Ultimate Guide to Event Marketing (Featured Image)

Event Marketing

How to Plan, Create and Launch Lead-generating B2B events in Asia Pacific.

Coca Cola was the first among global brands to launch event marketing when it did product sampling in 1886. That event paved the way for Coke to conquer the global market, and eventually, largely spend billions of dollars on marketing, yearly.

But what’s the fuss about event marketing that businesses would spare money, time and effort just to draw attention?

This cover-all guide will help you fully understand what event marketing is all about, how it’s effectively launched and its importance to business growth.


I. What is Event Marketing?

Events marketing, also known as event creation, is the experiential activity of designing or planning a themed occasion, such as conferences, trade fairs, exhibits, concerts, sports, music festivals, product launches, workshops etc., to promote a product, service, organization, idea, or a cause.

What is Event Marketing?

The Real Score

Most people think that staging a B2B marketing event is simply intended to create branding, draw massive awareness and build interest from the target audience, more to just making noise, are compelling reasons why a business must implement a marketing event:

  • To generate quality leads
  • Keep current clients
  • To build killer partnerships with other businesses
  • Create a competitive edge for your product
  • Improve workflows
  • Take goals to higher levels
  • Pave the way for a one-to-many sales prospecting opportunity (instead of doing it one-on-one)

It’s basically a shortcut to drive your target prospects down the sales funnel.

WIFY (What’s In It For You) As The Event Host

Imagine yourself presenting your product’s value proposition in front of a large crowd where everyone is a strong candidate to be your client. Note that, at that very moment, you own the biggest chance to educate your attendees about what your products and services can do to help their business grow. At the same time, it’s an opportune moment to stir up interest among them and instantly pile a good number of email addresses to send proposals to, while enjoying the two or three-hour stint to yourself, pitching how you can make a difference to their business.

How Effective is Event Marketing?

Most marketers (31%) who hold at least three live in-person events per year believe that event marketing is the single-most effective marketing channel among known strategies. In fact, attendees (65%) say that the powerful impact of live events bring out a more positive opinion of the product or service in them after attending one. These two complementing statistics reflect the effectiveness of event marketing where 68% of B2B marketers agree that live events help generate most leads. And leads generated from live events, as well as pipeline opportunities, are the most commonly utilized event success metrics by marketing experts.

What to Expect from Live In-person Events

Not just you, but the company’s big bosses as well are so eager to complete at least 4 events per year. C-suite executives plan to allot more budget on events hosting or sponsoring every year which drives senior marketing executives to invest more in live events both in technology budget and the number of events to hold

Events marketing is one of the best ways to connect with your target audience and the most effective strategy to build your brand. You can either host or become a sponsor. Either way will allow you to generate new leads, improve customer engagement and bring about encouraging product and industry education.


II. Common Types of Event Marketing

In Chapter One, we talked about what Event Marketing is and picked out bits and pieces of some very important thoughts like the purpose of hosting an event, its effectiveness, the benefits for both the host and the attendees, and what the strategy has in store for us in the future. But we still have a lot to see and hear so here are some interesting ideas to ponder on.

The event industry will grow bigger in the period between 2010 - 2020 (44%)

Are you someone who has never attended an event marketing before, but plans to reserve a seat in an upcoming workshop in Singapore this June? Or maybe someone in the C-suite pack who’d like to explore more opportunities for your organization and currently contemplating on which event type would open doors to new clients for your business. No matter which shoe you may be wearing right now, we have laid down the right path of learning and growth for you to walk on in this chapter.

Participant, congratulations for completing a three-hour conference today! But let me ask you something, what were your takeaways from the event? Were there points during the session that made you reflect on some processes, instances in the business that sparked new ideas in you? Were you able to relate the speaker’s inputs to your current set-up and now you’re triggered to do some restructuring or improvements?

Event host, how did the last trade show went so far? Were the event venue seats completely filled with attendees? Did everyone stay until the closing part, or one or two left right after the first tea break? How will you gauge the overall result of the event? Do you see a possibility of staging another round before the year ends?

Your answers to the questions above will determine if you, participant, attended the right event, and you, the host, was able to gather the right attendees. This chapter basically emphasizes the importance of knowing which type of event marketing a participant MUST attend, while host organizations would be able to identify WHO should be the perfect target attendees for their event. Both are crucial factors in achieving favorable results.

