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Human beings make most of our decisions from the emotional center of our brain. And then our pre-frontal cortex (the logic center of the brain) helps us reaffirm that our decision was the right one. 

We know this because scientists put people in scanners and watch the different parts of their brain light up.

But what does brain science have to do with your association’s event? Everything.

In this series of posts, we’ve been working through the 3 phases of event marketing. Each phase highlights a key attribute your event marketing plan needs: Emotion, facts, and urgency.

So far, we’ve covered the first phase, Inspire People. That’s the phase that targets emotion.

Today, we’re going to talk about the second phase: Reassure the Intent.

This is the phase that targets facts. This is where you need to communicate to people: You know how you felt a spark when you connected with our message? Well, here are the goods!

Reassuring the intent simply means filling out the rest of the picture for potential attendees. You’re giving people what they need to confirm that registering for your event is something they must do.

This is the phase of marketing where you craft messages that answer questions like:

  • What will I learn?
  • Who will be there?
  • Who are the speakers?
  • What are the highlights?
  • What are the big reasons I don’t want to miss out?

We find that these are the questions associations usually want to start their marketing with. They want to lead with facts. Throw all the bullet points and all the checklists at people right away. It can be difficult, in Phase 1, to stay higher level, to find the deeper reason, the emotional hook.

But now, in Phase 2, you’re released! Let the facts shine! If you’ve done your job in the first phase and found the inspiration to hook attendees, this phase can feel a bit easier.

But don’t let that fool you. 

We came across a study that another marketing agency did, that found that only 13% of associations surveyed said they had a compelling value proposition.

13%!

Coming up with a sterling value proposition and knowing how to communicate it has always been a challenge for associations. It’s like answering an existential question: It’s hard to do and you’re so close to it that you often can’t see if you’ve truly answered it.

Reassuring the intent is an uphill climb if you don’t know the value proposition for your event. So before you start listing bullet points, do some work around crafting it. (If you’re struggling, we can help.)

We helped a long-time client market their annual event, Staffing World.

In our last post, we talked about how we found the inspirational thread by analyzing the audience and focusing on “people people.”

For phase 2, it’s time to focus on the facts.

Reassuring the intent is about hitting people in the logic center of their brain. It’s when concepts like “reputation” and “expertise” matter. That’s why we created messaging around the fact that this event is the biggest gathering of its kind in the industry. It’s THE place to be for staffing professionals who want to connect, learn, and grow.

We designed various print and digital pieces to highlight specific educational sessions, formal and informal networking events, and the best-in-class expo hall. We also talked in-depth about the high-caliber individuals who would attend, creating a sense of FOMO so that potential attendees could see themselves among this crowd.

Remember, people read 30% or less on the web, and slightly more in print. Design and messaging matter just as much now as they did in the inspiration phase.

Your marketing can’t become a Wikipedia page, dry and factual. You’re still jockeying for people’s time, and you have to give them a reason to listen to you

Reach out if you’d like to talk about how your association can best reassure the intent. Or if you’re still chewing on how to find the inspiration, we’re happy to talk you through as well.

Rottman Creative can help you cut through the busyness with new marketing formats and technologies. Let’s chat.

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Navigating the Event Marketing Landscape in 2024: A Strategic 3-Phase Approach for Success

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The New Way to Market Events is the Old Way. Just Better.
How are you going to get people to your association’s event this year? If you’re not asking yourself this question right now, you should be.

Why? Because just about everyone is having trouble marketing events right now. The fear of recession, combined with the reality of inflation, means companies are searching for areas to cut.

Inevitably, they see education and travel, i.e., your event, as the low-hanging fruit.

In fact, a Forrester report from late 2023 predicted that companies would be rethinking investments in “employee experience” for 2024. Top on the list? You guessed it: Meetings and events related to personal development, education, and training.

According to our own data, we’re predicting that in 2024, event attendance will be down 12 – 15% and accruals will be down 18 – 25%. The percentage of members renewing will stay roughly the same. But because so many of your member companies now have decreased revenues, they’ll renew at a lower fee.

You need a plan to cleverly circumnavigate these brutal realities. To get your event off the chopping block and into the pipeline of possibility.

The reality is that attendees behave differently today than they did even just two years ago. This means you’ve got to take a fresh look at the year and the way you’re going about things. You’ve got to be willing to think differently, and to go back to the drawing board on some key elements of your strategy.

We’ll explain what we mean in this series of blog posts. But for now, we’ve got 3 words for you: Think in phases.

With uncertainty always swirling around and the world moving faster than ever, you’ve got to take a phased approach to marketing your event. Each phase is as important as the next, but you also can’t get ahead of yourself.

In this series of posts, we’ll talk about what each phase looks like, and offer some real-life examples from association clients.

We can’t wait to share all the details. But here’s the TL;DR:

Phase One: Inspire People

For years, we’ve been championing the idea that for your event to stay relevant, you must inspire the base. What we’ve learned in working with more than 100 different associations is that inspiration is part-science, part-art.

Finding what will inspire people to commit to your event is a process of discovery. Once you understand what moves your people, you must create actionable messages around it. Then you have to know when and how to deploy them, to wrest people’s attention away—even momentarily—from every other distraction competing for their time.

Inspiration fosters unity, aligning elements through a dynamic force in our collective pursuits.

Phase Two: Reassure the Intent

The second phase of marketing is all about curating the facts, to paint a vivid picture of your event. This is when FOMO is your friend. You’ve got a millimeter of people’s attention. What will you do with it?

It’s not that the inspiration phase is over. Rather, you’re pulling the inspiration through into more concrete details, talking about who will be there, what attendees will learn, and what benefits await them.

Phase Three: Plan for the 40-Day Dash

In our contemporary landscape, attendees are waiting longer than ever to register for events. Many people won’t commit until 40 days out or less. We call this the 40-day dash.

We created an entire marketing program around the 40-day dash, with specific tactics to help you reach your audience goals in those last 6 weeks. We’ll show you how to target and re-target, how to get others to spread the word for you, and how to make email work for you (versus getting ignored).

We’re going to face challenges in 2024, there’s no doubt about it. But when you take the right steps, and invest in the right phases of marketing, you can have a successful, inspiring, well-attended event.

The good news is this: When you take the right steps, and invest in the right phases of marketing, you can have a successful, inspiring, well-attended event.

Rottman Creative can help you cut through the busyness with new marketing formats and technologies. Let’s chat.

Share this post in LinkedIn:

NOT ANOTHER SNOOZELETTER.

SIGN UP. BE INSPIRED.

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