31st October 2017 / Design, Marketing Posted by Paul Ovenden

How to navigate events season

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The run up to Christmas is a busy time for everyone. Deadlines loom, workloads increase and social and networking schedules get full to bursting. This time of year also represents a crucial opportunity for expansion and growth, reaching new audiences and building new networks. So, whether you’re organising - or attending - events this November and December make sure you’ve put some thought in to how to navigate the season effectively. 

Limit the number of client events

Christmas is the ideal time of year to thank clients for loyal support – and to be thanked in return for another year of hard work. However, client functions need to be carefully organised and multiple events can put a real strain on your own business in the festive season. Choose your events carefully. If you’re organising Christmas events for clients then go for quality over quantity. And if you’re attending Christmas events representing your business don’t overbook – you’ll impress no one if you’re too tired to engage. 

Go in for gifting

Whether you’ve bought exhibition space at a conference or tradeshow, or you’re hosting drinks or lunches, gifting is big at this time of year. Be clever about the gifts that you give and you can create a powerful – yet festive – marketing tool. Branded products, for example, offer a way to give gifts that could also generate leads for next year. Avoid the clichés, such as sweets or stress balls, and come up with a genuinely covetable takeaway that clients will be pleased to have – which also advertises your brand. At Aquatint we have a lot of experience with innovative branded product ideas that help to strengthen client bonds and drive sales.

Make sure you’re equipped with the essentials

Christmas party time is the ideal opportunity to expand your networks. However, you’ll find that you’re not the only person looking to get out there and be seen at this time of year. So, make sure you’re equipped with the essentials for events when the festive season rolls around, including: 

  • Great, eye catching business cards (we can help with that)
  • An intuitive website that your new contacts can browse for info (we can help with that too)
  • Interesting chat, an elevator pitch and techniques to fill silences (sorry, you’re on your own there)

Avoid the hard sell

Yes, there’s always a commercial element in Christmas events – these are business relationships after all. However, steer clear of the hard sell when you’re entertaining clients or attending festive events. Few people will want to be tested out as a marketing lead when they’re trying to enjoy their turkey or canapés so the key is to be subtle. Focus on building relationships through genuine and interesting conversations instead of pushing what you do. Collect business cards from those you speak to and make notes on conversations had after the event. Then, come Jan 2018, you’ll be primed to start following up on what will have been a positive first experience. 

Avoid festive marketing assets

Yes, with all these new contacts and perhaps more clients visiting the office, this is the ideal time of year to make use of a brochure or a flyer or other promotional literature. However, incorporating a festive theme can seem gimmicky, tacky and means that you’ll only be able to generate return on the investment you’ve made for a limited period of time. Instead, work on refining and optimising the marketing assets that you’re using so that they are more effective in the long term – and better used. Make sure they are targeted, appropriate for your whole organisation and that each office, site or base in your network is using the right assets and branding at the right time. The Aquatint Brand Hub is a highly effective tool at this time of year – it’s web to print software that allows you to keep control of branding across multiple locations and make sure it gets into the right hands at the right time. 

Enjoy yourself…

…After all, this is meant to be fun. If you’re full of seasonal comfort and joy then you’re much more likely to shine during the Christmas events season than if you’re behaving like a bit of a miserable Scrooge.