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Marketing ideas for an Event Planner

EdgEventEdgEvent subscriber Posts: 10
edited November 2013 in Marketing
I`m in the process of starting my own event planning company. Previously i`ve done a lot of work in the social events like parties, baby showers and birthdays. I`ve done some fundraising for non-profits as well, but i`m really looking to go into the corporate event planning market (i.e. product launches, fundraisers, promotions etc), because i feel it`s  stable with more opportunity for repeat business. But i`m having trouble coming up with an effective way to market to that demographic. I feel like direct mailings would be very expensive and not really effective for a small service-based, start up business. And I`ve been trying to find lists of local businesses and their demographics but having a hard time finding them.
Should i try to contact marketing and PR firms here in San Francisco and see if they would work with me to plan their events? If so, what would be a good way to market to professional marketers? Should i focus on the businesses individually? Contact charities and non-profits? Any interesting marketing ploys i could use to grab attention? I am pretty confident that they will be happy with my services, once they see what i can do. the problem is finding companies that are in need of a planner. Companies have to be big enough to afford one, but not so big that they have their own in house planners.
Any help or marketing ideas would be great.


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    05mustang05mustang subscriber Posts: 2 Member
    First post here, but I`m a big believer in showing what you have to offer. Why not plan an event for your potential customers and knock their socks off? 
    After all, who turns down party invitations?  Just don`t push too hard in the invite. Let your event do most of the talking fo you.  Show them what you can do and come up with a creative way for them to remember you. 
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    GrillCharmerGrillCharmer subscriber Posts: 7
    Hello EdgEvent!
    I don`t know much about your field, but I could put myself in the place of a potential customer and for ME, word of mouth with this type of thing is everything!  Maybe get your name out there with some PR and maybe an article or two, get people familiar with your brand and then do an event at a reduced rate just for exposure and yep, 05mustang hit the nail on the head with "knock their socks off".  I agree with mustang... show them!  (People talk)
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    EdgEventEdgEvent subscriber Posts: 10
    Thanks for your advice..i appreciate it.
    I would love to throw a party to show people what i can do, but unfortunately I`m starting off with very little money and can`t really afford to spend too much on parties like that. Especially since my target audience are companies with budgets starting at 10k and up. I`m worried that my low budget promos may seem too "cheap" and they would want something more high end for their company affairs, you know what i mean?
    But even assuming I can pull together a party to show them, who do i invite? I think that`s where i`m getting stuck. I don`t know where to start looking for potential clients. Once i have a good list of potentials, i know i can wine and dine them...so to speak.
    Thanks again for your advice!
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    GrillCharmerGrillCharmer subscriber Posts: 7
    How about...throw yourself a "Launch Party" and invite the local media, go to your local chamber of commerce and get a list of the local organizations and charities and companies you want to do work for.  Your local Chamber has TONS of information on just about any company you could possibly want.  They usually have the financials for companies so it should be easy to find your larger organizations in a nice little list. 
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    partymanpartyman subscriber Posts: 3
    There is a company out of San Diego that puts on a large open house.  They setup all kinds of equipment and yes lots of inflatable rides.  They invite business owners, government contacts, human resource people etc.  They offer free lunch.  The companies staff is there to take your order and answer questions.  It gives them the chance to showcase there services.  This company is called the Picnic People of Southern California.  I believe they also franchise.
    One trend I see is companies like mine are starting to provide in house event planning.  Some people are cutting out the middleman and going direct to the source.  I`m not saying that a stand alone event planner is a bad thing, just what I see in the trenches.  I am noticing this shift more every year.  It seems that with company picnics this shift is more noticeable.  If I were you I would pick up and read some trade specific magazines.  There is Rental Management, Intents and some others.  They sometimes showcase the work of event planners. 
    Perhaps you could get started helping nonprofit groups.  There is no specific method to building a business in event planning.  You might be able to get a start working for a large cap party rental company that is in need of planners.  You almost have to grow into a business inherited from parents. 
    By the way, I started with zero capital and zero experience in a city were I knew no one.  I have slowly built a company that does 85% repeat business.  I was a "paper millionaire" by the ago of 30.  The value of this type of business is not so much in equipment and related.  The real value is I have the contacts and 6 years of repeat business from them.  It is very difficult to get the decision maker who is hiring an event planner.  The work I do for event planners is by companies that have been established for a long time. 
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    dougmcisaacdougmcisaac subscriber Posts: 0
    Some good ideas already but let me through some more thoughts into the mix:
    If you don`t have money then you need to spend time and network.

    Join the local chamber of commerce, go to their networking events and get on the event committee.*
    Join other influentual nonprofits like museums and zoos that host high-end events. Join their event committee.
    Target and join influentual other non-profits and get on their events committee.
    Join leads groups and contribute.
    Offer to speak in front of every group that you can.  I bet that professional groups for HR and administrative professionals would really like to hear event planning tips. These are the people who get stuck planning in house events especially in small and mid size companies.

    * The reason I say join groups and get on the events committee is two-fold. It gives you the chance to show your skills and you will find that the people on that committee are usually the same people that do the events for their organizations.
    Hope that helps,
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    ProfessionalListsProfessionalLists subscriber Posts: 1
    Identify the types of businesses that will use your services.
    Have you considered state/local government?  Dont leave them out.  They dont have any time but they do have budget and reasons to celebrate!
    Think about your target markets, how can you get your service`s infront of them.  How can you grab their attention?
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    EdgEventEdgEvent subscriber Posts: 10
    They tricky part in marketing for me is that...my services can be used by virtually any type of business. A tech company launching a new product as much as an art gallery with a new art collection to showcase to corporate finance companies planning a conference. I`m trying to focus my marketing somehow so its not so broad.  I don`t have the money at the moment to shotgun out postcards or mail out brochures to every local business in the city, nor do i have the time to call or send emails to hundreds or random businesses or individuals that could potentially use my services.  That could be anyone. I was hoping to focus my efforts on a couple key groups like marketing companies, consultants and non-profits etc, in hopes that they will bring me the varieties of businesses through their clients. So the questions is, what the best strategy or method to market towards those key groups?
    I definitely intend on getting involved with some non-profits and some of the groups that were mentioned like the chamber of commerce, but is there any other place i should look?
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    ProfessionalListsProfessionalLists subscriber Posts: 1

    If low budget is your thing, you may consider flyers in high traffic areas such as state buildings ect.  Further look for referrals, possibly catering companies? 


    I understanding wanting to keep budget low, however, if the business is worth running it`s worth investing in.  I would define low budget.  Then work out from there. 


    Even your local chamber of commerce will cost money to join, everyone wants a buk!  If you don’t have any experience you’ll want to do some free events for non profits.  I would invest in adwords and you can specify to keep your budget low.  Do some research in your local area, know how flooded your market is with event planners.  Make your adwords specific to your area and track your campaigns do some good key word marketing.

    Choose one market and go after them, whether it’s marketing companies, or state government focus your campaign and be aggressive. 

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    XimalRokasXimalRokas subscriber Posts: 0
    The company you are in is fairly aggressive. Offer yourself... your character... what you have done in the last. As you get tasks, take images. Begin with a great profile.
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    party212party212 subscriber Posts: 0
    great thread! thanks!
    Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, Orange County. My Party Production is specialize in coordinating and planning any kind of event for any occasion, such as Wedding, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, Executive Parties, Moroccan Ceremony
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