Events can be done either in-person or online. Whichever way you may want to do it, make sure to create the right event and have the right target audience in it, otherwise you will be putting all resources to waste. Let’s look at the different, common types of events marketing.

Conferences

Conferences are usually big events hosted by a major company and may be sponsored by other or smaller partners. Although conferences may cater to both B2B and B2C, attendees are of a specific group from a certain field like web developers, neurosurgeons etc., and the agenda consists of a heavy dose of significant industry-specific topics. The whole event features several speakers, but the keynote speaker is usually the last one to speak.

Seminars

Seminars are smaller, classroom-type meetings that may run for just half a day or a few hours. Unlike conferences, seminars are usually given out for free and the topics are mostly education-centric like learning or reviewing updates on rules and regulations of a certain organization or introduction of new tools and processes to leaders, and facilitated by just one or two lecturers.

Roundtables are similar to seminars, but with fewer (6-10) number of attendees.

Workshops and Masterclasses

Workshops and masterclasses can be hosted either in-person or virtually, and discuss subjects that are substantially related to the business such as sales prospecting. Attendees may come from various industries, but are of common interest. The speakers are usually internal members of the C-level group of the host organization who are subject-matter experts on the given topic.

Trade shows, Trade fairs, Exhibits, Expos

Whatever you may call it, this experiential event are mostly staged for the purpose of showcasing the latest product or service from a brand and eventually generate quality leads. Automotive, technology, real estate, food and beverage, and many other industries either host or participate.

Webinars

Webinars are live online educational presentations, which can also be pre-recorded and published several times on different schedules to several batches of attendees.

Event organizers can use event marketing tools that rid theatrics out of planning and execution by managing a holistic workflow for any event type, enabling accurate targeting by sending the right message to the right target attendees to your event. This and more will be discussed in the next chapters as we break down your pre-event and post-event marketing, and everything in between in a solid discussion.


III. Maximizing your Event

One of the biggest events known in history is Live Aid. It happened in 1985, where there weren’t yet smartphones, Facebook or Youtube, and the only media for promotion were radio and television. Despite that, the charity concert gathered 1.9 billion people in attendance across nations and raised funds of more than £100 million, exceeding its target of £70,000. Indeed, it was a huge success.

If they made it that big in the 80’s, we can certainly do better today.

This chapter will tell you more which marketing channels and tactics will help you pull off an event, big or small, successfully.

Maximizing your Event

Pre-event Marketing

Planning an event starts with a goal which leads everything and everyone towards a step-by-step process until such goal is achieved.

Your pre-event activities determine the success of your event and to kick start this stage of the event marketing process, carefully map out and prepare your pre-event marketing checklist – the essentials we’ll discuss below:

Come Up with a SMART Goal

Your goal must be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. What message, news or update do you want or need to share with your target attendees? What will they benefit from it? Is it something that you can completely deliver to them? Would it address the target audience’s needs? Is this the right time to spread the word to them?

Integrate a Strong and Creative Theme

Where some would play safe and prefer to go generic by just getting a comfortable venue, like most formal and educational events do, some squeeze creative juices from their brains and design a theme to make the guests become more involved in the activity.

Events that are mostly themed are product launches, workshops and client nights. There is a wide selection of event themes, but you have to choose the most appropriate by identifying and reviewing some details on your checklist:

  • Which industry do you belong? What is your organization’s mission and vision? Check on these and sync a theme with it. Choose something that would speak of your brand message.
  • Review your goals. What do you want to achieve? Conversions? Closes?
  • Who’s attending your event? Your theme must be something your audience are familiar with.
  • Choose a theme that would complement your venue.
  • Some of the top corporate themes are inspired by academy award winning movies, eras (70s, 80s, 90s), vacation escapes, capitals from around the world, childhood memories (homecoming, prom) and global cuisine.

Utilize Multi-Channel Marketing to Promote your Event

Events, big or small, are a great way to promote your brand and boost profit. Use the right tools to disseminate information on what (event title), where (venue), when (schedule) and how (registration process) about your event in order to reach the target number of attendees and the right people for it.

