Jul 22, 2008

Pre-Event Planning Tips – Optimize Your ROI

2 Lessons In the Same Breath: The Importance of Pre-Event Planning and The Power of Event Based Marketing

Events are effective.  Time and again studies have shown that face-to-face interaction is the most believable, authentic, and memorable form of contact with consumers.  Our company recently conducted a snazzy event to introduce the partnership of two major corporations.  Every job brings its surprises and opportunities to learn how to optimize your investment.  Here is a story that will illuminate the two lessons I took from our most recent event.

A red carpet stretched down a long candlelit hallway that emerged into a courtyard filled with cool summer night air and the sound of a jazz trio playing in the open air art gallery.  The waitresses were dressed in black and white; they bustled about offering an array of market fresh delicacies.  Strings of lights hung from the high crumbly redbrick ivy covered walls and sparkled like glitter as they reflected on the polished glasses that were filled with local California spirits.  Company logos were lightly printed on sheer fabric that draped softly over open windows.  Executives from all over the country laughed and mingled below a two story slide show of still photos taken from classic movies that were projected against the far wall.  The environment created an aesthetically delightful experience.

An executive from the hosting company walked up to me during the event and brashly pointed out, "Well, looks like were at about 1,000 dollars a head."  No doubt, this was more than he had intended.  He had quickly derived this figure by dividing the budget by the attendance which was lower than he had expected.  I was taken aback.  Despite our advice, he had not given us the reigns to optimize their pre-event strategy.  Here we find the first lesson.  It does not matter how dazzlingly incredible the event if nobody shows up. 

As these frustrations raced through my head, he added in the same breath, "But, [John] just spent fifteen minutes talking with the president of [Acme Corporation] and it was all worth it."  He smiled.  "Wow!" I thought.  He spent all that money and it was worth it for one conversation.  This comment illustrates our second point.  Nothing takes the place of face-to-face.  Do not underestimate the emotional connection and loyalty that develops towards a brand or individual as a result of personal interaction.  In the blindingly fast pace of modern business fortunes and fates are sealed by the minutest margins.  One chance with the right person, in the right environment, at the right time can make all difference.

The fact that the event was a success despite poor attendance speaks to the effectiveness of event based marketing and investing in face-to-face contact as a primary touch point with your audience.  But, think how much more impact they could have had if they had invested in their pre-event planning strategy!


Avoid the same mistake.  Here are some pre-event planning tips:

  • Target your audience – If a thousand Jamaicans show up to your bobsled sales event you probably have made a bad investment.
  • Start early – Send out mailers early to build anticipation.
  • Personalize – If you are like me you probably throw away half the things that don′t look like they contain a birthday card and $5 from Grandma. 
  • VIP – The more exclusive your event, the more likely people are to attend.
  • Incentives – Make a call to action.  Offer small gifts for each RSVP and rewards for attendance.
  • Deadlines – Create deadlines for offers and RSVPs to create a sense of urgency. 


Advent leads from the forefront of the cutting edge modern marketing industry by fueling brands with the explosive power of experiences.  Advent creates an emotional bond with audiences by leveraging the unrivaled effectiveness of experiential marketing through targeted events, engaging exhibits, and branded spaces.  High impact and high touch strategies mark Advent′s creative advantage and have helped rapidly expanding brands communicate messages that gain immediate and lasting resonance with consumers.  For more check out www.adventresults.com.