If you own an event venue, then you need to create a venue marketing strategy. It’s that simple. Without a strategy, you’ll waste time and money trying to grow your business without getting the results you need.
A venue marketing strategy is different from a venue marketing plan. A marketing strategy explains the goals that your business must achieve while a marketing plan outlines the specific tactics you’ll use to achieve those goals, when you’ll implement those tactics, how you’ll track and measure their effectiveness, and what your marketing budget will be.
Your venue marketing strategy considers your audience, your industry, and your competitors so you can align your products and services to the opportunities that will lead you to your goals. It’s important to understand that a marketing strategy is a living, breathing document. It’s never final. Instead, you’ll continually update it as your goals evolve, and you’ll regularly review your marketing plan against your marketing strategy to ensure you’re always moving closer to achieving your goals in a timely manner.
Steps to Create a Venue Marketing Strategy
Don’t feel overwhelmed about creating your marketing strategy. It’s not something you can get in writing after just an hour or two. It could take you days or weeks to create a venue marketing strategy. Remember, a marketing strategy is a comprehensive working document, so it will take you time to develop it fully. Here are 10 steps to help you get started:
Before you can develop a venue marketing strategy, you need to understand who your audience is. This includes the broad audience of people and entities who could hold events at your venue as well as specific segments of that audience who might want different things from your venue. These specific segments are your target audiences, and you’ll need to communicate with them differently depending on their wants and needs. You might even need to create different promotions, packages, and prices for specific target audiences.
Learning who your audience is begins by developing buyer personas for your ideal customer and your most profitable customer segments. Who are they? What are the demographic, behavioral, and psychographic characteristics that define them? What are their real and perceived needs for a venue like yours? Take a few minutes to learn about the 13 areas to focus on to create effective buyer personas, and then develop them for your audience.
It’s also essential to understand that every member of your target audiences won’t be at the same position in the buyer’s journey at the same time. Some people won’t be looking for a venue yet while others will just be starting their search. Other members of your target audiences might be in the research stage, and others could be in the process of narrowing down their list of venue choices. Finally, some members of your target audiences could be ready to buy right now.
Each of these groups of people need to hear different messages from your venue. Therefore, you need to consider not just buyer personas but also where people are in their buyer journeys. The most effective marketing plans merge buyer personas with buyer journeys, so you need to identify each upfront within your marketing strategy.
2. Unique Selling Proposition
In simplest terms, your unique selling proposition (USP) identifies what you do differently and better than your competitors. To develop your unique selling proposition, you need to think about what you deliver to consumers better than anyone else. Think about what your venue brand promises to consumers. What are the unique ways you provide that promise that consumers can’t get anywhere else? Ideally, your unique selling proposition should solve a problem that your audience has in a way that no other venue can challenge or compete with.
One of the best examples to learn from is Domino’s unique selling proposition. Remember when Domino’s delivered hot, fresh pizza in 30 minutes or less or the pizza was free? That was the unique selling proposition of Domino’s, and it helped the company grow significantly in the early 1990s.
Product is one of the five Ps of the marketing mix taught to marketing undergraduate students everywhere. Your product is what you’re selling. In your case, you’re selling a venue, but is that all? Think about the features of your venue. What makes it unique? What makes it special? What benefits does it deliver to your target audiences?
The key here is to think about not only the physical benefits that people derive from your venue, but also the emotional benefits. When you can tap into consumers’ emotions, it’s much easier to connect your brand to them and make a sale. Some of the emotions your venue might evoke that can benefit your target audience are safety, trust, and envy.
How is your venue positioned in the marketplace relative to the competition? What word does your venue own in consumers’ minds? The strongest brands own a word in consumers’ minds, so it should be one of your goals to own a word in your audience’s minds. What position do you want to hold in the marketplace? Is that position realistic based on the product you offer and your unique selling proposition?
Of course, you might want to own a position in the marketplace for your venue’s brand, but what you want and what consumers want from you could be two very different things. Don’t get in your own way and allow your wants to supersede the wants and needs (both real and perceived) or your target audience.
