What is an Event Marketing Plan and Why Do You Need One?

event marketing plan

An event marketing plan is your roadmap to reach the goals you’ve set for your event. For example, your goals could be a certain number of tickets sold, a specific boost in brand or cause awareness, an increase in goodwill in your community, or something else entirely. However, you can’t reach those goals in the most affordable and successful ways without a map to follow. Otherwise, you’re likely to veer off course or get stopped completely by roadblocks, detours, and other barriers.

Only when you have an event marketing plan can you be certain that you’ll have a chance to reach your event goals.

If the words “event marketing plan” are daunting to you, take a deep breath and relax. A marketing plan could be as simple as a single page, or it could be dozens of pages. I’d much rather that you take the time to create a simple one-page event marketing plan than no plan at all simply because you felt overwhelmed by the task.

To make things easy for you, following are the key topics your event marketing plan should cover. The more detail you provide in your plan, the better, but don’t get weighed down by the details if they’re intimidating to you. Keep moving forward.

You will inevitably tweak your event marketing plan in the months, weeks, and days leading up to your event. That means you shouldn’t strive for perfection at first. Instead, be agile and adapt as you go or you’ll never get out of the starting gate or reach your goals.

Part 1: Product Definition

The first part of your event marketing plan should define your product. In this case, the product is your event. What problem does your event solve, or what benefit does it deliver to the audience? What types of performers, speakers, food, merchandise, and other experiences will be offered at the event?  You need to fully understand what you’re offering to consumers before you can market it to them.

Part 2: Market Definition

The Market Definition part of your plan should describe the marketplace where your event will live. What is the current event environment? Is your event being offered online, offline, or both? How do those different channels affect your product and your audience? What will you deliver that’s better than or different from other events people can choose from? If you don’t understand the environment, you might develop a marketing plan that’s not aligned with consumers’ needs.

Part 3: Competitor Analysis

What events compete with yours? If someone doesn’t buy a ticket to your event, what might they do at the time of your event instead? What are your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses? What do they offer? What type of marketing investments are they making to generate ticket sales? What can you deliver better than any other event?

Use this information to determine how your event can be positioned against competing events. Look for gaps or opportunities that your competitors aren’t already filling, and fill them with your event!

Part 4: Target Audience Definition

Who is your target audience and what do they want from an event like yours? What other events do they attend? What do they like and what do they not like? Do some research and determine what’s most important to your ideal audience and how your event can make their lives better or easier.

In addition to figuring out who your target audience is, you also need to figure out where to find them. Do they spend time at specific locations or on certain websites? What do they read, watch, and listen to? You must identify your target audience with as much detail as possible so you can invest in marketing tactics that your preferred audience will actually see (or hear).

Part 5: Brand Definition

What does your event promise to people? What is its unique value proposition, and how is it positioned against competitors’ events? Your answer to these questions will enable you to identify your brand promise, brand image, brand voice, brand messages, and brand personality. Develop an event logo that encapsulates your brand promise, and use it and the aforementioned brand elements in all of your communications and designs. Consistency is the first step of brand building!

Part 6: Pricing Strategy

What prices will you charge for tickets to your event? Will you offer discounts, tiered pricing, or early bird discounts? Will you make food, merchandise, or other items available for purchase with tickets? Will you sell tickets online, offline, or both, and will the sales channel affect pricing? Pricing is an important part of your marketing strategy, so you need to define it in your marketing plan.

Part 7: Sales Strategy

How will you sell tickets? Will people be able to purchase tickets online, offline, or both? How will you process payments for ticket purchases? How will you handle refund requests? These are just some of the questions related to your ticket sales strategy that you need to answer before you start promoting your event. This is where working with an experienced, reputable online ticketing management provider can make a big difference to your ticket sales success.

Part 8: Marketing Strategy

How will you promote your event to generate awareness and ticket sales? Will you do it yourself or work with an experience event marketing agency? You can advertise online and offline, invest in email marketing, use social media marketing, and more. Determine which marketing tactics you’ll use, and include them in this section of your event marketing plan. Some marketing channels you could consider include:

  • Facebook ads
  • Pay-per-click ads through Google AdWords, AdRoll, and other digital ad channels
  • Retargeting ads
  • Ads on specific websites your target audience visits frequently
  • Television ads
  • Radio ads
  • Print ads
  • Billboard, bus, and other outdoor and location-based ads
  • Newspaper ads
  • Social media marketing (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and so on)
  • Email marketing and remarketing
  • Event listing website placements
  • Public relations and media outreach
  • Content marketing (blogging, guest blogging, sponsored articles, and so on)

Part 9: Budget

How much money do you have available to invest in promoting your event? Do you need to acquire sponsors to help offset the marketing costs? Use this section of your event marketing plan to identify how much money you have to work with and what it will be used for.

Part 10: Tactical Timeline

Your tactical timeline should include a daily or weekly schedule of every marketing tactic you’ll use to promote your event. Of course, your timeline should match the budget you created in Part 9 of this plan. Also, be sure to include not just implementation tasks in this timeline but also performance monitoring and measuring.

Your Event Marketing Plan Next Steps

Now that you know what goes into an event marketing plan, it’s time to create yours! Give yourself plenty of lead time, and include creating your marketing plan in your overall event planning checklist. You’ll sell more tickets and your event will be more successful if you have a written plan to keep you on track to reaching your goals.