What is the purpose of applying <marketing concepts to events? This post outlines few marketing concepts and applies them to the events context. Several authors have in fact suggested that marketing events helps in reducing risk. I'll investigate on such connection trying to understand if we could benefit from the marketing process in any way.
Segmentation and Targeting
Firstly it’s us, the event managers. We are desperately trying to sell our next event to an indefinite crowd of people out there. This situation sounds pretty risky to me. I see the risk in the fact that not knowing the people we are talking to could seriously predict the outcome of the event.
Ok we know that knowing our audience is necessary but how does this translates to reality. Marketing offers us various techniques to approach this matter. Segmentation is the first tool we need to use to identify at least three target markets on which we could build our next steps.
Once we have established profitable, measurable, accessible and realistic targets the next step is to position our event according to its features. We can decide to go upmarket or mass market, the only relevant element at this stage is the unique benefits of our events and the relevance to identified targets. We need to understand our SWOT and leverage on our strengths to compete adequately with other events in the market.
Secondly I would look at the 4 P’s to define the basics of the event. This concept is fundamental to marketing either a service or a product. 4 P’s have been around for a long time, even though this concept might appear simplistic to some, it has to be considered in that it helps in structuring marketing activities, which might be later imported to a WBS .
4 P’s are easily applied to a manufactured product, but might be a bit tricky when getting to services. The intangible nature of service poses some consideration in terms of the product component.
Trying to sum up what to consider when defining a conference 4 P’s:
Day of the event Registration (queueing, badges, conference kit)
Speakers Relevance to the content
Speakers Background and Resume
Correct Staging (Intervention times, coffe-break/lunch/tea break timing)
Price relevance to targets
Where and when money should be collected
Different price solutions for different consumption (one day ticket vs. two day tickets)
Price discrimination to encourage quick buying or to manage day of the event flow (early registration vs. late registration)
Payment methods (EFTPOS, Credit Cards, Cash, Checks
Ticketing distribution through other channels
Direct Registration (online registration, online payment)
Advertising Decisions (TV, Radio, Newspapers, Internet, Outdoor)
Publishing (Brochures and Flyers)
Distribution of publishing
Sales promotion (discounts, early registration, special prices, rebates, bundling, co-branding)
Direct selling via agents
In order to fill in blanks with relevant information, market research should be conduct with relevant questionnaires or focus groups aimed at gathering information to make the above decisions. At this stage not investigating properly the targets could definitely lead to wrong choices.
More on market research to come.