The Women in Defense of Greater Hampton Roads hosted a luncheon event this month featuring guest speaker Deany Dormer, owner and event planner at Executive Events, an event management and planning company that focuses on growing businesses and nonprofits through events.

The event was held July 10 at the Tidewater Community College Advanced Technology Center in Virginia Beach.

Women in Defense is a national organization dedicated to the advancement of women in all careers relating to national security.

The organization focuses on education, mentorship and leadership.

Dormer spoke in front of a group of nearly 30 business people about how to fine-tune event marketing and planning, and generate revenue and business from events.

Event marketing should be strategic and purposeful, Dormer said. The first step of planning an event is making sure that you know your ideal customer. Once you know the characteristics of an ideal customer, you can search for “look-a-likes,” Dormer said.

She said it’s important to realize that everyone is not your customer, and most small businesses do not have enough resources to market to everyone.

Ideal customers will represent a certain set of professions, goals, challenges, backgrounds, shopping habits, play habits and family backgrounds.

“Find out who your customer is, where can you find them and what they need from you,” Dormer said.

By honing in on these characteristics, businesses can market to the correct population without wasting valuable marketing dollars.

Next, figure out how these customers receive information, she said. Email, print, online, mail, radio, podcasts and newsletters are options worth exploring.

If executed properly, events can help with lead generation, brand awareness, engaging prospects and educating people on the benefits of using your products or services.

Events also will help to drive demand and create customer upsell. Before planning an event, Dormer said it’s essential for businesses to create an agenda and set goals.

Types of events include grand openings, product launches, virtual events, conferences, lunch-and-learns, and business retreats.

When marketing for the event, businesses must explain why people should attend.

Questions to answer are:

What’s in it for them if they come to the event? What will they learn? Why should they consider your product? How can you solve their problems?

If done right, events will make a lasting first impression and attract new clients and investors, Dormer said.

Set a call-to-action before the event with an incentive such as a discount for signing up early, bringing a friend or sharing the event on social media.

Sponsorships are a good way to fund events, but businesses should look for a sponsor that will add value to the event, Dormer said.

Smart budgeting can make a big difference as well. It’s always wise to negotiate with event locations, and start 5 to 10 percent under budget, leaving room for incidentals.

“Make sure you don’t plan your event on the same day as another industry event,” Dormer said.

Businesses also should consider the best time of day for the attendees.

For example, if the event caters to doctors and other medical professionals, consider having it in the morning rather than during their midday hustle.

Always evaluate the success of your event once it’s over, Dormer said.

Make a list of aspects that worked well – and aspects that need work.

Lastly, Dormer said to follow up with attendees after the event with emails, live sessions or a news release about the event.

Booking Information

Deany Dormer will give a fun, interactive and educational presentation about the advantages of event marketing to your club, group or organization. Contact us today at 757-785-5081 or Info@AssistMyEvent.com. Deany Dormer is the Owner and Event Manager of Executive Events, a strategic event company that specializes in event planning, marketing and management dedicated to increasing your event’s return on objective.

About the Author

Virginia Lascara is a reporter for Inside Business, The Hampton Roads Business Journal.

[This article was originally printed in the July 2015 edition of the Inside Business Journal.]