Event Marketing in the New Normal

Mar 26, 2021

Make no mistake, the pandemic isn’t over yet. With the national rollout of new vaccines, many people have become eager to enter a new normal of operations and business. People are eager to return to restaurants and back to their old routines. Gyms are looking to open to full membership and governments are debating the nature and future of their pandemic regulations. This is also the environment that is seeing the return of public events. With many of these canceled last year, this represents a time for those wonderful celebrations and festivals to return. But how do we go about event marketing in the new normal?

Event marketing has been something we’ve been very successful in over the years, and now our team is working diligently on the return of events to the Charleston area once more. As we enter into this familiar but also new territory, we wanted to take some time to share our thoughts about marketing your events in this new normal, how to successfully navigate the uncertainty, and what hedges you can make to help your events become winners.

Let’s take a look at some basic steps for organizing event marketing and how to apply them to planning your own.

Step 1 – Assess The Current State

The current state of the country is interesting. Different states and municipalities are implementing and enforcing different rules and regulations. All the while, the CDC is maintaining its own suggestions for safety. Take the time to make a list of these requirements. Reach out to your target market and ask them what concerns they have. With this information, you will be able to determine what arrangements will need to be made for your event.

Pro tip: don’t be afraid to gather your team and run a “tabletop” simulation of this, with team members testing your arrangements to see if they can identify any holes in your plan. More minds will help make certain you are effectively covered.

Step 2 – Look to the Future

Predicting the future sounds like something out of a science fiction movie, doesn’t it? Truth be told, a huge part of successful event marketing is looking at past patterns and utilizing them to make educated predictions about the future. The key to this is to review your history and other related information, then establish patterns based on those. Patterns tend to repeat. For example, if your event the previous five years had its largest turnout between 12 pm and 2:30 pm on Saturday, then it’s likely to repeat.

What does this mean for your marketing? Many things. One example is that this pattern can guide how you handle your social media strategy. On Friday and Saturday morning, you should push your event’s social media in advance of the predicted rush. You should also make certain to have additional help for social media messaging and response during the busiest time you’re likely to deal with. There’s much more than this, but this serves as a good example of how identifying patterns can help you set predictions and prepare for the future.

Event Marketing in the New Normal

Moving through a railway tunnel towards the light, 3D looping animation

This step is incredibly helpful in the current environment as new rules and regulations might cycle in and out in any given time frame. Take some time to look into those and see what patterns you can see. It’s time well spent.

Step 3 – Build Your Strategy on What You Know

You’ve gathered a lot of information here, and now it is time to build your strategy. Event marketing should be an integral part of your event planning. Make certain it has a seat at the table during your entire process. Many of the arrangements you are making will require your event marketing to be involved for maximum efficacy.

For example, if you are offering a remote attendance option, for those with concerns over the spread of COVID-19, then you will need to make sure that is getting out to your potential market. What are the channels that will be best for it? How will it be executed? Are people responding to it? All of these are questions your team will need to answer, and they will be easier to answer if your team has been working together from the start.

Remember, your overall strategy will have changes made. Nothing in event marketing is static, so don’t sweat it if this doesn’t seem final. It isn’t. This brings us to our next step.

Strategy PLanning

Step 4 – Establish a Review and Revision Process

Events are almost living things in a way. They grow and change over time and in response to changes and challenges. One mistake event marketers have traditionally struggled with is not only being able to make changes on the fly but also establishing a process that makes those changes part of a consistent process.

Why do we do this? The simple answer is that we’re afraid of change. We will make changes if we need to, but we tend to only make them when there is absolutely no other option. In this post-pandemic world, this tends to be too late.

As you set up your event marketing, regular reviews should be an integral part of your work. Review your results every week and track the numbers. Keep up with trends, regulations, and requirements so you can make the necessary adjustments ahead of schedule. Taking a proactive stance on changes will make you more successful in the end.

Some of this might seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to. Successful events are grounded in an exceptional team so don’t be afraid to talk to trusted marketing professionals and enlist them in your efforts. It will be worth it.

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