Peak season is upon us and it’s time to start putting those smart marketing plans in place! Although we are starting to see the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, we still have a ways to go and it’s vital for event pros to be mindful of this as we embark on an unpredictable season.
For many, peak season was non-existent in 2020. Event postponements and cancellations kept the industry quiet. Thus, in 2021, many business owners expect to pick up where they left off in 2019. However, life has fundamentally changed for companies and their respective markets, so event pros must be attentive to the new industry landscape that lies ahead of us.
As you prepare for business to pick up in 2021, here are three key marketing mistakes to avoid so you can engage your target market and pull your company up from the bootstraps.
1. Going forward without marketing goals.
A marketing plan without goals is like a road trip without a map. You may be going somewhere, but without any true purpose, you’ll inevitably end up getting distracted and losing track of where you’re heading. Heading into the 2021 event season, it’s more critical than ever to set realistic marketing goals that can guide you throughout the ups and downs of the year ahead.
This year, your goals may look different than they have in the past. Prior to the pandemic, you may have been hitting benchmarks towards your reach goals whereas, now, you might just be looking to survive and break even. If that’s where you are, that’s completely normal. You are not alone! 2020 was a hard year for everyone. However, that’s no excuse to ditch goal-setting altogether. Break your goals down into actionable steps that can help you remain motivated to power through to the other side of the pandemic.
2. Making assumptions about your ICA.
You might have had a strong grasp on your ideal client’s needs, but a lot has changed in the past year. Everything that made sense in the 2019 peak season has been turned on its head, so you need to adjust your perspective and revisit your market research to identify shifts in demand. The last time you headed into peak season, you didn’t have to worry about assuaging client fears about a worldwide pandemic. Social distancing wasn’t a thought in anyone’s heads.
Now, you need to factor in a lot of new elements when marketing your brand to potential clients. Spend some time listening to your ideal clients—you can find them in Facebook groups, forums, and even within your inbox. What worries them about planning an event right now? What are their biggest objections and how can you demonstrate that you’re the one to solve them? The business practices of the past are no more; it’s time to rediscover the best ways to connect and engage with your target market.
3. Ignoring your web analytics.
It’s time to say goodbye to the days of “set-it-and-forget-it” strategies that do not factor in real, concrete data about your target market. Look to your Google Analytics and social media metrics to determine the marketing strategies that resonate strongly with your ideal clients. Your analytics can tell you everything from the content topics that garnered the most engagement to the referral sources that led to the most conversions. Get comfortable with your data and you’ll see specific insights arise that will inform your marketing strategies going forward.
In 2021, every dollar must make a difference. With a strong grasp on your analytics, you’ll be able to identify the most and least successful strategies so you can allocate your marketing spend accordingly. For example, if you find that Instagram ads have not been as effective as Pinterest ads, you can divert your ad spend to capitalize on the most profitable channels.
This year, data-based decision-making will be an integral part of any successful marketing strategy. There is no room for ineffective tactics that use up resources without providing a return. Expect a learning curve as you navigate the uncertainties of 2021, but rest assured that, with clear goals and concrete data, you’ll have everything you need to keep moving forward.