10times Eva Talk Patric Weiler
Eva Talk

Building a Strategic Marketing Communications Plan With Patric Weiler

Strategic event marketing communication refers to the process of effectively communicating a brand’s message through planned and well-executed events. The goal of such communication is to engage with target audiences, build relationships, create brand awareness and ultimately drive business results.

This is achieved through careful planning and execution of events, incorporating various communication channels such as social media, email marketing, and public relations. By using a strategic approach, companies can effectively align their event marketing initiatives with their overall business goals, delivering a compelling and memorable experience for attendees.

In this events industry expert series, 10times asked Patric Weiler, Global Event Strategist to share some expert tips that marketers can use to identify and target the right audience for an event as part of a strategic marketing communication plan. In addition, he also shared some insights on how data and analytics be used to improve the planning and execution of future events in the context of strategic marketing communication.

* Could you please walk us through your professional journey?

By total coincidence I got a semester break job as a camera assistant in TV productions, which developed dynamically. From camera assistant to cameraman to live director for TV shows and events. Here I first formed roots and was allowed to participate and learn in many large event productions. Corporate events for e.g. Mercedes, Siemens, Microsoft. Shows for Versace, Dior, MTV, Madonna, or FIFA. Hollywood film premieres, campaign tours, award ceremonies, product launches, etc. 

The field of event management developed more and more into event marketing. Event marketing went on to strategic marketing and ultimately I was the co-founder and CEO of one of the first online/offline marketing agencies in Europe.

We mixed campaign structuring with graphic design, with PR, with series of events, with web building, etc. Customers were, for example, Ebay, SAP, BMW, Sony Pictures, but also public organizations such as ministries or the Goethe Institute. Parallel to the agency activities, the consulting area developed more and more, as well as bookings as a lecturer and speaker. 

After about ten years, I wanted to go global and accepted an offer in the management of American Express Meetings & Events, where I strategically transformed the scope and led the operational and client organization. After this I developed a retail organization for sustainable energy products for an international energy company. For the past three years, I have focused primarily on the use of data and technology as an accelerator within the framework of strategic sales and marketing measures. 

* In your opinion, what are the key factors that make an event successful in terms of supporting a brand’s marketing communication efforts? 

The first step must be to consider event marketing as an integral part, as a channel of strategic marketing communication. Because it still happens far too often that the strengths of events are not recognized and therefore not used. 

Every marketing communication channel has clear strengths and weaknesses. The basis for defining a marketing strategy are clear goals that are to be achieved. Often the final goal is related to sales. Sometimes it is purely related to an engagement rate and/or brand impact. The only important thing is that you develop the way to achieve these goals through the available channels and touchpoints. 

This path must be visualized in the form of a customer journey that follows a strict engagement strategy. It doesn’t matter whether you rely on AIDA or 4C. The main thing is that I combine the channels in such a way that they convince my target group to behave in a way that contributes to the achievement of my goals. 

To come back to the core question of how Event can contribute to the successful implementation of my marketing strategy, one can make a clear statement. The strengths of an event are the emotionality of the direct contact, the multi-sensitive effect (seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting, touching) and the direct communication tonality, which is live and therefore very difficult to ignore for the target audience.

If I combine these advantages with the advantages of other channels (e.g. with the reach of online marketing, the image impact of PR, the knowledge transfer of content marketing, etc.) I can develop a strong and effective customer journey and thus a successful marketing strategy. 

* How can marketers identify and target the right audience for an event as part of a strategic marketing communication plan? 

As with the planning of every strategic measure, also the key questions to get a perfect matching and high performing audience are: 

1) What brand values/messages do I want to spread? 

2) Which target groups do I want to reach with it 

3) What results do I want to achieve with it? 

4) What does that mean for messaging, tonality, look & feel, for my timing and how do I integrate that into a holistic dramaturgy? 

I need one or more clear answers to all these questions, based on hard facts and empirical data (market research, studies, megatrends, etc.).  

A mistake that often happens here: You confuse gut feelings with facts and thus concentrate on the target group that you would like to have and not on the target group that offers me the most potential for growth and development. 

In the next step I form my Tier A-C groups. In A are opinion leaders and decision makers. In B are the potential influencers and prospects. C comes into play when I can’t get enough audience in A and B. 

Important: The pre-event is often more important than the actual event, because in this phase I can ensure how my topics, messages and values ​​will be perceived later (commitment and framing). 

Ergo: interpret the selection of the audience and the process to get there as a highly strategically staged campaign. 

* How can data and analytics be used to improve the planning and execution of future events in the context of strategic marketing communication?  

When I’m really serious about planning something that I really want to implement strategically, I can’t do without data and analytics. 

The same applies to events. As previously described, events can be extremely powerful tools in the Sales & Marketing environment. But only if they are data driven and strategically designed. 

Data is the basis for developing and implementing precise targeting. 

I need meaningful data about my target group that I want to reach. This data tells me a lot about the lifestyle and preferences of my target group. From this I can derive some things about my event concept and generate the framework parameters of my event design.

Market research and media data tell me which types of entertainment and content certain target groups prefer, which helps me design the supporting program. This data-driven approach is not only essential in preparation, but also during and after the event. 

During the event, I can use tools such as event apps to track KPIs that tell me something about the dynamics and engagement of the event. Does the event have a high engagement rate or a low one? If I know this, I can intervene in an emergency and already prepare various intervention measures in the form of a shadow agenda. 

Furthermore, I can collect CRM-relevant data or transform event guests into leads by including them in my appropriate CRM nurturing program after the event. This is tracked and at the end there should be clear business KPIs that reveal which type of guest could be converted as a customer and should therefore be preferred in the future. etc. A really important topic that could be talked about for hours. However, it is important that the professionalization of events starts right here and continues to develop. 

* Can you share any industry trends or innovations you have seen in the field of event-based marketing communication recently? 

The rapid advances in event technology over the last few pandemic-affected years can be a real game changer. The next step must now be that the different levels merge into a new, higher level. Neither live nor virtual. Both together. This doesn’t mean what’s awkwardly called a “hybrid.”

Event can combine the power of direct emotional experience with the advantages of highly effective technology, the targeting possibilities of AI and machine learning and the analytical precision of big data. Event could thus establish itself as a new “super channel” in the strategic sales & marketing process. But only if the silos of the various areas dissolve and possibilities and opportunities are completely rethought and implemented.

For more in the Events Industry Experts series, check out our interview with Janice Cardinale, Courtney Stanley, Helen Moon, Danica Tormohlen, Ashley Brown, Jason Allan Scott, Brandt Krueger, Corbin Ball, Will Curran, and Stephan Murtagh today!

Are you interested in sharing your insights or viewpoints with the events industry? Join the Eva Talk.

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