By Allison Saget
It’s more than likely that your marketing efforts will be slowing down soon as the tradeshow and conference season officially ends. Here are some tricks and tips I always remember when December rolls around — HAPPY HOLIDAYS to you!
• Hoopla — Between family, friends, work, social events, and buying gifts, this is always a crazy time that puts pressure on all of us and rearranges our schedules. Stay focused and apply your event marketing and management skills, such as budgeting or engaging customers and prospects. With a little bit of concentration, you’ll have the tools to rise above the chaos.
• Organization — In December you only have about a two-week window in which to get your job done in December, so schedule key meetings now. Also, take a look back at 2010 and work with accounting to get end-of-year or end-of-quarter invoices submitted and reconciled.
• Loyalty — It’s the time of year to thank and recognize your customers, press, analysts, partners, suppliers, and employees. Holiday cards should be considered part of your overall marketing efforts. Here are some things to consider: Do your cards tie into your message? And do they convey the image, look, and feel that you’re aiming for? On a tight budget, consider holiday e-cards. Plus, e-cards offer you an easy way to update your database. Take the time to show you care and value their relationship!
• Ideas — How many times have you heard someone say, “There are NO new ideas — just a spin or take on an old one”? Prove all of them wrong. Create an “idea folder” now while things are a bit slower than usual. For inspiration, look through your magazines and newsletters. Get out of your office and walk around town. Ideas are fun and cost nothing.
• Décor — Once the gift-buying season is over; many people find themselves experiencing the urge to purge. Have a closet or desk area overwhelmed with paperwork, event materials and more? Spend a few hours throwing them away. Have boxes and boxes of old T-shirts and hats or miss-matched sizes? Donate them to your local homeless shelter. And if you’ve updated your product line, recycle all those brochures, testimonials, and product sheets that keep piling up.
• Anticipate — With the beginning of a new year, we often decide to turn over a new leaf, making our New Year’s resolutions to look and feel better, eat healthier, and improve all facets of our lives. Apply this same attitude to your profession, too. Begin setting up, developing and solidifying your event plans. Look at what you have planned for 2010 to determine how you can leverage the buying power of multiple events. Think about how you can take advantage of end-of-year prices and place orders now for next year. Place a bulk order to use the same promotional item at multiple events, or look for year-end closeouts to leverage your budget. If you have an event contract pending, consider closing at the end of the year for greater negotiating power. Most sales reps want to close the year with a bang and will work with you on budget.
• Yummy — Eat, drink, be merry and safe. If you’re in charge of your company’s holiday celebration, don’t forget the dangers of drinking and driving. Arrange for shuttle buses. Or see if taxi companies in your area, offer coupon books or hand out $10 to give to your employees to take them home.
• Smile — It’s almost the end of the year. Watch how retailers make their final push in sales and how they integrate their marketing efforts. Their goal is to drive traffic to their stores or websites — just as your goals are to drive traffic to your booth and increase attendance at your events. Learn from this group, keep their concepts in mind, and work with your sales team to shorten your sales cycle and create a more effective marketing “machine.” You’ll be smilin’ all the way through next year!
Enjoy the Holidays!
Allison Saget is an event marketing consultant and the author of “The Event Marketing Handbook: Beyond Logistics & Planning.” Her website is http://www.eventblt.com. She can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.