GOST: Event Planning the Marketing Works Way
Successful events, as with any other successful business activity, should come from a well thought out goal. Yes, even our events have strategy behind them because we’ve learned the more thought put behind them, the more successful the event. Our event planning sequence is GOST: Goal, Objectives, Strategy and Tactics. Figuring out the best way to wow your guests may be fun, but before you ask what would be the most entertaining thing to do, ask why? That is, why do you want to conduct the event?
Choosing guests, selecting the theme and reserving a venue, are important, but are secondary to what the end goal or desired outcome is for investing in an event. A clear goal is the difference between a great return on investment and questioning what came out of all your time, money and energy. When planning events, we ask clients a variety of questions to get a flavor of what they want to accomplish (e.g., grow existing business, awareness, staff retention). Answers to these questions will drive the rest of the event planning from the objectives, to the strategy and execution.
We’ve provided three examples to show you how Marketing Works used a strategic approach to result in three very different, but highly successful events for three clients:
PRIUM – Thought Leadership
Marketing Works collaborated with PRIUM, a provider of medical intervention solutions, to garner ideas to position PRIUM as a bold thought leader in the workers’ compensation industry. Together, we planned the inaugural Workers’ Compensation Payer Symposium, an invitation only, interactive discussion on major trends and issues related to opioid utilization within the industry. The Symposium, which was held prior to the National Rx Drug Abuse Summit in Atlanta, included:
- Round table discussions
- A physician panel
- Keynotes from industry leaders
- An educational video on the prescription drug abuse epidemic
- Interactive polling
As a follow up to the event, each attendee received a perspectives piece with results of the interactive polling and insight from PRIUM CEO Michael Gavin. PRIUM executives, as well as guests, considered this event a success because the event further solidified them as an industry thought leader, and in turn, helped them earn more clients.
HMB – Client Appreciation
Marketing Works created an event strategy to celebrate the 20th anniversary of local business IT consultant HMB. The goal of this client appreciation event was to engage clients, top prospects and partners. More than 200 attended an event in the parking lot of HMB’s Columbus headquarters to enjoy a whiskey tasting, craft beer and more than 10 well-known local food trucks. The event is now held annually.
ViaQuest – Awareness
A similar observation can be made of healthcare provider ViaQuest’s open house event in West Lafayette, Indiana. Marketing Works devised a strategy to help introduce a new facility to the market to attract prospective clients and become top-of-mind with referrals and local dignitaries. Attendees were invited to a grand opening of their new location, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony led by the CEO of ViaQuest. Guests were treated to a VIP-only event with wine and a harpist. The event was both entertaining and memorable, but most importantly, ViaQuest achieved its goal.
So, the next time your organization plans an event, make certain everyone is on board with the event’s goal and then work together to identify the objectives, strategy and tactics to attain the goal. After all, strategic thinking is smart marketing.
Do you have any tips to share on successful event planning? We’d love to hear about them! Please share them in the comments below!
Alexander Lunder • September 11, 2015
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