Category: Event + Conference Marketing

Create a More “Experienced” Event

Most of us have heard how important branding is to a new or existing company, but how often do you think about branding for an event or conference?

Branding is the foundation for engaging your audience, triggering emotional responses within your customers, and getting people to talk (more importantly to promote) your event… for free!

A little branding 101: branding is NOT a logo. While it’s a piece of the puzzle, a true brand is the total package of a customer’s experience and perceptions – some you can control and some you cannot. Branding, a key element of event marketing, can be tricky because it is important to not only communicate the message and goals of the event itself, but it’s also essential to weave in the message and goals of the event organizer. Ideally both messages are similar, streamlining this process.

Communicating an event’s message has moved from broadcasting its logo all over your event website and other event materials to creating unique experiences that form an emotional bond with each attendee.  (By the way don’t forget to check out 5 Event and Conference Website Must Haves) This means creating a personality and sense of purpose for the event to create a strong message that lasts long after the event is over.

The Rise of Experiential Marketing

Instead of looking at your audience as passive receivers of your event’s message, they should be actively involved in developing a relationship with your event’s brand. The question then is how do we achieve this?  Read on for four things to keep in mind as you plan your event:

  1. Define the purpose of your event: Planning a successful event starts with defining the overall goal. What is the primary purpose of the event? Is it to inform and educate? Inspire or motivate? Network or make money? When the event is over, how is success defined? Even if your event occurs every year, it’s important to examine what the marketing and sales goals are each year and then to design the event tactics around those goals in order to drive success.
  2. Establish who will attend your event: Who do you expect will attend and what do you expect them to feel and understand in order to act on your event objective(s)? Creating a personalized, multi-sensory experience will connect and motivate your audience, encouraging them to re-attend or refer your event to others.
  3. Create the experience with the five senses in mind:
  • See: You get one chance to make a first impression. Before any of the other senses are engaged, your audience will see the stage you’ve set for them. Does the visual representation match your event’s objective? A speed networking event should be clean and organized. An event showcasing a new Jeep Wrangler should look adventurous and rugged, while an event showcasing a Bentley should look luxurious.
  • Hear: Music has the power to be engaging or distracting. Picking the right music and making sure the volume is set appropriately is critical.
  • Smell: Sensitivity to smell can be a distracting factor if not taken into consideration and unfavorable smells can detract from the experience. Put some thought into the aroma during your event.
  • Taste: People love to eat. If your food represents your event, rather than just being a part of it, your guests will remember. Make sure the food and drink is the highest quality possible.
  • Touch: Textures, comfort, climate is how your guests interact with the environment and should be evaluated. Giving your attendees something to physically hold (i.e. brochures, free samples, etc.), can drive value perception. Making your audience comfortable, and engaged, will enhance the experience.
  1. Create interactions: From breaks to lunches, make sure there’s plenty of time for people to meet, talk and network. More importantly, picking purposeful speakers who interact and engage the audience is a better approach than just picking speakers based on name recognition.

While focusing on creating an experience for your audience can enhance the success of your event marketing  and ultimately your event, sacrificing your brand in order to create this environment can be detrimental. Remember, the overall objective is to create an experience that fully engages the audience while developing a loyalty to your brand. By ensuring that your brand and the audience experience works hand-in-hand, you’re able to bring together an audience that’s shares the same values and motivates them to take action.

computer screen with a hand on a mouse image

There is the obvious information you should include on your event and conference meeting website, like the event title, dates, venue and contact details (all of which should be on the FIRST page of your website), and then there are the not so obvious… Here is a list of things you may not have considered for your event website:

1. Registration

Using an online registration form is good for you and your attendees. Why? Because online forms are more secure, reliable and cost effective than paper registration. It is also easier to keep all your registrants’ information organized. Attendees using the registration form will appreciate the flexibility and ease of access. Auto confirmations and the ability to communicate with registrants are extra bonuses of online registration.

*Bonus Tip: If your registration includes a meal choice, make sure to ask your attendees about any special dietary needs.

2. Clear message

Your website, a key component of your event marketing strategy, should include information on “who should attend” as well as the “benefits of attending”. These are key selling points to your event, don’t just assume that visitors to your website or prospective attendees know this information. Clearly communicating the meeting’s goals and objectives to your attendees will get you one step closer to a successful event.

3. Event Information

Your conference website should have a robust amount of information, organized and easily accessible, that will answer all your attendee’s questions. Include agenda, speakers’ bio and presentation summaries, sponsor and exhibitor package information but also consider having a gallery of sponsor logos or insert the exhibitor floor plan prior to the event. Enable a live chat feature on your site to answer your visitor’s questions in real time.

*Bonus Tip: Consider creating an online survey or poll to gain further insight to your audience’s interests. Share this information with speakers to utilize in their presentations and share it on your social media sites to get people talking.

4. Accommodation Information

In most cases, attendees will be unfamiliar with the location of your event, they may be from out of town or even out of state. Finding a good balance of pictures and descriptions on local hot spots as well as transportation is important. However, hotel rates and booking deadlines should come before that information as it is more pertinent to your guest’s stay. Contact information is crucial and should be first and foremost.

 5. Responsive website design

These days, everyone – including you and your attendees, are “on-the-go” type of people. This means visitors are accessing your conference website on their smart phones and tablets, instead of just traditional desktop devices. How does your website display across these devices? Are the buttons large enough to click on an iPhone’s screen? Does all the information that is available on the “full” desktop site need to be on the mobile site? (Typically, mobile versions of websites condense down to the most pertinent information necessary to the user experience.)

Conclusion – All in all, your website should leave visitors looking forward to your event. It should also provide the quality experience they expect to see at your event. If you follow these 5 event and conference website must haves, you should be on your way to success.

Have questions about event and conference marketing and websites or need help with your event or conference website? Contact Exakt Marketing today.

The team at this Tampa Marketing Company is so excited about what the future holds for healthcare innovation and Tampa Bay, there is just no way we wouldn’t be involved in MediFuture 2023 in some way.

The goal of MediFuture 2023 is to position Tampa Bay as the epicenter of a worldwide healthcare revolution thatMediFuture 2023 Mobile App will ultimately deliver a proactive, patient-centered system known for higher quality care and access at a lower cost. Recognizing the unique assets present here in the Tampa Bay Region (USF, its medical school, its Center for Advanced Learning and Simulation, Moffitt, Johns Hopkins-affiliated All Children’s Hospital, M2Gen, Draper Lab, SRI, hospital chains, medical device makers, entrepreneurs and health record specialists), the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation seized the opportunity to create this forum that is poised to explode into a national and international movement.

The Exakt Marketing team, known for its passion for Tampa Bay and its strong connection with the entrepreneurial base here in the region, is honored to be involved in promoting the event and movement and sponsoring the MediFuture 2023 mobile app, available for download from MediFuture-Logothe App Store and Google Play.  Our involvement in this one goes beyond our typical event marketing services: we’re personally invested in MediFuture 2023’s success as a Tampa Bay business, as Tampa Bay residents and as consumers of healthcare.