Event Marketing – Moneypit or Jackpot?

October 2, 2017 - 4 minutes read

Done right, old school event marketing offers big returns.

With so many digital avenues to market available, traditional, face-to-face programs like event marketing may be considered a waste. My goal with this post is to show you how to do event marketing right, since it is still vital to the success of many companies. Depending on the industry and the size of your organization, event marketing may be both one of the most expensive parts of the budget and one of the most rewarding.

Here’s how you can ensure your event marketing programs are a resounding success, with measurable results.

  1. Treat each event like its own marketing campaign, with a beginning, middle and end. There’s a planning phase (pre-event), execution (on-site), and follow-up (post-event).
  2. Integrate all aspects, not just on-site activities, as part of the event plan, covering every step from planning through follow-up. This includes email invitations, list rentals, media briefings, messaging, and on and on… they are not stand-alone actions, but part of a comprehensive campaign.
  3. Plan! Create your event plan early, and in so doing, think through the goals of your presence at the event, and all the activities your team will need to perform to accomplish those goals. I have a document with key questions to consider in the event planning phase. Contact me to get it.
  4. During the planning stage, meet early, meet often and communicate nonstop. In fact, I recommend over-communicating to make sure your team is on the same page. Do a basic level set meeting as much as 6 months before a major event. Get into serious planning and pre-event tasks starting 3 months before.
  5. Expect things to go wrong. All things don’t often all go wrong, but if one action here and there does go south, you can recover quickly. Shipments get lost, equipment gets damaged, staff gets delayed due to weather… And if nothing goes wrong, count yourself lucky (and appreciate how rare that is).
  6. Recognize that everything will take longer than expected, especially demo development, testing and setup. Need a new part for the demo? It will take longer than you think to arrive. And when it does, it may not work. So start early.
  7. If you have a sales team that wants to show every demo, every time, tell them to stop the madness. You’ve already set the messaging for the event and the goals, and the demos you need for the event are driven by those details. Since you’ve communications effectively (see Step 4), the sales team knows the plan. Stick with the plan.
  8. Own it. Events are a marketing responsibility. How well things go on-site, the results of all the planning, on-site activities and follow-up programs, are all owned by marketing. Recognize that, handle hiccups, execute like a beast, and track your metrics.

Finally, remember that a deadline is a deadline.


The tradeshow, event or conference is going to happen as scheduled, and if you’re not ready, you’re missing the opportunity to make the most of the resources, time and budget you and your team have put into it.

If your team needs help with event marketing, contact Marketing Habit. We’ve been doing events for decades with strong results, and know how to integrate digital marketing strategies with in-person programs to get the best possible results.

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