Event Marketing Tools: Tips from a Pro

By now, it’s almost certain that you’ve used Evite for events, perhaps just personal ones. After all, it’s been around since 1998, and it’s simple to use. Maybe you’re a little more sophisticated as a Meetup organizer. Or you manage even more complex corporate marketing events. What tools do the pros use for those?

Filling the Seats

How Theater Relates to Corporate Event Marketing

Before becoming a Marketing Nerd, I was a theater producer; you don’t get more event “organizer-y” than that. I would determine the play, book the venue, and line up the sponsors. Then, let the people vote for its success by buying tickets! (When you sell out the house, it’s a rush like nothing else!) Now that I am a Marketing Nerd, I’m in awe of people who do event marketing. In theater, I had the draw of Lerner and Loewe and the shameless self-promotion of a gaggle of actors to market my events.

Corporate event marketers have all the challenges of content marketers. But like theater producers, they have the very terrifying, physical reality of (gasp) empty seats! (When my content is underperforming, I can dispassionately tweak my message, execution, channels and promotional plan.)

Having met one of these formidable event marketers, I wanted to learn what tools she uses. (I confess, I’m even more of a Marketing Tool Nerd). Let me introduce you to Lori Reddy.

How a Bank Used Fine Dining to Attract International Clientele

El Celler de Can Roca

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Lori recently finished a major project for Spanish bank Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA), which ran a unique campaign to attract new international clientele. BBVA flew out the staff of one of the “World’s Best Restaurants,” El Celler de Can Roca. They hosted four nights of 19-course dinners (with wine pairings to boot!) for 100, and exactly 100, people of influence in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Lori was well up to the task of organizing and managing the invite process. (Ask her how she contacted the CEO of eBay to get him to come… It helps to have the aforementioned restaurant as the draw!) Excitement was generated, but there was a downside: the event platform that came with the project.

All Event Platforms Are Not Created Equally

With Evite, you get the basics of event management — you share event information, send and manage invites and updates, and can follow up afterward. But in the case of BBVA, Evite was not to be.

Lori recounted, “As an event manager, normally I select the event platform. But given this campaign had started in other cities, the bank had already used Event Farm. It looked like a good tool at first, but fell woefully short of some basic needs. You had very little control of your information. You were not notified of RSVPs, or given any way to sort your attendees. And they were extremely stingy with customer support… I didn’t get any!” On top of that, the tool carried a hefty fee to use.

On the other hand, let’s look at Lori’s go-to platform: Eventbrite. She’s used it for a wide range of events, from fancy dinners to networking talks at local bars. Lori said, “They make everything easy — from setup to RSVPs, to the check-in process and integration with social media — it’s extremely helpful. And… it’s free!” (Note: they do take a cut of ticket sales when you charge for an event.)

Another recommendation from Lori: “Now, if you are having a for-charge, ticketed performance on a local scale, the go-to tool (especially popular for school events, non-profits, and the community charity crowd) is BrownPaperTickets. They’re very easy to work with, and reasonably priced.”

Some other high-level professional management tools that get great reviews include 123signup and Cvent — if you have multi-day, multi-track events. Total control.

What About Managing a Virtual Event?

From my own, online-only perspective, I have had great experiences with Hubspot, paired with GoToWebinar. Virtual events are easy to set up, send invites, track responses and share recordings and other useful information after the fact. It’s a must-have tool for content campaigns.

So, next time you set up a party, appreciate Evite (or if you’re being classy, Paperless Post) and manage your event with flair! For your corporate marketing events, pick the tool that gives you lots of control, great customer service, and ease of use.

About Suzy DeLine

Suzy DeLine is a digital marketing consultant specializing in both inbound and content marketing. She is a huge marketing geek and gets very excited when she sees things being done well, or innovative stuff being tried out. (She also loves beagles.) She hails from a Wisconsin dairy farm by way of Northwestern University (go Wildcats). View all posts by Suzy DeLine
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