Roadshows are the ultimate in field events – taking your message out to the masses is a great way to connect with potential clients or customers on a personal level and foster face to face relationships.
At the same time, roadshow events are a huge undertaking that require not just a financial investment, but a huge amount of planning and preparation time. So we thought we’d give you a head start and offer up our list of top planning priorities when taking your brand on tour.
Your first priority should be to address your target market. Whilst this may appear an obvious suggestion, there are many brands that do not take the time to compile detailed customer profiles and as a result, their marketing efforts often fail to hit the mark.
Knowing your audience and understanding their lifestyles is the first step towards implementing a successful marketing strategy. Your roadshow is part of this strategy so, if you haven’t done so already, get to know your audience. Not just their age range and geographical locations, but their buying habits, preferred methods of communication and how they consume content. Doing so will not only benefit your long term marketing plan; it will significantly help when planning the following parts of your roadshow strategy.
Your roadshow doesn’t have to be a countrywide tour to be a success. When it comes to locations, your choices should focus primarily on quality, not quantity. Specifically, the quality of attendees in each area you consider.
The key lies in strategic planning; knowing where to find high level prospects and targeting them to full effect. With that in mind, it’s useful to choose your roadshow locations based on any existing sales data you may have or, in the absence of this, well-structured market research.
For example, if you are an established company, are there particular areas where you already have a solid customer base? If so, you could target that particular location in an effort to generate more custom, or assess the qualities of the area, why they tie in so well with your brand, and choose locations based on these criteria. For a start-up company, where are similar products or services performing well?
As with any event of any description, your roadshow content is key. Your audience are taking the time and effort to attend so reward them with valuable information. As consumers, we respond more positively to messages that hold added value for ourselves. Whilst it may be tempting to seize the opportunity and go in with the hard sell, in the long run it is better to lose a sale but gain a good reputation than to risk a negative response.
Plan your content accordingly to offer a balance between self-promotion and audience satisfaction. Having clearly identified your target market early on in the process, you should have a good idea of the type of content they respond to and their preferred methods of communication; do they prefer written collateral that can be taken away, interactive presentations or video?
Also remember when planning your content that it extends beyond the event day itself. Promotional materials and post event follow ups are equally as important. Create a content schedule that covers each step of the process; from your initial publicity campaign to your event content, and beyond to your aftersales materials.
To achieve the highest level of return on your roadshow investment, give as much attention to your venue selection as to any other part of the process. You’ve taken the time to assess your target market, planning both your destinations and your content around it, so don’t just opt for any old venue.
Consider the environment in which your content would be best received and in which your audience will be most responsive. Align your venue choice with your own brand identity and roadshow objectives.
Is your event a B2B pitch that requires the facilities for informative presentations or networking? Are you holding a B2C product launch that involves demonstrations? Does your content require access to AV equipment and support? Make a list of all your venue requirements before you start the selection process. Careful planning at this stage will help guide your choices and avoid any potential pitfalls further down the line.
Timing considerations for your roadshow are two fold; firstly, the time of year at which you schedule the event to take place and, secondly, the time of day at which you hold your sessions.
The appropriate time of year will depend highly on your brand or product, particularly if it is seasonal. Be aware of other events in your field that may pose a conflict of interest for your audience and plan around them. Regarding your audience, consider them carefully at this stage; when are they most likely to be available? Not only in terms of the time of year but also at what times of the day? This will impact greatly on the timing of your roadshow sessions.
Additionally, make sure that your time frame allows for the production of any associated materials you may need; marketing collateral, branded giveaways, set and staging if required. Your production company should offer clear advice on lead times and guide you through each step of the planning process.
So there you have it; our top considerations when taking your brand on tour. Of course, it’s not an extensive list. There are many other things to consider, some will be unique to your own individual circumstances, but we hope these give you a solid blueprint to work from and enable you to get the highest level of return on your roadshow investment.
For more advice on planning a roadshow, or any other type of event you may have in mind, contact one of our experienced producers today and they’ll be happy to talk through your ideas with you.
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