We believe that a marketing plan is a schedule of strategic activities that will guide behavior.
We will achieve conference marketing success by following a road map that leads to a desired destination. We affirm that a marketing plan is a well-researched strategic map that addresses the role, appearance and tracking of all marketing efforts.
You have reached a fork in the road as the path you are on divides into two roads. The road on the left forgoes the use of data and surveys. It leads you to brochures and emails with pretty pictures of the conference location. It is easier and familiar. It involves some Googling and chatting with the nice lady at the tourism office.
The road on the left worked in attracting some people – not as many as last year, but what do you expect with the economy. The road to the right takes you the way of using survey results and data to create a marketing plan designed to guide behavior.
It is a more challenging and a longer journey, but along the way you meet new members, hear stories of how attendees implement what they learned at previous conferences, and find out why some members did not attend last year’s event.
The road to the right results in the birth of new ideas for promoting the event, more member engagement during the marketing campaign and an increase in conference attendance. As an added bonus, membership retention numbers are also on the climb!
You must adhere to this principle or you’ll be marketing venue over value with pretty pictures instead of real, valuable content. Ultimately whatever crowd that does draw, is not one that will stick around – they will just as easily leave your nice venues for another. CRASH! There goes your retention rates, too.
So, what do you do?
Survey previous attendees about past conferences. Then use this data to help formulate a plan that will help the unaware, inspire the interested and reassure the intent.
- Learn something new by surveying members other than the ones you see at every event.
- Talk to members who received marketing materials, but did not attend.
We hope you find these tips inspiring for your conference, and until next time keep a look out for clue # 17!The Lone Marketer
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