How to identify prospects and build your database for a targeted event marketing campaign

identify prospects and build your database for a targeted event marketing campaignThere is a good chance that most meeting and event planners begin their event marketing with some level of data. If they’re lucky, that database may also include some background information on past events attended and whether attendees returned year over year. What it may not include is information on what attendees value.

The best ways to gather this level of understanding are to:

  • Connect and stay in touch with your attendees. It is easy to become engrossed in the details of the event content and logistics, but taking the time to build trusting relationships and then encouraging an open dialogue will work wonders toward learning what is important to them.
  • Incorporate pre-, during-, and post-show surveys in to every event, and compare how effective you were at managing your attendees’ expectations vs. their perceived ROI after the event.
  • Give careful consideration to the questions you are asking, and answer choices to be sure that there is no room for guessing results based on interpretation or perception.
  • Use the opportunity to survey those who did not attend or did not show to find out why.

Upon review of the data collected, meeting and event planners should learn:

  • The trade show exhibitors that were most appealing to different segments of the database.
  • The speakers or session topics that generated the greatest interest.
  • Whether there is there a registration price sensitivity and/or what the pricing threshold is for different segments of the database.
  • The elements of the meeting or event that most interested or appealed to different segments of the database.

This information can and should be used to target future attendees on the next event marketing campaign. You will now know which exhibitors and products to target, how to best incentivize attendees to return, and how to attract similar prospects in the future.

Different messages appeal to different segments

Now that you have “cleaned” your prospect database and have identified key segments, it’s time to develop a marketing campaign that includes messaging and graphics that is relevant to those segments.

While you have grabbed their attention, you can survey your attendees to gather valuable data, specify demographics, filter new data against established criteria, accommodate campaign modifications, and track results.

Gathering data and using it to your advantage

Developing a personalized marketing message to segments of the list is only the beginning of the marketing process. Surveying is essential to qualifying attendees before the event, and building your program around those results is essential to success. Using the survey to determine session topics of interest and/or the products and services of the exhibiting companies are vital measures of the meeting or event’s value and success for an attendee. In return, the number and quality of qualified attendees is an important success measure for exhibitors and sponsors.

For more information, please see AMI’s new whitepaper, The Changing Face of Attendee Marketing.

About the author:

Andy McNeill, CEO of AMI, is a veteran of the meetings and event industries, with more than 25 years of experience in the profession. He has assisted firms in a variety of industries including pharmaceutical, biotech, healthcare, consumer, sports marketing and investment banking. He firmly believes in the strategic meeting marketing model and provides consulting services to Fortune 100 clients on the practice. After graduation from Florida State with a degree in marketing, Andy began his career in the event marketing group at Florida State Athletics. Soon after, he launched his own event marketing company and after five years merged with a major sports marketing firm. Andy spent six years with NSG Corporation as the Senior Vice President leading the sales and marketing for the firm who produced events for over 200,000+ attendees annually across the globe. Andy and the NSG team worked with the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta to produce portions of the Opening Ceremonies. Following NSG, Andy secured the role as COO at Fanizzi Associates, one of the nation’s largest event pharmaceutical firms. There he managed the overall operations of the company who executed over 400 events annually for physicians and internal pharmaceutical clients. Revenues exceeded $40 million a year. In 2002, Andy left Fanizzi Associates, and launched AMI with the vision of owning and operating a premiere event marketing and meeting management firm. Since 2002, AMI has grown into a multi-million dollar organization producing hundreds of events annually. The firm has managed programs in more than 20 industries for clients such as Novartis, Mars, Cleveland Clinic, J & J, Baxter, Pfizer and Office Depot. Andy’s vision of keeping AMI on the forefront of meetings technology, theory and practice has made it an industry leader. He is a member of MPI, Site, and the American Marketing Association. He volunteers as a chair of the Human Rights Campaign. Andy's day-to-day responsibilities include client acquisition, consulting and overall company strategy.

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