By Jennifer Fawkes, AAEA Member
Events and promotions have changed over the last year, but the way we prepare hasn’t! No matter the size of your event, we’re all looking to engage an audience and become an important item on their calendar.
- Outline Your Plan – Set your media list for paid, earned, social, email – everything. It won’t all stay on the list. You may not have the budget and you won’t have time for it all. Plan your start date too. Smaller events may need a few weeks. Multi-day events with thousands of guests will need months.
- Spend the Money – Plan with your budget and audience in mind. For World Ag Expo® we’ve refocused from mass marketing in California’s Central Valley, to targeted ag channels across the country. We might spend more than in the past, but we’re focused on a quality audience for our exhibitors.
- Talk to the Media – Ad buys can’t do all the work – you need to write the press release and do the interviews. Write an interesting and useful press release; sometimes they get picked up as-is. Develop your email list and media relationships – I have three media groups that are my first call when I need to promote a project.
- Create Tools for Partners – Exhibitors are the show at World Ag Expo®, and our biggest cheerleaders. We create free marketing material to help them promote show details and ask for social media posts to share. Amplifying their voice engages a wider audience.
- Plan to Change –Like most events, we transitioned from a live event to a digital platform in 2021. Our promotion plan changed too. Print buys were reduced to allow for more digital interaction to prepare our audience for an online event. Instead of 4:30 a.m. live shots with local TV, I was doing podcast and TV interviews from my kitchen table.
- Check the Results – Gather the results, see what worked, what didn’t, and start planning your next event!
Jennifer Fawkes is the marketing manager with International Agri-Center® & World Ag Expo®