Working as early-stage entrepreneurs with a startup, my co-founders and I decided on an “educate to sell” approach to attract attention to our brand and grow our market. Our company and the solutions we provided were called “disruptive” by some and we wrestled with how to position what we offered with client needs. We hosted lunch-and-learns, spoke at industry events and networked as often as we could and our market grew at a decent pace.
Then we had an idea… What if we hosted our own event? What would it do for our brand and, ultimately, our bottom-line?
It was an interesting thought, but none of us had any experience in producing a large-scale event.
We posed several qualifying questions, but one of them led to discovering the real secret for hosting a great marketing event. Getting the answer right for this one question made all the difference in hosting a successful event.
Our thinking centered on finding a central theme, a story arch if you follow the analogy. With that story arch we realized all of the speakers, breakout sessions, panel discussions and other activities needed to be a piece of that story and support the central theme. Like a keystone in an archway, we had to identify and isolate that element to deliver a successful event.
While all of these questions are important, can you guess which one of the following questions became the keystone question that most-effectively supported our successful events?
- Who should attend? What is their demographic and would they potentially convert, become a customer and buy services through us?
- How would we target those folks and capture their interest?
- Once their interest is captured, how can we make sure they commit to attend?
- How do we decide on topics, speakers and a compelling agenda?
- Should we have an open-call for speakers to submit articles for consideration for an unknown event sponsored by a virtually unknown company?
- What will the attendees value most and takeaway from attending the event?
- Which sponsors fit the event’s audience and whom should we seek after?
- What type of venue and location will most effectively host the event and attract attendees? Does the right venue add to the brand?
- What do we charge for seating and do we offer tiered pricing for special passes, pre and post-events, mixers or 1:1 time with the presenters?
- What about contests or giveaways to drive attendance and award attendees?
At Redapt we wrestle with similar questions for every event we host. In 2014 we will host 50-60 C-Level, industry events and getting the right answers to these questions are a differentiator in our marketing success.
Let me know what question you think is the most important to hosting a fantastic event in the comments below – then look for my answer in my next post!
(No cheating …)