Event Marketing: Where to Start

By Liz McDermott
a hand holding a stopwatch with a pink ribbon around it

You have spent weeks – probably even months – planning and executing all the details of your upcoming event. The location is set. Times are confirmed. Features and attractions are lined up. Admission prices and tickets are all sorted out. All that is left is to get the word out about your event!

But where do you start?

Before you jump into all the nitty-gritty details of a full-blown marketing plan, I recommend taking a step back and making sure you have a solid foundation to start with. Read on for the top things I have learned that really make a difference in the successful marketing of your event.

Know Who Your Audience Is

Determining who the desired audience for your event plays a big role in HOW you want to market your event. Different generations consume media in vastly different ways. To reach a younger audience – you may want to focus on social media and targeted digital media. If you are looking for an older population – TV and even the newspaper may be a great way to reach them. You also need to consider if your audience speaks Spanish and if you want to include media that directly targets them in their native language.

Take it Market by Market

Every market is unique. Advertising your event in Orlando, FL is going to look a lot different than how you advertise your event in El Paso, TX. In smaller markets, you can run a schedule on one station and reach most of the market. In larger markets – your budget will not go as far, and you will find that you need to be more creative to reach the same number of people.

If your event is in the same place you live – great! That makes things easier as you should already have a feel for what stations, publications, and areas of town make the most sense to advertise. If your event is happening in a market that you are not familiar with, it is best to find local contacts for media in that market and use them as a resource to help get you started.

Timing is Everything

Unless you are working with an unlimited budget, it is best to layer your marketing efforts regarding both timing and media channels. As soon as you have your event details confirmed, make sure your website is updated with current information. You can also create a Facebook event on your social media page to help get the word out!

As your event gets closer, you will want to start adding in paid advertising tactics, starting with very event-specific tactics such as search advertising and website retargeting. Follow that with some market-wide tactics such as outdoor, print, and broadcast TV and radio that will reach people who may not already be aware of your event.

Partnerships are Key

Paid media buys can only take you so far. Sometimes it is the “extra” components that really push your event marketing to be successful. Another benefit to working with local media in the market of the event is building relationships and creating mutually beneficial partnerships. You can offer a media partner additional exposure at the event and through your ads in exchange for them creating custom content, sweepstakes, or customized advertising opportunities for your event.

I have also found that spending the budget to work with a local PR team is worth its weight in gold as you can tap into their existing relationships with both the media and social media influencers in the market.

Summary

No matter what marketing budget you have available to promote your event, starting with the above can help you kick-off a successful marketing plan. If this all seems a bit overwhelming, contact Redroc today! We have over 25 years of experience in Advertising and Marketing a wide variety of events across the country and would love to talk to you about your event and see if we can help.

Liz McDermott, with nearly two decades of experience in account service and media, currently holds the pivotal position of Senior Account Director at Redroc Austin. Her leadership extends across the agency's account team, where she spearheads operations and expertly manages several strategic client accounts.


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