Hear From Your Peers. Events for Clients, Events for Your Brand
Every business is a brand and needs brand management. Full stop.
Call this conventional wisdom if you want, but there’s sticky reality behind it. Today, when so many businesses compete with each other through social media and the cloud, your marketing scheme needs to develop through multiple channels.
But brand management isn’t just advertisements for yourself. You need to home in on the action in your marketing niche. For every pitch you send forth there should be equal and opposite feedback (think of it as the first physical law of marketing. Even Isaac Newton would need a brand manager today!)
This is why, even in the time of Twitter, I’m a steadfast champion of marketing events. At events, outreach and feedback can come full circle. The best are works of art, and moneymakers.
I think a great marketing event has all the hallmarks of a good party. The host unobtrusively works the room, the arrangements are tasteful and the guests generate curiosity and good vibes. And yes, marketing events can be fun, too, even if you technically are working.
Because I know too many advisors who think events are hokey or not worth their time and energy, I’ll explain their virtuous information cycle. But first, why are they great for your business?
- They align your identity with clients’ interests. Events should be banner attractions for your ideal clients. It would be a shame for them to leave an event without realizing you understand and cater to their concerns and priorities. By partnering with another business, inviting a speaker or discussing a theme that’s relevant to all guests, you overlap your business with the ideal client’s space.
- There is no worthless information. Thinking about the ideal clients’ estate should be second nature to you. Events help you learn about products that interest them and impediments to their goals.
- Events expand the definition of doing business. Yes, for you the event is work, but we all know work goes best when we enjoy it. When you’re happy with how the event is rolling, you will be a more effective communicator.
- They are vehicles for killer follow-up. Reaching out after the event helps everyone’s memory and creates a natural channel for classy, in-touch messages to clients.
- Partnering possibilities. Events are natural means to connect with the client base of another business with overlapping marketing goals. Another virtuous cycle.
Make no mistake: events require abundant planning and research. For the many advisors I meet who still feel tentative about the basics, I’ve developed list of (highly adaptable) protocols:
- Bigger is not always better. You don’t need to fill a convention center. Some of the best events are intimate affairs for a handful of guests. Don’t put up a big staging if it’s not your style.
- Everything counts. That’s everything, people, including the invitations, speakers, food, party favors and follow-up. The event is personal. It’s your statement to clients about your interest in them and appreciation for who they are. Don’t be afraid to speak directly to their identities through the choices you make.
- Never forget your brand. Even when it’s all about them.
- Set up an attraction besides you. Speakers, themes, co-hosting arrangements (how can your partnering business push its agenda?) and tutorials are all great devices that cultivate interest and free you to work the room. You at least need the time to thank each guest for coming and asking what he or she most enjoyed.
- Have your story down. Let there be no question about why you hosted this event. In fact, attendees should think no one else could host it.
- Make sure your broad community of interest gets the flier. It’s not just about those who show up. Your pool of ideal clients is much deeper than that.
Stumped for event ideas? Remember that a good brand is a mirror that reflects that client’s values and needs. The organizing principles for any event are found in those intangibles.
And remember that in the end, it's just a party.
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