Tom Fisher, marketing executive at Clarion Events and 2016 EN30/30 member offers some top tips to aspiring marketers starting off a career working in events.
I instantly fell in love with the events industry when I made the transition from police officer to marketing administrator for an in-house company called PPMA in early 2013.
Yes, the weeks building up to a show can be stressful – I understand that now, but seeing the fruits of your labour pay off in a busy exhibition hall and watching business take place, makes it all worthwhile. And in my case, there’s also a significantly reduced risk of being greeted by pig impersonations.
Several years later as a marketing executive at Clarion Events, I’ve recently been inducted to the EN 30 Under Thirty class of 2016. As well as being a real privilege, it’s given me the impetus to offer my top tips to any aspiring marketers starting off a career working in events.
OBJECTIVES AND STRATEGIES
A lot of people think marketing is sending out emails in-between bouts of spending a company’s money and frantically colouring-in with crayons. I’m sure for some people it is, however a good marketer is looking at the corporate objectives and strategies, devising tactics to achieve these.
It’s not just a case of getting more visitors through the door every year, a goal-to-grow orientated campaign might well gauge success by looking solely at visitor numbers, but a goal-to-improve focus might prefer looking at other indicators, such as visitor satisfaction. On that note, make sure you’re looking at the visitor and exhibitor post-event surveys for what the previous campaign did right and what can be improved.
TALK TO YOUR CUSTOMERS
As part of the show organiser team, this is something I’ve found incredibly useful. What better way to understand the marketing message of your show than by speaking to the people who will have their products on show there? The happier the exhibitor is post-event, the more likely it is that they’ll rebook.
What’s more, if you take the time to help exhibitors with their own show marketing, you’ll find you’ll have some very happy customers on your hands as well as opening up the opportunity for increased visitor numbers due to the new data pool. It can be something as simple as offering to help set up an HTML email which they can send out – you’ve just increased brand awareness at no cost to the company.
CONTENT, CONTENT, CONTENT
Do you ever open up a text-heavy email and get taken back to haunting memories of school textbooks? In my rank-and-file days we were taught the ABC of communication – Accuracy, Brevity and Clarity. Keep the message clear and always try and include media (e.g. pictures, video) to get people’s attention. Your call to action will direct them to your website which will take care of the rest.
TALK TO THE SALES TEAM
I’ve never understood the friction in some places between marketing and sales departments. By working together you’re much more likely to meet your KPIs and encourage business sustainability. Put the ego to one side and ask for their input when constructing broadcasts – it will make your job a whole lot easier and might even get you an invite to the pub afterwards.
ASK ’THE STUPID QUESTION’
It’s a lot better to look a bit daft in front of your line manager than very daft in front of an audience of hundreds or thousands in an email. Once it’s out there, it’s out there. If you’re not sure about something, ask – always remember that your line manager was once in your position.
I read with amusement Adam Aston’s My Working Life article in a previous issue of EN where he thought shell schemes were actually called ‘shelf-schemes’. Everyone’s human. It wasn’t that long ago when booking a train ticket to visit International Confex that I nearly ended up attending the African Healthcare Summit because I was looking at the previous year’s calendar!
GET OUT THERE
If I hadn’t have had a conversation at a recent industry event, I wouldn’t have heard about the job vacancy I currently have at Clarion Events. EN and the AEO (to name a few) roll out some really great events across the year, seize the opportunity to get out and meet your suppliers, even your rivals – you never know when you might need them.