If You Build It They Will Come: Planning for Next Year’s Events

It’s Thanksgiving week, and you’re probably beginning to wind down your marketing and recruiting efforts. Yeah, come December 1st, I plan on checking out myself. Just don’t tell Julie Arsenault.

So I get it, I completely do. Some of the people on your team are probably getting ready to go on vacation for the holidays, and maybe, sales are starting to slow down.

But slowing sales and checked out team members aren’t a reason for your marketing to stop.

It’s never too early to plan. Even now, months before you’re attending events, you need to be getting your event blueprints together and your toolkit assembled. This means planning your event marketing and possibly even starting to execute on your first and second quarter campaigns as well.

Is it early or the perfect time?

The perfect time. Yeah, definitely the perfect time.

Things are slowing down for a bit; people are getting out of the office, and everything is a lot quieter. Regardless of looming holiday vacations, you can still get a lot done. This is actually one of the best times to get most of your stakeholders and team into one room and hammer out a plan.

What are the the tools you need to make next years events a success?

  • Pre-Show Marketing Campaign

  • On-Site Excellence

  • Post-Show Opportunities

Ok, that all makes sense. You need a lot of different tools to build a great event presence. You know that, and might’ve even read about it on this blog. We have some really great pieces where we talk about each tool, especially in the lead up to GATS 2014.

But is your event toolbox completely assembled?

Let’s look at the tools.

Now that we’ve told you what the tools are, let’s take a second to look at each one. This will give us some time to talk about how each tool helps you build the ultimate event experience for both you and your audience.

Pre-Show Marketing Campaign

First of all, every event needs a pre-show marketing campaign. This is an essential tool to ensuring your success on-site. Think about it, you need to get people to your booth. The only way you’re going to ensure decent foot traffic is to get in front of people before they come to the show.

That’s where this strategy comes into play.

The best way to build a campaign around your event presence is to incorporate great targeting across multiple channels. For instance, if you’re needing to get in front of owner-operators, there are a lot of resources you can use to target this audience. You can utilize ads in Overdrive, since you know they read this magazine. You can also use digital channels to build ads targeting this very specific audience.

Some useful targeting options might be:

  • Contextual Targeting

  • Remarketing

  • Keyword Targeting

  • Interests

This will help you get in front of this niche audience, but it’s crucial to plan this in advance.

On-Site Excellence

The next tool is building a great on-site experience. This is more like a utility tool, because it can take the form of a number of different things, all of which are useful.

As awesome as the pre-show campaign is, you’ve probably not displayed to everyone at the event. It’s unfortunate, but such is life. One tool can’t do everything. What you can do now is to make sure you are using all of your opportunities to increase foot traffic at the show.

There are a few things that can definitely improve your on-site experience. Having an awesome booth is great, but being open and inviting is even more crucial. In most events there are also great opportunities for additional exposure through sponsorships. These might look like hosting concerts, VIP lounges for your prospects, additional signage throughout the event, or other cool opportunities.

Sponsorships can increase the visibility of your booth regardless of size or wow factor.

Post-Show Opportunities

There isn’t anything left to plan for once the show is over, right? All of your tools are used and the event was great.


If you’re like most companies needing to monetize events, you have to rely on post-show opportunities. Most events don’t present a great opportunity for you to sell your products. You only have a small staff and limited time to deal with the thousands of people moving through your booth.

You can capture information from these leads a couple different ways. If you used lead capture tools, you can directly gather information like emails, names, and etc as prospects come through your booth. You can also purchase information like email lists from show management.

Once you have this information, according to how well qualified these leads are, you can potentially pass them directly to sales for follow up. Beyond that, you also now have an opportunity to send personalized communications through email and direct mail.

After the show is where you have an opportunity to create an ROI for your event presence.

Even now, in the dead of winter and just weeks before Christmas, you can’t let yourself stop. You may be months away from an event, but you can still start assembling your tools and planning to build a positive event experience.

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