Annual conferences are flagship events that sometimes have an oversized impact on an association’s finances as well as brand reputation, so proper planning and execution are essential – not just for the event itself but the marketing. A professional association was having challenges with its meeting brand and content, but a strong messaging architecture, multi-channel campaign, and solid sponsor prospectus helped us sell out three weeks prior to the event and exceed sponsorship goals by 13%.
Four different annual conference formats and target audiences in four years, leading to declining attendance and revenue. Further, marketing tended to center on the location of the event rather than a specific value proposition. For the 2022 event, we didn't have educational session information until 3 months prior to the event.
A multichannel marketing and branding campaign for the 2022 event that clarified the target audience and the WIIFM (what’s in it for me) while generating buzz and excitement rather than confusion or apathy. I hired a contractor to execute on the strategic marketing and messaging plan to write copy and develop the creative.
Scroll down to see the creative as well as screen shots from the plans.
The association sold 57% of admissions within 6 weeks of registration opening and sold out the conference three weeks prior to the event. We surpassed the paid the registration goal by 49% and helped the corporate relations team surpass exhibitor/sponsor exceed its revenue target by 13%+. (see sponsor prospectus)
Highlights of the Multichannel Marketing & Branding Plan
• Messaging architecture to guide creation of all collateral and copy
• Messaging segments for specific audiences
• Customer event experience plan
• Marketing campaign touchpoints and tactics across multiple channels - email, social, web, print
• Marketing goals
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Our designer focused on the music theme for creative, honing in on the destination moniker of "Music City USA". The conference logo became the sound hole for the guitar.
I created a comprehensive marketing plan that included messaging, branding, experience design notes, campaign strategy and tactics, target audiences, and metrics.
I worked to bring the team's vision of an engaging conference with a SXSW vibe to life for the event, creating guidance for major member experience points.
Several team members were involved in creating campaign copy, collateral, and creative. I created a messaging architecture outlining three major value propositions and proof points along with the WIIFM for specific target audiences.
We targeted email copy toward specific audiences whenever possible. This messaging architecture guided staff in creating copy.
I outlined several major campaign touchpoints and tactics, leveraging digital to ensure minimal impact to the budget but great results.
I oversaw production of all creative and collateral for the conference, from the email template to the website to ads.
I co-wrote the prospectus with our contractor, ensuring close follow-up with the sponsorship team.