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Top 10 Tips for Throwing Your Own Marketing Event
How many times, as caterers, have we been asked to participate in a marketing event thrown by someone else? And when we're asked, isn’t it with the usual fanfare of being told what a great marketing opportunity the event will be, and how we'll get tons of business from it because we'll be in front of our target audience and our name will be on all the invitations and banners?
And how often does that fanfare end with no return on investment?
It doesn't have to be that way, though. Here are 10 pointers for throwing a successful party for yourself.
- Go Big or Go Home
This is an investment in your business, not the time to clean out your freezer. Explore your culinary abilities since this is one of those times that you don't have to listen to someone else; this is your chance to throw a party just like you want. Prepare the menu items that you think will make the biggest impact and take the time to make the event special.
- Don't Email the Invitations
Emailed invitations are not taken nearly as seriously as mailed invitations. Emailed invitations may get you large numbers in the RSVP list, but you can bet that at least 40 percent of that RSVP list won’t show up to the event. If you spend the money to have invites printed and mailed, and receive RSVPs via phone, your turnout will be much better. Depending on the size of your invite list, you might also consider writing the invitations by hand and sending response cards with the invitation.
- Ask Your Vendor Partners for Support
Most of your vendor partners (electrical, entertainment, lighting, valet, etc.) are willing to trade for reciprocal services at an event instead of a cash exchange. In this way, they’re able to showcase their services at your event, and then you get to cater their event, to an entirely new audience. One word of caution: Make sure to check with your accountant about the taxes owed so you don't get in trouble with the IRS.
- Choose Your Facility Wisely
If you don't have your own facility, ask a venue where you are on the preferred caterers list (or one you are trying to get on) to be the host location for your gala. This is a great way to show a venue that you want to market their space. Even if you have your own facility it may be a good idea to hold it at another venue for just this reason.
- Do Not Short-Staff
Do not underestimate your staffing needs to save money. If your guests receive poor service at your own event, it will leave a very bad impression.
- Invite Your Top Customers and Potential Customers
Evaluate the business you've received from your customers, and then determine the cut-off point for the invite list. Every customer that spends more than a certain dollar figure should get an invitation, and then you should fill in your list with other potential customers. This is a great way to get your current customers singing your praises to your potential customers.
- Invite Your Vendor Partners
These are the folks that have helped you get to where you are today, so it's a nice gesture to invite them to your event as a guest to experience your capabilities. How often are you asked about the quality of a certain D.J. company? Word-of-mouth marketing goes both ways.
- Get Your Team Involved
You will be surprised by how much your team wants to participate in the planning of an event like this. They all have great ideas they want to share, and the more they are involved, the prouder they will be to have been a part of it.
- Leave Your Guests with a Parting Gift
This could be anything, such as a coffee mug or a pad of paper with your logo on it, and a thank you note. You'll receive so many compliments on these gifts, and they'll provide a lasting and final positive impression.
- Hire a Quality Photographer / Videographer
During this top-notch event, capture images on film or video. Then use these pictures for marketing DVDs as well as brag photos to add to your collection. Just make sure you hire a quality event photographer and not a friend with a digital camera – there is a huge difference between the two.
In all respects, treat this as a challenge to your kitchen, your design team, your support crew, everyone on your team. For once, you can be your own client ... so live it up!
For more information, please visit www.catersource.com.