the Hamilton District Main Street, a program of the Allentown Chamber of Commerce in Allentown and is a Co-Chair of the Arts & Culture Committee for the Upside Allentown initiative. You can follow Sean on Twitter @skingaspire or email him anytime at sking.aspire@gmail.com

Posted in Creativity, Event Marketing, Fundraising, Marketing, Sales, Sponsorships
One comment on “Promotions at Events: Activating Different Audience Segments
  1. chwilowki says:

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About Sean King
Sean King has been consulting with small businesses and non-profit organizations for 25 years.  Currently, Sean is a principle in the Aspire Consulting Group providing solutions and training for arts, events and non-profit marketing professionals and their organizations. Clients include Youth Education in the Arts (YEA!) and a growing list of satisfied organizations. Sean speaks regularly throughout the United States including at the IFEA Annual Conference, Arts Reach Conference, AFP, 92Y, CiviCRM User Summit, PA Council on the Arts, Michigan Festivals & Event Annual Conference.  Sean serves as the Marketing Chairperson for the Hamilton District Main Street program in Allentown and is a Co-Chair of the Arts & Culture Committee for the Upside Allentown initiative. He also blogs a artsmarketingblog.org.  You can follow Sean on Twitter @skingaspire. Sean resides with his wife Natalie and son Haydn in the global crossroads of Fogelsville, Pa.