Marketing Events and Festivals

Fields of dreams

There are many reasons why events and festivals are set up and just as many variations in how they are financed and marketed. It’s arguable how useful it is to compare the majority as the individual context is key. However, there is a great deal the creative marketer can do to achieve the objectives set by organisers, whether it’s a major, established annual festival or a one-off event. Seed money, passion for your area of interest accompanied by charisma and a flair for networking can get you far. Proper planning and a professional marketing approach will take you much further.

Ten must-do’s when marketing events and festivals:

• Test through honest research who, why, how many and what kind of people would care enough to attend your intended event
• Avoid clashes of dates by checking with other event organisers
• Shout about the primary benefits the event or festival offers your core potential audiences and sponsors
• Develop a detailed, calendar plan of marketing activity with targets and costings targeting your best prospects
• Create a distinctive brand highlighting your event USP and headline acts and repeatedly use the same 2-3 killer visuals
• Ensure you can service long lead-in times to guarantee inclusion in annual guides, media listings and to attract sponsors
• Drip-feed media with updated programme details, great copy, images & offer up your most charismatic quotable spokespersons for interviews
• Start and join in conversations on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and relevant social media communities always retaining an easy, informal, non-commercial tone
• Use questionnaires to gather event data to inform and justify future event planning, promotion & sponsorship
• Build in data capture and segmentation enabling personalised communication for future events

Ten great tips for promoting events and festivals:

• Maximise your use of statutory and paid for road signage to pre-promote your event
• Join on a short-term basis your local tourism agency and lobby hard for maximum support
• Offer free tickets or VIP access to local tourism businesses in return for marketing support
• Run press calls at least three months and then just prior to the event in line with media needs
• Distribute customisable posters and advertisements to tour and coach operators
• Encourage local hotels and guest houses to develop themed packages with fast-track entry
• Persuade local business leaders to adopt the event theme in shops, attractions & restauarants
• Pre-publicise a Facebook/WiFi meeting area/free mobile charging service
• Set up and push event & post-event image and video gallery postings on social media sites
• Nothings succeeds like success so follow up every event with a positive news release