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Events that Rock: Thinking Outside the Box

So you're thinking about holding an event to promote a new service that you've recently added. You know that a visual presentation will wow the audience if you can get in front of the right organizations. Unfortunately, your target e-mail list is as limited as your advertising budget. Time to get creative.

As with any good marketing campaign, you have to start with the definition of your target market. Who will your new service benefit the most? Retail businesses, HVAC/plumbers, health care providers? Narrow your target.

Next, identify the primary business benefit from the service you want to promote. What problem will you solve for your prospects -- lower costs of IT service, better customer service, improved inventory management? Keep it simple.

Not the Usual Suspects
Now, think about other organizations that serve that same target audience with a different but complementary product or service. It may sound old-fashioned, but flipping through the Yellow Pages may give you more ideas that searching the Internet. Think outside the box to find your partners. Consider

  • a Web design company that specializes in building retail online stores,
  • a car dealer with fleet sales and service for home service companies, or
  • a medical supplies distributor.

To get the biggest benefit, seek out companies that have a large contact list or advertise regularly. Then create a business-driven message that will benefit you and the partner company. Host events that focus on things like:

  • Winning in Retail: Boost online sales without IT headaches;
  • Home Service Excellence: Maximize customer service and onsite visits; or
  • Health Check: Improve profits with better inventory management.

Make it easy for your partner to promote the event. Give them an e-mail template that they can send to their e-mail list and flyers to post. Take the lead and the initiative to ensure that you get the full value of the event.

The venue can provide the opportunity for partnership as well. Get commitment for event promotion when you host your event at a local winery or restaurant. If their clientele aligns with your target market, it can be a win for both companies.

A Case in Point
Let's say that you are promoting unified communication to local architects, engineering firms and other small professional services companies. The business benefit you want to focus on is allowing home workers and field personnel to be fully connected to the information they need. The business decision makers for these organizations are generally the owners, but you don't have much of a contact list.

Doing some research, you a find local printer that specializes in blueprints with a new state-of-the-art facility that they would like to show off. You also contact a CAD software company to see if they would like to present in exchange for promoting the event to their mailing list. Voila! By finding partners, you have tripled the number contacts to invite to the event, tripled the value of the information, tripled your chances for a stellar event.

Have you had a great partnership event? Tell me about it and let's share the knowledge.

Posted by Barb Levisay on April 20, 2011


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