Terri Lynn Yanke, Eventful Advantage, shared the power of events and broke down how to build successful, memorable events with impact at AMA Madison’s Craft Marketing presentation on May 25th. In her presentation, Terri Lynn helped attendees understand how with strategic, careful planning, events can strengthen brand awareness and create more meaningful, long-lasting customer relationships.

During the presentation, Terri Lynn reviewed the following:

  • The Power of Events
  • Event Best Practices
  • The Magic of Creating Experiences

To set the scene, Terri Lynn opened with a compelling story about a client event:

The client was a realtor selling a luxurious multi-million dollar home. Terri Lynn was brought on to help create an event that could find such a buyer. Playing to the home’s unique selling proposition (USP), which was the fact that it was designed to entertain and display art, Terri Lynn and the client organized an “artist showcase and home tour.”

But they didn’t do it alone. To broaden the reach, Terri Lynn found sponsors to split the cost of the event, including local caterers and artists. Each partner brought their own list of guests to the table, eliminating the need for advertisements. Friends and neighbors were encouraged to drop by. She even set up a prize table as an interactive, fun way to collect guest data.

The result: Over 200 people attended, every artist sold or commissioned work, each sponsor gained new leads after incurring a minimal cost, and through a guest’s referral, the house sold.

The lesson? Collaboration and creativity go a long way in planning memorable, impactful events, Terri Lynn shared.

To help attendees realize and plan their own events with impact, Terri Lynn outlined the “why’s” and the “how’s” behind successful business events.

The Power of Events

Keeps Current Customers and Employees Engaged and Loyal

Engaged customers buy 90% more frequently, spend 60% more per transaction, and are five times more likely to buy from the same brand in the future, Terri Lynn shared. By throwing enjoyable, memorable events, you can delight your current customers and employees and remind them why they love your brand. Terri Lynn advises that you invite your current employees and customers to your events, even offering them discounted or free admission.

Attracts New Customers

Events are a fantastic form of lead generation. According to Terri Lynn, 79% of US Marketers generate sales using event marketing. Regardless of whether or not someone attends your events, the simple fact that they received an invitation means they’re now more aware of your brand than before. Terri Lynn emphasized that even if no one shows up, everyone who received an invitation will have learned more about your brand than they could have from a typical social media post. According to Terri Lynn, 65% of consumers report that live events helped them have helped  them better understand a product or service, surpassing digital efforts and TV advertising. From the invitation to the experience, events are powerful marketing tools.

Scales Your Business

Terri Lynn shared that because events allow marketers to talk 1 to many instead of simply 1 to 1, events are the fastest way to scale your business. You can build likeability, awareness, and trust faster than other marketing initiatives. Events make it easy to spread your message in creative, consistent ways to entire groups of people, making them highly efficient modes of communication. Plus, you can collect attendee data whether they attend or not.

Builds Brand Awareness

Events provide excellent opportunities to encourage your customers to be brand advocates. This can come through attendee posts and shares on social media via photos or hashtags. You can even stage photo ops around the event facility to make your guests want to share their experiences.

Terri Lynn also recommends building “quality swag” into events as another way to boost brand awareness. In other words, there’s great power in offering guests free gifts for attending your event, but they must be high in quality. After all, it’s hard to stay excited about clutter. Make sure it’s something that they won’t just toss in the trash afterwards.

Event Best Practices

Know Your Purpose and Goals

Be sure to apply your USP throughout the event planning process, Terri Lynn advises. Your USP is what makes your event special, and keeping your focus on it is what will make your event memorable.

Time & Action Calendar

Put in place a time and action calendar to keep your event on track. Terri Lynn recommends reverse-engineering the event date. Determine the event date, then work backward to see when specific objectives must be completed. You may need to begin immediately to avoid letting duties pile up, even if your event is years away. It depends on the scale of your event, so plan ahead!

Create an Attendee Plan

One of the biggest challenges behind event planning is figuring out how to get people to attend. According to Terri Lynn, it’s best to begin by defining your ideal attendee and ask the following starter questions:

  • Who are they?
  • Where are they?
  • What’s your goal?
  • Do you or your partners have access to them?
  • Should you add partners/sponsors?
  • Should you advertise?

 

Considering these questions will point you in the right direction and help to form your attendee plan.

Create an Event Marketing Communication Plan

  • Choose an Event Platform. Terri Lynn advises using an event platform, like Eventbrite, which will promote your event and collect your registrants’ data for you. Your CRM system may even offer event platform capabilities similar to these. This will be your 1 stop shop for registration.
  • Get the Word Out. To further promote your event, you can use networking/membership groups, social media, email, direct mail, and advertising. Consider the form at which your ideal attendee will be most reachable.
  • Timing is critical. Begin getting the word out 1 month out, minimum. Don’t worry if people don’t sign up immediately. As soon as they learn about your event, it’ll be in their heads. Many people sign up for events last minute, especially for online events.

The Magic of Creating Experiences

The Neuroscience: The Long Term Memory Formula

Truly fantastic, memorable, immersive experiences come from engaging all five senses. Terri Lynn shared the “Long Term Memory Formula:”

Attendee Interaction + Engagement + Involve all Five Senses (Sight, Hearing, Smell, Taste, and Touch)

Terri Lynn explained that five senses experiences can even exist on Zoom. As organizations have adapted to the new virtual event climate, they’ve found creative ways to engage event attendees from afar. For example, event organizers can provide guests with food delivery service gift cards or send them surprises in the mail.

Avoid Bad Experiences

It’s essential to be aware of the experience you’re creating every step of the way. Avoid bad experiences at all costs. Bad experiences can come from anything from not feeling greeted or a lack of attendance to bad food.

Terri Lynn pointed out that as humans, we tend to remember the negative experiences we encounter, and we like to tell people about it. As a result, your event can be the most powerful branding initiative in your toolbox, or it can be a massive blow to your brand’s reputation.

Create Great Experiences

Experiences lead to memories. Ensure that not only your customers’ experiences are wonderful, but that your employees have a great time as well! Build the know, the like, and the trust, and you’ll get loyalty in return.

Many thanks to our presenter, Terri Lynn Yanke of Eventful Advantage, Greg Mischio of Winbound, moderator and event sponsor, plus all our attendees and volunteers.

See You Online for June’s Craft Marketing

Craft Marketing invites you to its next virtual event at 4 PM on June 29, 2021 where Lori Highby of Keystone Click will present “Marketing Automation – Make your Life Simpler and Streamline Your Lead Gen Activities.

Register here for the online event.

Author

Kara Martin, Content Writer at Naviant, specializes in written B2B content, from case studies to blogs. She transforms complex technical information into compelling, data-driven content.