Price refers to what consumers will have to pay to hold their events at your venue. When you identify the prices you want to charge, you need to make sure they align with what the market will bear. That means you need to consider where your venue is positioned in the market based on consumers’ perceptions of your brand and price it accordingly.
Consumers need to be willing to pay your prices, but you also need to be able to generate a profit or your venue won’t stay open for long. Therefore, once you understand how your competitors’ prices compare to yours, determine if you need to make any adjustments to your prices. When it comes to holding an event at a venue, people do shop around. If your price is skewed too high or too low, you’ll lose potential revenue.
Place refers to where people will be able to purchase a company’s products. For a venue, it refers to how people will complete their transactions with you. For example, you could offer full-service transactions online, by phone, in person, or through a combination of channels.
When you determine where you’d like people to be able to buy from you, the next step is calculating the cost of actually getting your product (i.e., your venue) to your clients. What does it cost you to hold an event at your venue? Your prices need to cover that cost and allow you to generate a profit.
As the name implies, a marketing strategy is about strategies, not tactics. Therefore, think marketing channels, not marketing campaigns when you’re writing your marketing strategy. Start by asking yourself some questions. Where do your target audiences spend time online and offline? Where can you connect with them to raise awareness and recognition of your brand?
Selecting channels where you should focus your marketing efforts requires some research, but it’s critical information that you’ll need in order to write your marketing plan. After all, that’s where you’ll identify the specific tactics you’ll use to promote your venue along with your budget, timing, and tracking mechanisms. You need to know which channels are likely to give you the best results before you can choose your marketing tactics.
8. Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats
Every marketing strategy should include an analysis of the brand’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This is referred to as a SWOT analysis, and it’s essential to creating a venue marketing strategy that will position you to reach your goals. Here you need to record areas where your venue is strong compared to the competition and areas where your venue is weak. Look for gaps that you can fill.
Use this information along with the information you’ve collected so far in creating your venue marketing strategy to identify opportunities that could help your venue attract more clients, generate higher revenues, and grow. At the same time, look for potential threats from competitors as well as the macro- and micro-environments where you do business. You need to understand what risks might be coming in the future so you can position your venue to not just survive but thrive despite these threats.
At last, it’s time to create your goals. These goals can include both short and long-term objectives that you’ll work to achieve through your marketing plan. Keep in mind, before you started writing your marketing strategy, you probably had some goals for your venue in mind. Writing a marketing strategy enables you to validate those goals and change them if necessary so they’re challenging but attainable.
You’ve done a lot of research and analysis in steps 1-8 above, so your next step is to use that information to create realistic and actionable goals for your venue. What do you want to achieve? How do you want to grow? What kind of events do you want to hold, and what kind of customers do you want to attract?
Once you have a list of realistic and actionable goals, prioritize them. Do you want to attract new customers, increase repeat customers, or expand into a new type of event or new area? Do you want to achieve a certain year-over-year growth rate? Put your goals into a list with the most important at the top, and add dates next to each goal indicating when you want to achieve them by.
10. The Plan
With your goals established, your last step is to create a marketing plan to achieve those goals in the timeframes you identified in your venue marketing strategy. Your marketing plan will go into specific details about the exact steps you’ll take to reach those goals. For example, it will include each of the campaigns you’ll invest in, when, where, and how much they’ll cost.
Your venue marketing strategy is a high-level, strategic document of goals, but your marketing plan is the granular roadmap to achieve those goals.
Your Next Steps to Create a Venue Marketing Strategy
To create a venue marketing strategy, you need to be willing to invest time into the required research, critical thinking, and analysis. A written marketing strategy will evolve with your business, and it can help you stay focused.
It’s easy to get distracted by low-hanging fruit opportunities, but when you have a written marketing strategy to guide you, you’ll be far more likely to stay on track. That means, it will be much easier to reach your goals. Use the steps provided in this article to start writing your own venue marketing strategy. You’ll be glad you did!
For more help with your venue marketing, be sure to read Venue Marketing – 10 Tips to Increase Bookings. Also, if you need help with your venue ticketing, call AttendStar at 615-223-1973 or use the contact form to get started.