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This is the second of a four-part series about how to market your association’s events in 2024.

If you’re following along in our series of posts about event marketing in 2024, you know a few things.

For example, you know that companies are planning to spend less money this year on personal development, training, and education for employees. 

You know that event attendance is predicted to be down, as are accruals and overall renewal revenue.

Basically, you know that it’s do or die time. Make a new plan time. Don’t look back time.

The way to be successful this year is to embrace the 3 phases of event marketing

Each phase highlights a key attribute your event marketing plan needs: Emotion, facts, and urgency.

Today, we’re going to talk about the first phase, Inspire People. This is the phase that targets emotion.

When you connect with something you really want, such as a career or personal goal, you’re connecting with it for emotional reasons. You want the thing because you want to feel a certain way—like delighted, proud, or contented. 

The thing matters. But it’s the feeling that truly drives it.

Inspiring people means understanding how they want to feel, and connecting with them at that level. In other words, you need to understand what moves your members and what feelings they are chasing. 

Associations often make the mistake of leading with the facts. Facts are very important, and we’ll talk about their role in phase 2. But if you skip the inspiration phase, you miss your chance to reach people at the gut level. 

And that matters, because so many of our decisions are actually made from the gut. We think logic is driving our choices. But logic merely confirms what we already feel.

Finding the inspiration is a process of discovery. It means looking closely at who your audience is. Not necessarily their demographics. But rather, what motivates them.

Are they type A go-getters who always need a challenge? Are they career veterans who are thinking about legacy? Your people are likely motivated by more than one thing. But you need to dig until you find the central idea that will move them, the central spark of inspiration.

Once you find that, you need to turn it into remarkable pieces of content that hit your audience in their feeling center. 

We’ll get to the tactics of how many emails, when to send direct mail, and which social media platforms to use. But first, you must know what feeling you’re trying to create, and what big idea you’re channeling. This will help you develop actionable messages, and to choose the style of design that is most likely to grab your target audience.

We were tasked with helping a longtime client, the American Staffing Association, market their annual Staffing World conference. While ASA has been hosting this event for more than 50 years, today’s uncertainty was causing a drop in registrations. Six weeks before Staffing World, they still hadn’t hit their numbers.

ASA’s target audience are “people people.” They are staffing, recruiting, and workforce solutions professionals who put individuals to work in meaningful roles. As a result, they improve lives, businesses, and the U.S. economy. But they also deal with some pretty tough challenges, ranging from economic uncertainty to budget cuts and layoffs.

We combined this audience analysis with industry trends and proven formats to craft emotionally charged messaging and creative. The goal was to inspire people to come together for the good and the ugly. To seize opportunities and collaborate on challenges.

From there, we engaged the audience with targeted social media campaigns complemented by brief, thoughtful emails with easy calls to action.

Six weeks later, Staffing World had more attendees than ever in ASA history.

It’s well worth the investment to spend time digging into what will inspire people to come to your event.

Even more helpful is to get an outside perspective. Someone who can look at your event and your attendees with fresh eyes. Reach out if you’d like to chat about how to find the inspiration for your event!

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

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