How To Implement Successful Event Marketing Partnerships

This is a guest post from Liz Elfman, Director of London Marketing at General Assembly. You can connect with her on Twitter @lizelfman.

Introduction

You may not be aware of how the right event marketing partnerships can make or break your event.

A disastrous partner may have zero positive effect on your event, but will actively take away from quality and production. Similarly, an amazing partner can take an event that’s nothing special, and polish it until it’s sparkling.

Let’s look at an example: I once ran an event in a large co-working space.   Several things went wrong:

  • The sound system was broken so there were no microphones
  • I had never really spoken to the panelists before the day of the event
  • I made the event live way too late, and not as many people as I wanted were there
  • We didn’t have a partner

All of those factors contributed to the event being less than ideal; but a solid partnership could have salvaged it, rendering those other factors immaterial. Great event marketing partnerships can serve as true guardian angels: addressing technical issues, making sure speakers are briefed, and promoting your event until the audience is the right size.

The right event marketing partnerships will be able to enhance your event, because they have a solid understanding of your brand, your goals, and your value. In short, the right partner will “get” you.

But be careful! Things aren’t always what they seem. Beware the “vanity partner”. A vanity partner is a good partner in name only. They have s a big name but don’t end up carrying out their end of the deal, or they don’t have a real communication channel, or don’t understand your brand.

When brainstorming potential event marketing partnerships, consider all of the factors that might get you into trouble later.

Nailing Down Your Event Marketing Partnerships Process

To find well-aligned partners, nail down your partnership process at every step of the way. You can do this by asking the right questions from the get-go.

Here is an example of my partnership process; feel free to tailor yours to fit your specific event and partnership goals.

Audience Alignment 

  • Are they aligned with our brand?
  • Do they understand our value proposition?
  • Is the spending capacity there?
  • Do people in their community match our target profiles?

Promotional Channels

  • Is there a newsletter? How big is it?
  • How often do they communicate with their audience?
  • How big is their social following?
  • What other promotional channels do they use?
  • What have their other promotions looked like?

Goals 

  • Where is their business moving?
  • Do they know where ours is trying to move?
  • What are their key pain points?
  • Is there the possibility that we will be able to work with them in the future if the preliminary partnership effort goes well?

Commitment Parameters

  • Are both sides clear on what they are doing and when?
  • Have all responsibilities been confirmed in written form?
  • Are you tracking the responsibility fulfilment?

Time Frame

  • Do you know what success looks like at each stage and how you measure it?
  • Do you have adequate time to promote your event or initiative?
  • When the event ends, have you updated everyone on lessons learned?
  • How will you move forward to enhance the partnership post-event?

Conclusion

Let’s take a look at a very successful event that General Assembly ran earlier this year. It was called “The Future of the Mobile Web.” We partnered with the media platform Quartz and London Tech Week.

The event wasn’t necessarily destined for perfection. There were numerous roadblocks along the way, and I mean numerous. I even ended up paying for the venue in cash due to a long series of invoice setbacks (different story for a different day).   There were moments of sheer, panic-attack inducing anxiety.

But here’s what went right, thanks to our partner:

  • We had incredible speakers
  • We had a moderator that was a professional journalist
  • We were featured on London Tech Week’s website
  • Media partners from The Guardian and BBC were there
  • The room was filled with a well-aligned audience

The event went great. As a marketing department, we achieved and even exceeded our aims in that particular instance.

The conclusion? Getting the right event marketing partnerships in place can be the key to your event’s success, so if you can partner, do partner! Just make sure that you nail down the partnership process early on. It’s more complicated than you think!

 

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ldelfin+@eventbrite.com'

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