Let’s not sugarcoat it: Every single setback you have will make you feel like a failure.
It doesn’t matter if you managed to plan an event all by yourself—the low attendance rates will ruin your day. And who cares about your planning skills if your brand event had zero engagement on social media?
These kinds of poor results will torture you for a week (at least). And it’s completely understandable.
Most professionals are perfectionists. That’s why you can’t stand these little (or sometimes major) disappointments.
However, the reality is that to outperform your competition and run brand events like a real pro, you’ll have to fail as many times as you can.
Sounds crazy, but it’s true!
Lack of failure shows your inability to experiment. To really get the most out of your brand events, you’ll have to try new things.
You can’t achieve great results without taking risks and being different. It’s just like the investment philosophy “no risk, no reward.”
For example, let’s say you’re doing exactly what everybody else is doing: promoting your event via Facebook ads or email campaigns. What if you accepted the challenge of standing out from the crowd and instead marketed your event through a series of Instagram stories instead?
True, you might fail and not get any attendees. Or you might succeed, by attracting highly qualified attendees that paid attention to your Instagram stories.
The point is you’ll never know if you don’t try. But if you want to try new things, you must get comfortable with failing.
So how you do that, when we’ve been told our whole lives that failing is shameful and wrong, and especially if you’re an obsessive compulsive perfectionist?
Through agile event marketing.
Are your marketing efforts agile enough?
Although this term may sound fancy, agile event marketing is all about failing, improving, repeating, and failing again.
But first things first: What is agile marketing, anyway?
Andrea Fryrear, agile advocate and author of Death of a Marketer, defines it as such: “At its core, Agile marketing is a tactical marketing approach in which teams identify and focus their collective efforts on high-value projects, complete those projects cooperatively, measure their impact, and then continuously and incrementally improve the results over time.”
According to McKinsey & Company, “Agile, in the marketing context, means using data and analytics to continuously source promising opportunities or solutions to problems in real time, deploying tests quickly, evaluating the results, and rapidly iterating. At scale, a high-functioning agile marketing organization can run hundreds of campaigns simultaneously and multiple new ideas every week.” In other words, agile marketing is the ability to run swift marketing tests. This will enable you to evaluate the results, change the micro-strategies, and follow up again.
Agile marketing allows brands to react easier and quicker to market changes, be fast in producing and testing different campaigns, and try as many marketing tactics as possible to find the ones that work.
Apart from that, they generate and subsequently evaluate marketing data for further improvements.
As Fryrear notes, “Agile marketing embraces failure so long as it comes with lessons and produces future potentially powerful projects.”
This approach is empowering companies and marketing teams to run quick marketing experiments, gather and analyze valuable data, and decide what should be repeated and what can be considered a failure.
Why you should care about agile event marketing?
If you are reading this article, chances are that you already understand (or your company has recognized) the potential of face-to-face meetings.
Whether it’s to increase brand awareness or generate new leads, your team is channeling part of its marketing efforts into planning events and impressing event attendees.
Considering this context, agile event marketing involves a tactical planning approach. This allows you to conduct small planning-related tests or experiments and understand the impact of your efforts.
For example, an agile event marketing test could be a series of attempts to “wow” your guests by setting up different dynamics or engagement opportunities.
Another experiment could refer to different ways of following up or finding strategies to turn your attendees into paying customers.
In other words, agile event marketing refers to all the crazy and interesting actions you could take to maximize the value of your face-to-face meetings and evaluate their impact.
You’ll be able to build a strong brand event strategy, using those practices that work best.
Additionally, this constant experimentation will help you gain enough momentum to automate certain planning assignments and identify overlooked opportunities.
Being agile in deploying your event marketing-related efforts will get you results in minimum time and increase your competitiveness indicator. So what should you do to develop an agile event marketing approach when planning your next face-to-face meetings with leads, customers, or followers?
Continue reading to find out.
How to make agile event marketing a reality for your brand
To ensure a successful agile approach when designing and managing your next brand event(s), you must consider the following steps:
Step #1. Build a core team
If you work for a corporation or institution, then you’re likely already familiar with collaborating with different departments, such as communication, design, software development, sales, etc.
Obviously, everyone is focused on their immediate tasks.
However, with agile event marketing, you’ll need to build a team inside your company. Subsequently, you’ll redirect the efforts of these team to design small experiments, evaluate the results, and iterate.
Let’s say you create a core team and invite the inbound marketing responsible, sales director, main developer, community manager, and communication department.
With this group of people in your corner, you can test different planning-related aspects and see what works. Everyone has a special role based on his or her strengths.
For example, the inbound marketing responsible could help you strengthen your event’s presence by setting up a good content strategy.
The main developer could help you test different event landing pages to increase the attendance rate. The community manager can assist with running some tests to increase the attendees’ social media engagement during the event.
Depending on your goals, every single member of the agile event marketing team can help you with his or her insights or actions.
Step #2. Determine what you want most from your event marketing strategy
Why is your company or brand planning and running events in the first place? Is the main goal to increase brand awareness? Generate qualified leads? Increase sales?
Conduct an audit of your event strategy and focus your efforts on increasing the results in the areas that are most important for your company.
For example, if your goal is to turn attendees into brand advocates, your agile event marketing should involve short tests on attendee social media engagement.
Step #3. Set up the A/B testing
When it comes to agile event marketing, one simple test won’t work.
Let's say you decide to increase your attendees’ social media engagement. To do so, you'll have to try different ways to achieve this goal. The goal here is to gain first a better understanding about what works. That's why, you’ll have to prepare yourself for multiple tests and different A/B testing variations.
Step #4. Keep it small until you achieve success
The awesome thing about agile event marketing is the ability to run different tests. Then, you can evaluate the gathered data, and repeat the actions (improving them) without wasting too many resources.
When conducting different event planning or marketing experiments, keep it simple and invest as little time and effort as possible.
Step #5. Scale the practices
Once you find something that works perfectly and helps you achieve desirable results, you should scale the approach and let everyone know about its successful outcomes.
For example, you can decide to run an A/B test on a smaller group of attendees.
After several successful repetitions, you may conclude that one of the practices is ensuring a positive impact.
Subsequently, you may want to scale this action and instead of running it on a small group of event guests, try it with your attendees.
Make peace with failure, because agile event marketing is about trying, failing, and trying again.
By using this incredibly resourceful and sprint-like approach, you’ll achieve results in less time and suffer fewer losses.
To make your company’s event strategy work while keeping it up to date at the same time, you’ll have to experiment continuously.
That’s why agile marketing is your best option.