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How to create a winning marketing strategy for events and exhibitions

Events and exhibitions are an excellent opportunity for businesses to showcase their products or services to a large and engaged audience. However, with so many companies vying for attention, it’s essential to have a well-planned marketing strategy to ensure that your brand stands out from the crowd.

Jessica Heathcote, Group Marketing Manager explains:

“Event promotion is an undeniable necessity for events and exhibitions, regardless of whether they are conducted in-person, virtual, or hybrid format. What will take your event or exhibition appearance from a good result to an amazing experience is how you leverage the power of event marketing technology.”

“This data-based approach, whilst initially it may be tedious, is genuinely the key to unlocking your brand’s show stopping potential. From tracking attendee behaviour and preferences through to dwell time and satisfaction, marketers and event organisers alike can begin to offer better experiences, more accurate (and valuable) sponsorship opportunities and greater overall success for future events.”

Let’s take a look at how you can create a winning marketing strategy for your next event or exhibition.

Define your goals 

Before you begin planning your marketing strategy, it’s essential to define your goals. According to cvent, many marketers believe that, after a website, events are the most effective channel in their “marketing stack,” given the power of in-person and virtual experiences and the ability to forge one-on-one connections. That’s why event marketing is critical. Therefore, whilst the concept of defining goals before planning a marketing strategy may seem like common knowledge, it is surprising how many businesses skip this essential step when they engage with their preferred event or exhibition partner.

Start by asking yourself (and your team) what you hope to achieve by exhibiting at the event? Is it to generate leads, increase brand awareness, launch a new product, or network with industry professionals? Once you have a clear idea of your goals, you can begin to plan your marketing strategy accordingly. For more tips, check out our latest article on planning a successful exhibition.

Understand your target audience 

Who is your target audience for the event? Are they industry professionals, potential customers, or both? Understanding your target audience is key to creating a successful marketing strategy. According to Ungerboeck, let’s say you define 5-6 different buyer personas, representing the core visitor segments of your event. Asking yourself each time you produce a piece of content: “Would any of my buyer personas value this?” will raise the effectiveness of your marketing activities drastically.

Overall, research your target audience interests, pain points, and what motivates them to attend events, as this information will help you tailor your messaging and marketing channels to reach them effectively.

Remember, a winning marketing strategy uses your customer’s words to sell back to them, NOT a standard business product description or service solution.


Choosing the right channels 

To maximise your return on investment, you want to ensure you have the right marketing channels within your strategy. But with over 20 channels to choose from, it’s important that marketers and organisers know which ones are the most effective for audiences and apply a multi-channel strategy that enables reach and engagement.

According to Hubspot, some of the top marketing trends of 2023 include short-form video, influencer marketing, branded social media DMs and data-based marketing. However, if you follow your audience research, you should have a solid understanding of behaviours and the types of media your audience consumes to target effectively. From traditional and digital through to emerging trends, you should assess which channels will work best for your brand and allocate your budget accordingly.  

For the Ultimate 2023 Event Trends Guide, check out our latest insight article here 

Build a memorable brand

Creating a strong brand presence that reflects your company’s values, messaging, and products or services is essential. This can be achieved through a range of touchpoints such as eye-catching graphics in your social media campaign, opting for impactful (and of course, branded) sponsor merchandise or by simply creating an engaging booth design that resonates with your target audience. All you have to do is ensure your brand message is consistent across all channels, from social media, email marketing and advertising through to promotional materials and booth design to deliver a clear and consistent message.

Get Social 

Take advantage of social media platforms and we’d recommend no more than three, to promote your participation in an event or exhibition. Develop a social media campaign that showcases your presence at the event, provides glimpses of new products or services, and shares exclusive behind-the-scenes content to generate interest. Consider incorporating event-specific hashtags to expand your reach and engage with your target audience as well as engage your staff to share on their professional networks.

Don’t forget the metrics 

Once you’ve implemented your marketing strategy, it’s essential to measure your results and continue to adapt to determine which channels are the most effective throughout the campaign. This will help you make informed decisions about where to invest your marketing budget and make knowledgeable decisions for future spend.

Ultimately, a well-thought-out marketing strategy can make all the difference to ensure that your brand makes a lasting impact with your attendees as well as generates positive ROI. If you need help in creating an effective marketing strategy for your next event or exhibition, Creative Hire is here to help. We offer a range of services to help support you from event marketing and strategy through to event hire, production and installation. Contact us today to discuss how we can help you create a holistic and unforgettable event experience.

the Ultimate Exhibition Planners Guide

From crafting a flawless marketing strategy to mastering stand design and supercharging promotions, your pathway to success begins with the perfect plan. 


Download our must-have exhibition success toolkit below and execute your next tradeshow with ease and precision!