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How To Evaluate Your Event Line-Up for 2024

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A Step-by-Step Guide for an Optimal Event Line-Up

When it comes to planning your event strategy, the question every year is: should we stick with our current events or venture into new ones? This decision can significantly impact your brand’s reach and influence. It should be based on factors such as the target audience, the potential to influence key regions, and alignment with your business goals. Before reevaluating your event line-up, make sure you have a handle on your business needs.

Key Factors to Know BEFORE You Evaluate Your Events:

Understanding Your Target Audience: The first step is making sure you have a clear understanding of your current target audience and assessing the potential of an event to reach that demographic. Are there untapped markets that a new event could access that align with your products or services?

Define Your Geographic Influence & Focus: Know where your audience buys, lives, or where your products or services sell best. This can be as simple as not selling beach gear in a blizzard, or in other words, you wouldn’t look for trade show events in Montana. Go to where your audience is and where your product performs.

Aligning with Marketing Objectives and Company Goals: One of the primary business needs for event marketing is alignment with broader marketing objectives and overarching company goals. Whether the aim is to increase brand awareness, launch a new product, or foster customer loyalty, events should be designed with these objectives in mind. For instance, if your objective is to launch a new product or service, an event focused on innovation and technology might be more suitable than a traditional trade show.

Promoting Products and Services: Events offer businesses a unique platform to showcase their products and services in a social setting. They allow potential customers to engage with a product or service hands-on, which can be more compelling than traditional advertising methods. Know how your products are best going to perform in this setting, and consider alternative trade show methods if they fit better. Remember that big shows don’t always mean a big return.

By having a clearly defined objective beforehand, you’ll be well-equipped to evaluate your event line-up for 2024 effectively. So, here’s how to evaluate your event line-up for 2024.

The step-by-step guide to help you navigate this critical decision-making process.

Step 1: Evaluate New vs. Current Events for Your Line-Up

The initial step in optimizing your 2024 event line-up and strategy involves a thorough evaluation of both your current and potential events.

Begin by reviewing the events that you regularly attend. These could be annual conferences, trade shows, or networking events. The goal here is to determine how well these events align with your target audience and their influence in your key markets. 

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do these events attract your target audience?
  • Are they influential within your key regions?
  • How well do they align with your business objectives?

If the answer to these questions is yes, then it’s clear that these events are worthwhile investments.

Next, turn your attention to potential new event opportunities. These could be emerging industry conferences, local networking events, or digital webinars. 

Here, you should consider:

  • Are there any gaps in your current event portfolio? 
  • Are there new markets or segments you’re looking to penetrate? 
  • Are there opportunities for expansion within your existing markets?

By asking these questions, you can identify new events that could complement your existing event portfolio and help achieve your business objectives. This process will ensure that your event portfolio is aligned with your target audience, influential in your key regions, and poised to take advantage of new opportunities.

Step 2: Trial and Error

New opportunities can be a time for big successes or big failures. But don’t shy away from exploring new events just because of the potential what-ifs. However, you should be prepared for a trial-and-error approach. If a new event doesn’t yield the desired results, it’s okay to step back and refine your strategy. Remember, every experience is a learning opportunity.

Learn from past experiences. For instance, events in certain regions may have been successful but did not fully align with business goals. On the other hand, collaborating closely with local teams led to success on all fronts. Make sure you stick to the basic key factors above in ensuring your focus and being able to qualify what success looks like outside of just ROI.

Step 3: Do Your Due Diligence

Before committing to any event, large or small, it’s crucial to verify its credibility. This means doing your homework – visiting the event in person, assessing the audience, and don’t rely solely on the organizer’s claims. This due diligence will save you from potential pitfalls and ensure that your investment yields the best possible return.

Be wary of being sold by event organizers without verifying the details yourself. The key is finding events with the right audience through due diligence like site visits before making large investments. (For a more detailed explanation, read this: To Exhibit or Not To Exhibit).

Step 4: Start Small with New Events

Starting small with new events can be a wise strategy. Begin by attending the event, then consider sponsorship or a more significant involvement over time. This approach allows you to gain firsthand insight into the event’s dynamics without committing substantial resources upfront.

Step 5: Engage Through Storytelling

Engagement tactics are vital to the success of your event strategy. Consider creating experiential activations that tie into your offerings. These are interactive experiences designed to engage attendees in a meaningful way. They could be anything from live product demonstrations to immersive virtual reality experiences. The key here is to make these activations relevant to your offerings, making them not just entertaining but also informative. Remember to tie these activations back to your company’s value propositions and stories to boost engagement. Stories have the power to resonate with audiences on an emotional level, making your activations more memorable and impactful.

Engaging through storytelling involves crafting relevant experiential activations, linking them to your value propositions, and amplifying engagement by integrating your company’s narratives. By following this step, you can create an event strategy that not only attracts attention but also fosters deep connections with your audience.

So whether you’re considering new or existing events, it’s essential to make data-driven decisions based on the key factors outlined above such as audience fit, brand expansion, and alignment with business goals. Successful event planning is not about being sold by event organizers, but rather about doing your due diligence, starting small, and boosting engagement through creative storytelling.

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