Article Written By Samantha Heyden.

There are countless information sources both online and off (many produced by Skyline around the globe) outlining what you need to do to be a successful event marketer.  Topics range from booth design, promotions, choosing the right booth staff, selecting the right shows and on and on.

I was recently asked what I thought was the key to successful event marketing. My first thought was “jeez that is a tough question” and my second was “this answer is not going to be popular”!

In my opinion the key to successful event marketing is Planning. Boring right! – But bear with me, if you create the plan and then you can spend more time on all the fun stuff and do it in a strategic and rewarding fashion!

Creating a forward plan for ALL of your events for the next 12 months – here are some reasons why?

1.    Consistent Branding & Messaging

Your plan will outline what you want to communicate for each event. You will know what graphics you need on your display and what they will promote and highlight at your events. This will tie in with the promotional materials, uniforms and entertainment you will use at each event. This will ensure a consistent message, look and feel across your entire show schedule.

2.    Efficient & Effective Promotions

You will plan your pre-show, at-show and post-show promotions.

This will create the foundation and structure for your event promotion. Meaning you will simply have a process that you follow for each event.

Remember you don’t necessarily need to recreate the wheel for each event but tweak and tailor the promotional strategy to suit individual events.

3.    You have a display solution designed to suit your entire 12 month show schedule (or longer)

You have planned for all your shows so you can design a display solution that can be reconfigured to suit all of your booth sizes and spaces. Imagine having one solution that can do it all! How good would that be? The benefits include:

a.         A consistent look and feel at all your events
b.         No need to organise a new display booth for every event
c.         Maximizing your budgets by investing across your entire event schedule
d.         You have reduced your non-productive expenditure because you or your exhibit stand supplier have pre-planned your logistics and/or labour
e.         You or your exhibit stand supplier will have a system and process built to manage your show forms and bookings, making this task more streamlined and efficient

4.    Experienced & Knowledgeable Booth Staff

You plan for what members of your team you will have on your booth for each event. Planning in advance will mean that you can gain commitment from the right people, (with the right knowledge and experience) to ensure successful outcomes at each event.

5.    Measurement of your Success is Less of a Burden

You have planned what you need to measure, so you do it for each event which allows you to compare and contrast your results and performance. This will help you assess what events you lock down for your next plan which is easily justified to your management team.

6.    You have Buy-In

Your plan has been distributed and approved by stakeholders crucial to success, including management, sales and finance. You have buy-in and everyone knows their goals and what needs to be achieved.

You do not need to wait for a new calendar or financial year to start planning – you just need to start.  I promise once you do, you will be amazed how executing individual events will become a breeze. Why? Because you have done all the hard work at the start with the plan. As each event comes along you simply follow the plan and make minor adjustments and tweaks as you go along rather than starting from scratch each time.

Enjoy the planning phase and don’t aim for perfection, rather aim for a good plan that you can evolve and adapt over time. Or in other words aim for progress not perfection – progress can be achieved!

You can view this article and many more on the Skyline Displays Australia Blog.

About the Author: Samantha Heyden is the Manager for Marketing, Innovation & Process at Skyline Displays Australia and has worked with Skyline since 2002. She has been responsible for developing the marketing strategies, branding and event programs for Skyline throughout Australia. Working alongside the Skyline Displays Australia Project Management Team she has also been actively involved with assisting clients in meeting their event marketing objectives and return-on-investment with their Australian trade show displays. Sam believes that Trade Shows work and is passionate about working with clients to maximise their outcomes at every event they attend.

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