It’s officially Fall. Within weeks, it’s Halloween, and then the rush to Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve. You’ve got your own family and personal gatherings to plan, but in the back of your mind, you’re worried. There’s something you’re missing. What is it you’re supposed to be doing? Client, customer, employee appreciation — that’s it! You’ve put off planning your end-of-year strategic marketing events, and now you’re up against the clock. Take a deep breath and read on. Nine88 Events is the premier strategic marketing events group, and we’ve got some suggestions for how you can still plan and execute advantageous end-of-year events.
A bit of bad news first. It’s October. Desirable dates (Friday and Saturday evenings), as well as desirable venues, are probably already booked (PRO TIP: to get the best calendar dates and venues think about booking at least 6 months ahead). However, all is not lost. Consider choosing a beginning of the week or a mid-week date. Taco Tuesdays have become increasingly popular. How about a strategic marketing event with tacos and all the fixings? Wednesday Wasabi, anyone? Thirsty Thursday? Furthermore, most people’s schedules are more flexible for a Monday–Thursday event, so you should see better attendance.
Again, the most desirable venues are probably already booked. You may have to get creative. Movie theatres, live theatre productions, sporting events, concerts, and even philanthropic tie-in events can all be utilized to create a strategic marketing evening for your clients and customers. The familiar banquet space with a buffet dinner can be a bit of a bore. Planning an evening with some social time followed by an activity is a nice break from the familiar. And don’t forget your own space. If your place of business can accommodate a gathering, such as using a conference room or even an entrance atrium, you may be surprised at how a skilled strategic marketing event planner, such as Nine88 Events, can transform the space and create an upscale ambiance.
Hosting an event at a restaurant simplifies menu planning. But that doesn’t mean that hosting your event at a restaurant is your only option. Many restaurants offer catering services, so if you cannot book the restaurant itself, you can still utilize its menu. An equally viable option is to work with a professional caterer who can provide the food, dishes, and staff to serve your guests. And if you are planning a beginning to the mid-week event, an abbreviated menu is a great option. In other words, on a Friday or Saturday event, most guests expect appetizers, a meal, and dessert. Weekday evenings, however, can be less formalized. Heavy hors d’oeuvres, some specialty drinks, and light desserts may be appropriate and certainly be less expensive.
Because it’s October and some of your options for dates and venues are limited, you may be asking if scheduling a strategic marketing event is worth the expense. Yes. Today’s marketplace is crowded. Your customers and clients have many other options. Business runs on relationships. A marketing budget should include money not just for advertising and methods of promoting your business, but also money for “appreciation” occasions. A strategic marketing event gives you the opportunity to let your customers and clients see that you believe the relationship is worth spending your money. Further, holding an end-of-the-year affair allows time to recap the year’s progress and showcase where you see joint opportunities moving forward.
Equally of value to your business are your employees. If you haven’t thought of an end-of-the-year event for your employees, now is the time. All of the above suggestions can be used as you think about planning a special occasion for your employees. A mid-week event with appetizers and desserts is a great way to foster congenial relationships between employees and to emphasize that your company values the individuals who contribute to its success.
The end of the year gets busy. It’s not too late to put strategic marketing planning back on your list. But given the challenges of coordinating events this late in the year, consider working with a strategic marketing event professional such as Nine 88 Events. Contact us today to discuss how we can help you to bring client and employee events to reality.