You may opt to do the promotion yourself or get an expert to do the job for you. A lead generation company can help, but make sure to take a closer look and pick someone that offers a full service and uses a full suite of marketing tools/apps and channels such as voice, social, chat, website, mobile and email. Work with the right lead generation company who could provide you with tip-top event marketing solutions that would:

  • Engage attendees and opportunities throughout the event cycle.
  • Ensure quality of invitees and prospect at every step of the event process
  • Leverage phone, email and social media to maximize conversions.
  • Collect critical event and prospect information for sharper marketing insights.

Create Pre-Event Content

Regardless of which type of event you will be hosting or sponsoring, your location and the industry you are in, a pre-event content is essential for building one great experience. Here are some insights from Content Marketing Institute.

  • Create educational and fun videos to define event topics or goals
  • Send a clever piece of snail mail, some people still embrace traditional ways of connecting
  • Develop original research to be shared with attendees and used by event speakers
  • Love your speakers. Highlight them in your event website
  • Highlight user-generated content that shows attendees how to make the most of the vent and have fun

Most of all, be consistent. Publish pre-event contents regularly by changing and updating information several times throughout the prep period. Pre-event contents aren’t made to just draw attendees to say YES to an invite, but to keep them interested and hyped throughout the process.

Incorporate FOMO

FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) is a fear of not being included in something (such as an interesting or enjoyable activity) that others are experiencing.

Social media paved the birth of FOMO in 2004 and millennials were the most affected group of consumers when it was widely used as a marketing tactic.

Marketing experts have gotten even better now. They do not settle for something ordinary or straightforward, but play the game using some psychology, stirring up emotions of fear, excitement and desires. The FOMO tactic aims to:

  • Show the number of registrants in an event
  • Show purchased seats or the available
  • Countdown the days or hours before the event
  • Get target attendees to lock in the early bird rates before it’s changed to regular
  • Keep attendees connected and updated
  • Make exclusive, indirect sales offer
  • Promote experiences
  • Offer rewards

Consider Paid Ads

Enhance your targeting by getting any information you want to know about your attendees like their location, age, the device they use and the time they are most likely to be on social media through paid ads on Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter. (Entrepreneur)

Use a Retargeting Tool

Employ retargeting tools that can track those who have visited your event page but didn’t click “Buy” or “Yes” to get potential attendees to the audience seat.

Also, come up with KPIs to make your event count. This should be applied in every event stage to help you better manage your end-to-end marketing campaign.

Collaborate or Get Sponsors

Sponsorship

Things weigh lighter when carried by two or more people they say, and so is event preparation. If you are planning to host an event and lack some ways or resources to get things done, you may workout a sponsorship deal with other companies.

Collaboration

On the other hand, if you and another event host have similar audiences but with different topics, you can team up on a single event. All you have to do is come in terms with them on splitting the budget and arrange the schedules or whichever way would work for you two.

Live Event

Done with the pre-event essentials so here you are now and about to run one of the most successful events of the year. Today will prove how all your efforts during the prep stage will impact the live event – is it going to be the best? Or the worst?

Results come at the end so never assume anything. Here’s what you can do to efficiently manage a live event.

Control the Event

Anything can happen in a live event so make sure that you have someone in-charge for the following:

  • An A/V person who makes sure that the microphones are working and social media streaming is active
  • A Moderator who ensures discussion flow is on topic
  • A Timekeeper

Create Clear Expectations

Before the discussion starts, give a short but clear announcement on the following:

  • Program flow
  • Q&A process (if there’s any)
  • Availability of Refreshment

Smaller, But Equally Important Things

  • Attendees’ name tags
  • Flyers with your branding and contact information
  • Posters/Standees

Post-Event Marketing

Post-event action steps must be started, not a day after the event, but right after the closing message on the event day. Here are some tips on how to run and maximize your post-event marketing:

  • Engage attendees in small talks after the event, before they leave the venue, to build personal connections. 91% of event professionals said that increasing engagement at events is a priority.
  • Post-event surveys are usually sent out to attendees’ email addresses, but you can have one ready for them after the discussion.
  • Host a networking event. This could be another live or remote, but smaller gathering to help you conjure a stronger bond and establish a community with your attendees
  • Get active on social media by publishing blogs and vlogs, thanking your attendees and featuring their testimonials as well as the event highlights.
  • Send them a thank you card or gift with your contact information
  • Launch an event-only offer within 24 hours after the event like giving discounts on sign-up or purchase to push for more opportunities for conversions.

