Knowing how to use triggers and targets in your event marketing will result in inspired members ready to create high-quality connections (1), fulfill your mission, and ultimately become brand advocates for your organization. Once you’ve clearly established your targets and the triggers that will make them happen, you’ll need to sort out tactics and timing for delivering your messaging. You will also need to examine your audience segments to create optimal conditions for inspiration.
Your Tactical Toolbox
Determining the marketing tactics that you will use for your event will depend on your event, your audience, your message and timing. Common marketing tactics include websites and microsites, print and web ads, social media content, direct mail and email. When deciding, ask yourself do I achieve a better ROI with direct mail or email? Are my members more likely to respond to a print ad or a social media promotion? Do we need to urgently communicate with our base? Knowing your audience and examining the results of past promos will provide insights to help determine which tactics to use.
When the Time is Right
Now that you’ve decided which marketing tactics to use, you have to decide when to use them. There are two types of timing that you want to identify (1) pre-event, onsite and post-event, and (2) where they’re at in the buying cycle.
Most of the marketing tactics you choose will be pre-event, but it’s a good idea have a variety. For example, social media efforts during your event (onsite) can increase engagement and facilitate high-quality connections OR you could send a follow-up email (post-event) thanking all the attendees for attending! Which tactic you choose depends on where they’re at in the buying cycle. Is your goal to inform the unaware, inspire the interested or reassure the intent? Or it is to get them to make a purchase (i.e., register for your event).
Determining your marketing tactics and deciding on the timing will take time, but if done right the inspiration is endless!
Success Through Segmentation
Perhaps the word “segmentation” draws a collective groan from your marketing department. It’s easy for organizations to assume their audience members are basically the same. After all, everyone is united around your mission. But when it comes to communicating triggers and targets to your base, there are some important differences that can help you increase attendance, boost engagement, and create long-term loyalty. We’re not necessarily talking about having a dozen triggers for one promotion. In fact, success could very well result by having just one that’s tailored slightly to a few groups. Let’s look at three potential ways to segment your audience:
Archetypes: Knowing your members’ archetypes — broad categories centered around values and purpose — is key to providing truly compelling messaging that triggers inspiration and generates the desired target action. Read more about how we identify archetypes here.
Profession, Position, or Membership Type: Breaking down an audience by these types of segmentation can make the individual your marketing to feel valued; that the message was geared directly towards them. For example, distributors won’t necessarily get inspired by the same ideas as manufacturers. To segment try swapping out the names (from distributors to manufacturers) and tweak the message to be more clear.
Purchasing Behavior: You likely have loyal members who take action with little to no effort on your part. These people are the pilgrims who faithfully attend your event year after year. They simply don’t need as much encouragement from you. Similarly, there are those who are ready to buy. These people have been informed and reassured already; they’re just waiting for the right offer from you. Your potential customers, by contrast, will need to be informed, reassured, and encouraged. Your lapsed customers, who attended in the past but have been absent in recent years, will likely need some re-inspiration to convince them to come back.
Crafting the right message that is specific and segmented can play a big role in getting them to take action towards the target object.
Triggers and Targets in Action
Here’s a look at a practical example of trigger and target objects in action:
1. Determine the marketing tactic:
Email #1: Registration is now open!
2. Determine the timing:
Pre-event; inform the unaware and inspire the interested.
3. Determine segmentation and messaging:
(A) Last years attendees – “Looking forward to seeing you again this year…!”
(B) Attendees who didn’t attend last year, but have in years past – “We missed you last year…!”
(C) People who have never attended the event – “Make this the year to attend…!”
4. Determine the trigger object and the target object:
Trigger = Early registration discount
Target = Register today
The big idea is that these are all tangible, concrete steps you can take to create inspiration. By mapping out the marketing tactics, knowing your segments and identifying the triggers and targets your marketing will have meaning, order and peace.
(1) Dutton, J. E., & Heaphy, E. D. (2003). The power of high-quality connections. Positive organizational scholarship: Foundations of a new discipline, 3, 263-278.
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