Event Planning 101: Hire a Smart Marketer

One of the biggest events of the year for nonprofit organizations and trade associations is their annual conference. Some groups start planning for the next year’s event almost immediately after the current one ends. Others wait a few months but the end goal is the same – to create an experience that people will want to attend.

Some organizations and associations bring in anywhere from 30 to 80 percent of their annual revenue from these conferences. So, with stakes high, they must be a success. Smart marketers know how to engage constituents, build relationships, provide value and ultimately increase attendance at these annual conferences.

The entire planning and registration process can be time-consuming and overwhelming, so it’s a good idea to hire interim help. Having someone on site is highly beneficial because, as they learn the inner workings of an organization, they can better engage stakeholders using proper messaging and tone of voice. In addition, bringing someone on year after year makes sense because there will be very little retraining needed.

We’ve had a few highly successful projects with nonprofits that used the same consultant for event planning and registration for their annual conferences and for the creation of marketing collateral. All our experienced consultants can manage any aspect of an event from site selection, speaker management, online or on-site registration and even post-event analysis.

When planning your annual conference, there are a few things to keep in mind that will automatically increase attendance:

  • Pick a location that is cost-effective, easy to get to and enticing
  • Remember, the best conference length is 2 to 3 days
  • Provide opportunities for networking and discussion
  • Have educational and interesting panel discussions and speakers
  • Provide local sightseeing opportunities and entertainment options

Jeremy Schmerling, a Business Development Manager at McKinley Marketing Partners who focuses on helping nonprofit organizations and trade associations fill their hiring needs, says “Hiring a marketing consultant is a great way to increase attendance at events and can be very rewarding from a financial standpoint.”

If your organization has been struggling with attendance, consider hiring a consultant who is experienced in membership initiatives, event planning, social media marketing and registration. These professionals can even help with the creation of marketing collateral, branding, sponsorship acquisition and retention. Contact us today to help your organization plan its next successful event.

by McKinley Marketing Partners