Event management has evolved into its own field – experiential communications. But I have been planning and running events long before they coined such fancy phrases.
Brand activations for Asphalt Green. Product sampling and on-site promotions for Coors and Hershey’s. Press conferences and editorial roundtables for Monsanto Plastics. Press tours and small business seminars for AST Computers. Block parties for Pizza Hut. Art exhibits and design workshops for Advanced Elastomer Systems. Customer meetings, manage retreats, and office parties for Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Creamer Dickson Basford, and Magnet Communications. And trade shows. I have worked so many trade shows that I actually began running trade show workshops for my clients, teaching attendees how to make the most of these events.
But planning and preparing for an event is only half the battle. And arguably the easier half (if I had a penny for every time someone told me they wanted to get into public relations because they like planning parties, I would have been able to afford to hire someone else to write and design this website).
The real challenge is getting people – especially the right people, your target audience – to actually attend the event. To achieve this, you can use a mix of tactics, such as ads, direct mail, publicity, blogs, social media, and website landing pages and pop-ups. And then comes the challenge of merchandising the event, maximizing its impact through traditional media and social media coverage, as well as working with sales, customer relations, and other departments to follow-up with attendees.
I have developed an expertise in planning, executing, and merchandising events over the years. And as a shining example, I was responsible for orchestrating the grand reopening of Asphalt Green’s Aquatics Center within a few weeks of taking the job as Marketing Director. They had no plan in place or budget set aside when I arrived, so I had to get creative and use every tool and talent at my disposal to help produce the most successful event in the organization’s history, delivering twice the expected turnout and the best-ever single day and month in terms of membership sales. Experiential indeed!