EXHIBITION NEWS November 2015 - Page 47

COLUMN Marketing Matters Michael Chidzey, marketing director of agency Chillisauce, explains how to start creating your best campaigns yet Stand out from the crowd S tanding out in an already crowded marketplace is a tough task. There’s no doubt the event industry is becoming ever more competitive, to the point where it is no longer enough to just plan a good event. You need to do more than that if you want to get noticed. A high quality marketing strategy is essential if you want to earn the attention of potential attendees. You can plan the greatest event in the world, but if you don’t tell anyone about it then it’s going to fall flat. Ideas rarely come together unless they are shared with the right people – and once you find those people you have to spark their interest, engage and inspire them. But that is just the beginning. You need to stay relevant, important and keep on inspiring. You want them to be your fans, get this right and they can become one of your greatest assets, spreading the word about your events, buying tickets and spending their cash with you, as well as continuing to talk about the event afterwards, writing reviews and showing others what they’ve missed. You’ve got to keep them happy and engaged across all touchpoints, the entire time. It doesn’t matter how many suppliers you have or how great your speakers are, if you can’t keep your audiences inspired, they’ll just disappear forever. Sound difficult? Of course it does, if it were easy then every organisation in the world would be getting it right. This requires research, planning, vision, imagination, powerful stories, hard work, time and money. Here are seven of my favourite tactics that you can use to enhance your own marketing strategy. Learn from inspirational companies Rather than focusing on direct rivals or search engine competitors, analyse aspirational organisations instead. From disruptive startups in our industry like Tilt.com, Sosh and Eventbrite, to similar events in other cities across the globe like Sydney, San Francisco and Beijing. We investigate these organisations and deconstruct their stories. We ask questions about milestones to their success, why people care about them, and analyse what they’re doing differently to others. Always think how you can apply these principles to your own work – what is your own version of this? Debate current issues in marketing Every week our marketing team meets to discuss and debate the latest trends in marketing, whether it’s something new that other companies have done that week, or key developments in technology. We’ve covered everything from the world’s first tweeting chicken, to the latest Google algorithm update. These sessions should always finish with a creative brainstorm around your company, events and campaigns, and focus on how your own work could be inspired by the current issues. Start creating and actioning recommendations from day zero Whether it’s a white wall filled with Postit notes, a shared Google Doc, a project management tool like Trello, a social intranet like Hipchat or a private board on Pinterest – create a space for everybody to dump ideas, inspiration, and recommendations. Don’t wait until you’ve completed the research section of your strategy to start building recommendations. Also, don’t wait until you’ve finished your strategy to start actioning great ideas. If you’ve struck gold with great ideas, make them happen as soon as possible. Define your customers, intelligently All customers are different, which makes our jobs harder. Rather than solely grouping customers based on age, gender, location, job titles or industries and [