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Design Inc’s event and venue marketing clinic

5th August 2010

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Venue marketing portfolio

Frank Norman, Design Inc’s Client Services Director and event and venue marketing specialist commented “I look forward to sharing some of my insights, thoughts and suggestions on the future and trends of the events industry.”

He continues, “The big question still being asked is, how is the industry performing? In response he quotes “The 2nd quarter of this year has started to see some momentum with the increase of confirmed events, an increase in new venues and venue refurbishments and more importantly the green light for the release of funds for event budgets”

Further adding, “ However we are still in unsure times and no doubt there will still be some casualties ahead, for example with Sound London becoming the latest venue to follow the unfortunate trend of nightclubs in trouble by going into administration. But companies that invest in event and venue marketing are likely to be rewarded for their efforts and increase their clientele, raise their profile and secure bookings”

Q. Has the event industry suffered from budget cuts in both the private and now public sectors?

A. The continued financial scene has meant that budgets are tighter and negotiations will be stronger. Smaller venues and a new generation of venue spaces have been given the opportunity to rattle the older, established venues who have had it too easy for too long. In some cases there is definitely a change in the perspective of the client/supplier relationship and a new approach required. Venues sometimes fail to recognise the real value of the creative elements that needs to be invested in the lead up to winning business.

From the point of view from an ex-Events Manager, it is not always the costs that affect the decisions around where to host events. It can also very much depend on how a venue engages with their audiences from first time contact to post event evaluation and markets & advertises themselves through the quality of their communication tools such as websites, promotional literature, direct & email marketing pieces etc.

Leaving that compelling first impression can do wonders for the confidence and trust of the event organiser to know that this is a venue who are professional, experienced and can cater for all aspects of the event.

Venues such as The Business Design Centre has invested heavily in its website and a newsletter to keep its customers informed. “It’s an important way to build relationships with organisers,” says BDC head of venue sales Graham Stephenson. The north London venue also hosts social events for organisers so they get to know the venue.

In an effort to generate awareness in London, one London venue had branded two black cabs following an overhaul of the venues’ customer and event marketing last year. Bespoke campaigns are now tailored to the individual needs of organisers. The strategy has seen the venue awarded a respected Business Superbrand title by independent brand analyst SuperBrands, alongside household names such as Shell, Samsung and Rolls-Royce.

Working with tourism promotion bodies can also help raise a venue’s profile: “London tourist bodies promotes the city internationally and at home. It’s about keeping the venue in the loop and making sure people are aware of the venue.”

A very effective way to reach markets in specific industry sectors is to apply direct & email marketing. Targeting organisers with this medium can increase hits on the venue’s website, build awareness, strengthen the brand, raise the venues profile and more within a very cost effective budget.

Q. How is the latest technology including augmented reality and design tools, changing the way a venue markets itself on line?

A. I, along with many other event and venue marketing specialists see that in the very near future that venues will need to embrace in the technology of ‘Virtual Tours’ to attract more visitors and engage more deeply with their audiences. This has already started with the successful launch of Event and C&IT Virtual Venue Visit. However for venues to truly differentiate themselves and promote their USP’s, the virtual tours should not be presented in a traditional video scenario as is being done, but by the use of a more dynamic and interactive design and system which allows the visitor to explore in more detail the venues spaces and may even include the user to create a virtual event which will include designing room plans, stage sets, room lighting and even a selection of themes that can integrate the creative production into the virtual event.

Q. What about the London Olympics, this is going to be a boom time for UK venues surely?

A. The next 12 months will see numerous public and private events relating to the 2012 Olympics leading up to the games including conferences, seminars, roadshows, product & promotional launches and corporate hospitality. Competition is still rife however and venues need to be proactive in their marketing to share in this business.

We are very excited and looking forward to the many ‘event’ based communication & design projects that we are currently discussing with many of our clients in providing compelling design and effective event marketing strategy for their networking events, experiential campaigns, product launches, conferences, tradeshows, road-show campaigns, exhibitions, hospitality events and the many other events that will be incorporating the theme of the Olympic Games to promote their events.

The key challenge for event and venue marketing strategists will be to create the association and incorporate the spirit of the Olympic games in all the design & strategy elements and succeed in overcoming the strict design & marketing guidelines in place. We have been researching this area intensively and have some very creative and strategic ways around this that can be implemented for events, email & direct mail campaigns and all online marketing campaigns.

If you are considering a forthcoming event and venue marketing project, you may be interested in seeing our venue marketing portfolio