Too many events fail because the marketing team view them as a one-off concept, not something that needs attention every day. In her latest blog on planning for event marketing success, Kirsty Joynson argues event marketing is a 12-month job. An ‘event’ is defined as “a thing that happens or takes place, especially one of importance”. In the B2B world events are becoming ever more central to how a brand establishes a reputation, builds a community, boosts existing revenue streams and forges new ones. But the very rarity and importance of events is both a blessing and a curse. Their ‘one off’ nature means they are often neglected by marketers in week-to-week activity. Attention and planning is often pushed back to a time ‘nearer’ the date of the event. This is a major strategic mistake. Even if events are relatively rare in your calendar, your attention to them needs to be on them for 12 months a year. Your events should be in your daily routine One of the root causes for organisations neglecting their events is that they are often seen as ‘extra’ or ‘additional’ part of their marketing strategy. This is especially the case for firms who are mostly focused on subscriptions or advertising. The unique nature of events can lead to a more tactical and ad-hoc approach, with little attention paid to planning and what can only called a ‘panic’ mindset and behaviour setting in a couple of months before the event when the clock is ticking loudly or bookings need to pick up. This is reckless when your brand reputation is at stake. You cannot afford to undervalue your event, it should be integrated into your marketing strategy at all times. It can’t be a separate beast or something only addressed by junior staff as a second-tier priority. Strategy is what makes for a successful event and you can’t be strategic if you work only in short bursts. You must continually nurture your event and the community around it. You’re only as good – and just as good – as your last event A successful future relies heavily on the successes of the past. Your previous event shouldn’t fade into history as soon as it’s done. It should be a core part of your ongoing content. Strong presentations, powerful video presentations, white papers or round tables that went very well at a last event must be the foundation for your content building up to the next event. It’s here that you mine the treasures of dynamic and exciting event content to help remind customers why they’ve attended events in the past and entice them to come back again – with their colleagues! By sharing quality content with your event audience, you’ll increase the likelihood of those people amplifying your content and, in effect, acting as ambassadors for your event. Earned media – made simple and quite easy. As a major plus, you’ll also vastly improve your brand’s reputation for quality content – even amongst those who may not choose to attend your events. The early bird catches the customers A common failure with event planning is to only release an agenda or list of speakers in the last couple of months before an event. That’s too late. Think about how hard it can sometimes be to find a slot in your calendar for an urgent meeting with a client or colleague. When you’re asking a speaker or delegate to commit to an event – you’re usually asking them block out at least a day, and sometimes several days, in their diary. You are competing directly with hundreds of other professional (and personal) demands on their very valuable time. Respect their time. Make sure they have the full agenda with 90% of confirmed content and speakers confirmed at least 16 weeks before an event. That may seem a little cautious, but the payoff in terms of both new bookings and re-bookings can be huge. For events ‘speakers are the product’ – usually being a major, if not the only reason, why delegates will attend your event. Get buy-in from all stakeholders In most cases, 99% of the event planning responsibility falls on just a handful of (often junior) people. Events need to be a focal point across departments. From sales to marketing to editorial to production to logistics, all stakeholders must take an ongoing coordinated and strategical role in event planning. Without coordination, it is very likely that each department takes a piecemeal tactical approach to an event with a detrimental effect on the overall result. A long-term, strategic approach will, over time, make it easier to get buy-in from all departments and make planning smoother and more impactful as brand stakeholders begin to understand the benefits of a full 12 month cycle event planning and event marketing cycle. Not just for special occasions Your event or events need to be viewed by your organisation as critical strategic tools to engage your community the whole year around, not one just one or a few days in the year. A steady supply of unique, compelling content and resources should be emerging from your event planning and marketing at all times – engaging your brand audience. Events are indeed special, but you shouldn’t make event planning a special occasion. Make it part of your daily routine.