Event marketing is not all about unleashing the power of attendance, educating your participants and hitting your target ROI. It’s more of getting everyone engaged with your goals, experience your business potentials and build trust in you.


IV. Events Marketing Singapore

As a global city, Singapore is one of the countries in Asia Pacific with advanced economics along with Taiwan, Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand and Australia. Its geographical location and technologically sophisticated infrastructure make it an easy access to Southeast Asia’s market, and a gateway to the flow of people, ideas, capital, goods and services. This is one of the major reasons why foreign companies either relocate or put up regional offices in the city-state. It’s also the top consideration for business meetings and marketing events.

In fact, Singapore ranks 6th among cities and 7th among countries with the most number of meetings held, according to the 2017 ICCA Statistics (International Congress and Convention Association). If that statistics is creating a panorama of opportunities and leaves you pondering on the idea of holding your next workshop in Singapore, here are some ways to help you swiftly roll a successful event in the Lion City.

Event Marketing Singapore

Find The Best Event Venues

Your choice of event venue will define your personality and reflect your standards as a business. After knowing the exact number of attendees you will invite and the event date, create a short-list of venues and choose the best one that can accommodate your expected number of guests and cater to their needs.

Note that not all event spaces are suitable for all event types. So once you have the list, do some research on each of their websites to have an overview of the rooms set-up and the amenities provided, as well as get a good deal on rates and pricing. But, it’s best to do an ocular visit in the place to get the feel of how things would run during the day of the event.

You can’t let intermittent internet connection or a defective microphone ruin the smooth flow of the discussion, so check on the AV capabilities, video conferencing and wifi connection, hours or a day (or as how long your venue provider would allow) before the program starts.

Provision for food and beverages will depend on the event package you choose, but most providers offer free drinks like water, coffee and tea.

Don’t miss to check transport details: how far it is from the MRT or bus station, how many minutes travel if you take a taxi and availability for parking spaces in the area.

Singapore has become a dynamic business events hub where the world’s biggest brand players meet and network via major events like CommunicAsia, NXTAsia and ITB Asia.

Find The Perfect Timing For Your Event

For large corporate events like conferences and seminars, avoid times near holidays like New year where most people take a long vacation and work resumption is uncertain. Also, consider weather conditions and temperature which might affect travel routes and convenience. Best days to hold large scale corporate events are Tuesdays to Thursdays to gather higher number of attendees. However, avoid weekend hang-over feels during Mondays and dragging feeling on Fridays.

For team buildings, perfect timings would be a Friday or Saturday, depending on the length of the activity and the proximity of the venue from the workplace. Some companies take the whole weekend for team building, but may be suitable for those who have weekends off.

Dinner and cocktails on a Thursday is best for networking events as guests are less likely burdened with work concerns. A few bottles of beer and wine would even make everyone more at ease and smoothen the flow of conversation.

Hold C-level meetings during Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, preferably at 10AM or 3PM to avoid after after-lunch dozy feeling between 1-2PM.

Trade shows may run for days or a week. In order to hit your target number of guests, choose a period where no scheduled events from the big companies in your industry is booked.

For product launches, draw higher chance of online exposure and discussion between Tuesday-Thursday, at mid-mornings.

Utilize Event Management Software

Technology has its way to get things done simpler and quicker, and maybe even cheaper. That’s why an event management software is an essential tool for planning down to post event management.

  • Manage and track ticketing/event registration with real time reporting and analytics from any device
  • Promote your brand with unique event website creation with easy navigation
  • Reach the right attendees and let them discover new and more experiences via partner sites like Facebook, Instagram and Spotify

The main reasons for hosting an event is to build Branding and establish Awareness among your target market. However, being able to gather a bunch of attendees in a conference in a nice large venue will not guarantee success. It takes careful planning and execution, leveraging on the right tools and processes, from pre to post-event engagements in order to realize your goals and achieve target results.

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