Event marketing needs a simpler jam jar – As seen in Exhibition News

Recently, I found myself reviewing the activities of PR and marketing contractors and I found myself doing the rounds of some trendy ‘medyah!’ companies.

At one of these meetings, in an equally trendy coffee shop, my host ordered a ‘celery-booster-smoothie’ which arrived in a jam jar. With a handle!

Whenever I see things like this my first question is, “Who was the first to think that….”. In this case “…drinking out of a jam jar would be a good idea?” Wouldn’t a straight glass suffice?

What struck me, as I considered this vision of unnecessariness, was that it was a good representation of what’s wrong with a lot of event marketing; the tendency to overcomplicate.

One thing that never ceases to amaze, is the lengths that some people go to overcomplicate the simple proposition of events. Complexity confuses people. It’s the antithesis of success.

Events aren’t complicated. It is only our insecurity that prompts us to find unnecessarily complicated answers to simple problems. Complexity adds little value or added improvement to marketing activity, but it’s one of the key constants in every failure or under-performing event. The role of genius is not to complicate the simple, but to simplify the complicated.

There is an evolution away from complexity toward simplicity. The simpler things are the more understanding and in return the improvement of efficiency and effectiveness generating better results.

Whether you’re launching, or increasing the audience of, an event; marketing that increases exhibitors, visitors, delegates and other attendees who want to participate is the desired effect. A complicated message or a delivery mechanism does little to attract them.

Marketing is imperative for an event to grow. Without some sort of marketing, exhibitors won’t exhibit and visitors won’t visit. Unless you’ve got a super-exclusive show that trades on being the best-kept secret, marketing is essential.

For some, marketing is a necessary evil. For others, it’s a passion. For most, it’s both a mainstay and mystery: we must do it, but we don’t know how to do it right.

What’s wrong with a lot of event marketing is that there are too many ‘experts’ and not enough informed buyers. Slick suppliers dazzle business owners with glitzy presentations, lock in a contract and fail to deliver results.

There is no shortage of people willing to take your money for unnecessary technology or services. Most of them will tell you to spend it in on their company, with little regard for strategy or effectiveness.

Ask an advertising expert, and they’ll sell you, not unsurprisingly, ADVERTISING! Looking for help understanding social media? A social media guru will happily “help you” with managing multiple accounts and creating regular postings.

It used to be easy to find an agency that could handle all your marketing, now there are choices to be made from experts in disciplines like SEO, online advertising, social media, mobile marketing, and much more. Marketers looking for help must be both wary and wise about what they’re buying.

The added complexity is that the discipline of marketing has fragmented considerably and finding experts who have your best interests at heart can be a challenging exercise because there is so much competition for your marketing budget.

Marketing today is like looking through a kaleidoscope. How you see the ideal picture depends on how the pieces are arranged. As soon as you think you’ve found the perfect picture, something shifts and everything looks different. Today, buyers of marketing services must contend with multiple aspects of branding, marketing and communications from engaging an audience through social networks to the changing landscape of PR and media; mobile marketing, SMS, and location-based promos to content creation and curation.

Some companies feel pressure to jump into marketing tactics and fall foul of the shiny object syndrome (SOS). Before they know it, they’re falling sway to companies that claim to be innovative or disruptive, or the next big thing, but are actually only adding an incremental veneer to existing processes.

Event marketing is, like the concept of an event itself, a simple proposition. However, simplicity is smart, but it’s not always easy to achieve.

Simplicity means remembering the ‘six Ps’:

  • Product: what are you marketing?
  • People: who are you marketing to?
  • Proposition: what do you offer that’s unique, valuable and distinctive?
  • Price: what is your product is worth?
  • Promotion: how do you tell people about your product?
  • Place: where do you sell and/or promote your product?

If you know the answers to these questions the less complicated and more effective the engagement of experts, the simpler your marketing will become and the more successful the outcome of your events.

Growth creates complexity, which requires simplicity. It is always the simple that produces the marvellous, it’s as simple as that!

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