Guest post by Troy Morrison, president of Torrey Pines Marketing
To make raving fans of your clients, it’s the little—and the big—things that matter
Your clients (and the decision makers at your clients’ businesses) most likely have a good amount of disposable income. They probably have enjoyed elegant dinners with their spouse, great wines and nights at five-star hotels. And, even if they do not fall in the upper-income echelon, their company probably sends them to charitable dinners and functions…leading to the famous “not another rubber chicken dinner!” line.
So, why would a client be excited to spend an evening with their banker, insurance agent, or vendor? Better yet, when would your client race home to their spouse and say “Honey, guess what? We get to spend the evening with our banker and a room full of strangers tonight!”
Well, believe it or not, it is possible.
You can create this reaction if you always keep in mind the words “unique” and “thorough” when creating, planning and implementing your event. “Unique” relates to the big things (venue, entertainment, and theme), while “thorough” concerns the little things: every single detail of the event, from the ease of sending in an RSVP to the last impression of the event must be handled seamlessly and in a “first class” way. Not only will this make your event memorable, but your brand will be elevated, your clients will become your brand ambassadors, and you can almost guarantee the “yes” RSVP next time (which also means they are still your clients!).
When thinking about the “big” things, remember your clients can probably afford tickets to almost anything, but there are unique experiences they are unable to purchase. For example, your clients can buy tickets to the baseball game, but can they take batting practice on the field? Your clients can enjoy the basketball game from a suite, but can they enjoy the game while hosting and paying tribute to men and women of our armed services?
There is also the possibility of actually finding an exclusive venue. While this can be geographically specific, think outside the theater/stadium/arena “box.” An example, which indeed can only take place in a handful of cities, is an event and private tour of a Federal Reserve Bank where you can witness the shredding of millions of dollars of currency in a day. Again, that specific venue might not exist at your locale, but do your homework and you can find venues that might have never crossed your (or your client’s!) mind.
Obtaining unique entertainment, or “talent”, can make an event very expensive very quickly. However, it could be worth engaging a famous Broadway singer for a private show if you can get enough high value clients in the room for a memorable evening. While $25,000+ for an hour-long performance might seem exorbitant, when you have 150 clients and their spouse raving about their experience for the next month, suddenly it becomes a wise investment for your company.
Theme is another “big” area where you can truly make your event stand out from the crowd. It can be risky going too crazy with a theme, such as Mardi Gras, etc., but if you are attempting to make an event an annual tradition for your clients, sometimes a theme can be the key to that equation. It can add a different kind of “entertainment” without necessarily increasing your cost greatly.
Can you put on a Halloween party, a Holiday Party, a Golf Tournament where your clients are marking their calendar for the next year’s event as soon as the current year’s event concludes? Maybe it’s the way you involve non-profit organizations or the food and beverage you select, or the atmosphere you create. With the correct combination of venue, entertainment and theme, your event could develop into that annual tradition for your clients, and maybe their families, too.
Turning now to the little things, it might seem obvious that every detail must be presented seamlessly to your clients. However, it is extremely easy to overlook things that might seem insignificant—like ease of parking—but could ruin an entire event before it starts.
If at all possible, do a walkthrough of the event, and experience everything your client will be experiencing. From driving to the venue, parking, checking in, walking to different areas, ensure it is plainly obvious exactly when and where your clients should be at any particular time. Do you need directional signage? Do you need people stationed at different locations? Is the temperature of the room perfect? Are nametags necessary? Who is welcoming your clients? Do they need to be escorted somewhere? When the event is over, who is thanking them for coming? Is there a gift given to all attendees? These items, which are the smallest cost of your event, could make or break your large investment.
The ability to secure unique venues, create distinct experiences, as well as knowing every single question to ask can be burdensome. Oftentimes, it is worth hiring a professional marketing team to put your mind at ease, save your staff a significant amount of time, and, most likely, save your company money.