Meetings and events are marketing tools

Achieve better results by applying a marketing message to your event invite

Lisa Schmidt

Business travel is growing and smart businesses are seeing the value of meetings and events as a strong element in the marketing mix. After all, according to the U.S. Travel Association, the total number of business trips in the U.S. keeps increasing year after year.

The fact is, meetings and events can drive growth in companies and organizations – but they must be implemented properly and the value should clearly be decided upon by planners and decision makers ahead of time. Quantifying the value of specific meetings and events isn’t always about calculating a return on investment. If you host a trade show, there is a specific value derived. Often instead of a value, the success of meetings and events are quantified via post-event surveys – taking the pulse of all attendees and exhibitors to determine if predefined goals or objectives were met. However, instead of waiting for the postsurvey, the invitation can also meet marketing goals and these goals can be achieved at the employee level too.

Marketing trends show that young adults ages 18 to 34, a coveted demographic by many marketers as well as by their employers, actually respond better to direct mail over email. In fact, this same group indicated that their preference for newspaper communications outweighed choices for email and social media. The only exception to this group was with travel offers.

A great marketing tool and measure as simple as the invitation can have great marketing value and can become a part of a campaign’s media strategy that helps you gain or keep customers. Understanding your total message weight (not just that you need to get involvement or attendance from a whole company, industry or group of customers) means that you should calculate the number of people (reach) multiplied by the number of times (frequency) that a person will hear or see your message through the invite.

REACH X FREQUENCY = TOTAL MESSAGE WEIGHT

Consider the following for adding some weight to your messaging, before the invitation goes out:

Use words and a format to best achieve the purpose. Then decide how to best deliver the invitation or what platform (email, newspaper, direct mail) will achieve the desired marketing impact.

If utilizing an online platform, send a test link. Consider producing a video as it’s a buzzworthy promotional tool.

Because of poor RSVP habits, some businesses are printing tickets with a price tag, and then stamping each on with “VIP COMP.” People who came without a ticket were willing to pay at the door when this was recently implemented, but were not charged as the idea was to get people to the event.

Once the invitation has gone out, expect that the “pleasure of a reply” may seem overwhelming to invitees; but when you’re the sponsor or host or employer, you should know that it’s okay to contact people if an RSVP was requested and not received.

Meetings and events can help businesses achieve better results when you think of applying a marketing message at the start: the invite. As business leaders, it is imperative to communicate with each other in a way that impacts the bottom line.

Lisa Schmidt is the principal at Marketing Matters. She can be reached at 360.314.2730.

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