If you’re planning on putting on a stellar event, you need an equally stellar event marketing plan. Planning and managing conferences, webinars, and other networking events is a major undertaking. It requires a lot of upfront time and investment, without any guarantees that the event will turn out how you hoped. The successful execution of your marketing event plan ensures you have the attendance you need for success.
A crucial part of the event planning stage is crafting an event marketing plan. This marketing plan is a roadmap your team can follow to plan effectively and execute in a way that generates leads and grows the business overall. Below, we'll cover how to create your plan and define your event marketing plan timeline.
How to create a marketing plan for an event
Your event marketing plan outlines what outcomes you hope to achieve what steps will be needed to reach those goals. It should cover key targets, such as the number of ticket sales you need, as well as the steps and timelines your marketing team must follow. Your plan should also include what data you plan to collect (such as event awareness, audience demographics, number of sponsors, etc.) and how you will measure success.
Let’s say you want to sell 1,000 tickets by the day of the event. If one month before the event you’ve sold 700 tickets, are you on track? Without a clear outline of what you want to achieve by when, it can be difficult to answer that question.
Follow these steps to create an event marketing plan that gets results:
- Start with the basics. What is your event, when will it be held, where is the venue, and what is the purpose of the event (i.e., to raise brand awareness, gain new sales leads, etc.)
- Outline a target audience for your sponsors, vendors, and attendees.
- Document your event targets, including the number of vendors, sponsors, and attendees you plan to attract, and any other planned outcomes.
- Establish your budget for the event in as much detail as possible. Include where you expect the money to be spent and when things will need to be paid for.
- List out the mediums you plan to use to market the event. This may include organic social media posts, paid digital ads, an email campaign, physical flyers, radio announcements, etc.
- Include any tools you plan on using, such as a social media sharing app (like Buffer), your team collaboration app, your document management software, etc.
- Outline any materials you'll need to create (i.e., banners, videos, ad images). Plan how you'll create, store, and disperse these assets to the right people at the right time.
- Spell out the roles and responsibilities for key team members.
- List all the marketing activities you plan to undertake before, during, and after the event (such as follow-up surveys.)
- Include a communication plan that specifies how you’ll communicate with your team, vendors, sponsors, attendees, speakers, and any other relevant parties.
- Define your key performance metrics and how you will track them. (I.e., if % of seats filled is critical, how will you track ticket sales?)
- Craft your event marketing plan timeline, which we’ll cover in detail in the next section.
Creating your marketing plan timeline
Once you’ve outlined everything you and your team need to accomplish, it’s time to figure out when each task must be completed by.
You and your team can take the defined outcomes you’ve already listed in your plan and break them down into smaller pieces until you have the itemized tasks. Then you can use software or even a whiteboard and sticky notes to plot out where everything needs to fit so that you’ll be ready for the event. Often, it’s easiest to work backward, starting with your event date.
Let’s say you want to announce the keynote speaker two months before the event. Now assume it'll take a month to find a pool of potential speakers, another week to narrow down the candidates, and an additional week to finalize the contract before you can make the announcement.
Working backward, you know you’ll have to start advertising for a keynote three and a half months before the big day. If it takes two weeks to create, finalize and approve the ads seeking a keynote, you can put the start date of the initial task (“Draft keynote ad”) in your timeline for four months before the event.
Some essential items to consider when crafting your event marketing plan timeline are:
- Will you be giving early bird discounts? If so, when will they start and end?
- How far before the event do you need the following:
- Speakers found
- Vendors contracted
- Sponsors acquired
- Promotional materials published
- Ads running
- Press releases made public
- What are the major milestones for this event, and when do you hope to accomplish them? (i.e., do you want 25% of seats filled two months in advance?)
Why event marketers turn to Wrike
While a whiteboard may help you brainstorm which order tasks need to happen, it can’t help you track dependencies or monitor workloads. Project management software lets you see if your team will be too overloaded during a particular week and idle the next. You can also quickly drag and drop tasks to reschedule them and see how it shifts your overall event marketing plan.
Using software that offers event planning templates can save you a ton of time and headaches during the creation of your event marketing plan. Templates help ensure you haven’t overlooked any vital activities.
Task management software also helps you assign tasks to team members, maintain marketing materials, and store communications in one place. Plus, you can use multiple views (such as our timeline view) to efficiently review your event marketing plan timeline and identify any conflicts, bottlenecks, or areas for concerns.
Once the event is over, you can store all your data so that when a similar event comes up, you have everything right at your fingertips. This can help improve timing and budget estimates and pinpoint risks and concerns.
With Wrike, you can plot out your event marketing timelines, manage tasks for different teams, and effectively plan out the perfect marketing plan. With an interactive Gantt chart, dynamic calendars, and multiple work views, Wrike offers powerful features unmatched by dedicated events management software. With Wrike's customizable event management template, you can take your events to the next level. Sign up for a free trial of Wrike today!