​Event Marketing and PR Advice from Expert A. G. Billig

Desireé Duffy  |

Event marketing can be a powerful tool in a brand’s marketing and PR arsenal. Product launches, premieres, celebrity events, immersive experiences and parties are all ways to engage the media and the public.

What are some best practices when planning your event? How do you begin planning for something that could elevate you beyond belief? What are some of the risks involved with event marketing?

I spoke with an expert in the field, A.G. Billig, who gives us the following advice:

Can you tell me a little about you and your company?

I'm an author at heart with a 10-plus year career as a journalist and PR expert. I've been a radio and TV host, editor-in-chief for glossy magazines, and also created and implemented PR campaigns for FMCG, luxury, and fashion international brands. In 2015, I decided to use my expertise to help authors achieve success and create the “Billboard Magazine” of the self-publishing industry. Self-Publishing Mastery is an online magazine that covers a variety of topics related to self-publishing from success stories and exclusive interviews to books and podcasts on self-publishing. Except for the RSS feed that gets updates from various websites related to self-publishing, all the content is original. We also provide book-marketing services and we specialize in helping authors create out-of-the-box, memorable, and effective book launch events.

What are some types of events that a company or brand should hold? Should they hold parties for a product/book launch? To announce a new location or business?

Before deciding to hold an event, a company or an artist should decide if it's really worth it. Holding an event requires time, money, and know-how. You will need to compel people to choose to attend that event rather than do something different. You can build an event around an important milestone of your or your company's professional life that is relevant to your audience. Or, you can create events tailored for your audience that will offer them a memorable and pleasant experience, which also allows them to interact with your brand.

What are some clever ideas you’ve seen and or done for clients?

If you are an author, work with one or two young actors to perform a fragment of your book during the launch rather than having the traditional format. Or, if you like being in the spotlight, you can perform it yourself. For the launch of my collection "Four Doors and Other Stories," I created an artistic happening called "A Summer Story." I rewrote one of the stories as a monologue, added live music, tango dancing, and video projections. The 40-minute performance allowed the 200 people in the audience immerse with all their senses in the story. The concept also got me a sponsorship, which covered the event production costs and helped with promotion.

Another successful concept was "Thursday Flavors," a weekly event built around wine tasting, literature, and networking.

Getting exposure in the media for a beer brand was another challenge. The brand was hosting a series of weekly concerts in various cities as part of a campaign centered on the revival of the old, historic buildings. Instead of sending a press release, we worked with two actors. After we got all the necessary approvals, we sent them to the most important editorial offices dressed in early 20th century outfits. They did a short performance and, when it ended, distributed the media kits, and invitations to the VIP areas at the concert venues. Not only did the journalists cover the campaign, thus ensuring free exposure for the beer brand, but they also showed up at the event.

What are some things a company needs to think about when planning an event?

Although each event is unique according to a series of factors, there are some general rules to be followed.

First of all, it is important to bear in mind that the event needs to be consistent with the overall marketing strategy of that company. Also, have clear objectives, a well-defined budget and know your target audience. Allow the necessary time to prepare — have all the logistics in place and promote the event so that you will not have an empty room. Take into consideration holidays, celebration days, or other unexpected occurrences that may increase or decrease the participation rate. Think of each guest as a potential brand ambassador and make sure they get a state-of-the-art, unique experience. Word-of-mouth is still the most powerful publicity tool.

Imagine the positive impact on your brand if a hundred happy guests do live videos on Facebook and Instagram! Imagine the viral effect as they rave about the event to their friends. Don't be afraid to get creative when it comes to a concept by adding a twist that will make your event stand out. Check if there is something of interest for the media to talk about.

Most important, always start on time and make sure that everything runs smoothly. This helps create a wonderful experience for everyone.

What expectations should a company have when planning an event?

It's hard to predict the unexpected, but when an event is well prepared the outcome should be positive. I would rather use the term objectives rather than expectations. An objective will make it easier for you to take tailored action to accomplish it and measure the results. It can be about the number of participants and a desired behavior, media exposure and coverage, or generated revenue.

What is the best piece of advice you can give to someone who wants to hold an event?

Leave nothing to chance. Plan, plan, plan, even the tiniest details. Be passionate about what you’re doing and do be afraid to think outside the box.

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer.


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