Home' Local Media Today : November 2015 Contents 14 | LOCAL MEDIA TODAY | November 2015
CONT. FROM PAGE 2
make a profit on a first year event, the local media company must realize that even if
they break even, they are positioning themselves for greater growth and profitability in
the second year of a specific event. Lessons can be learned, processes refined, and the
events can then organically grow from there.
Q When most of us think about a successful event, we think of the huge regional
gatherings that attract big crowds with a lot of pizzazz. It’s daunting to think that is
the result for which to aim. Is it?
A We consider a successful event one that met our goals that we set from the
outset regardless of size and scope. For instance, we recently produced a
first-year event called the “Utah Women’s Summit.” The goals for this event were to
bring together hundreds of women to focus on elevating women in business and
leadership. We had speakers talk on many subjects like politics, health, starting busi-
nesses, etc. Our goal was to make a difference in the lives of the women that attended
this conference and we feel like we did. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive, and
we are already planning for the next event in this series. The point being, you don’t
always have to measure success by size and scope
Q What types of events should local media get involved with? Can you share an
example of an early success you had with a local event?
A Local media companies should build events around the audience and/or
brands that they own. For instance, we own a successful business magazine
called Utah Business and we use that platform and brand to run all our B2B awards
events. We also own a coupon magazine called Hometown Values and we use that brand
to run a “Hometown Values Home and Living Expo.” Those brands have built in
audiences. Even if the local media company doesn’t have other platforms, they can
simply use their own platform.
The key is to find a need in the local market, identify the audience they need to reach,
and then put an event together that will meet that need.
Q Tell us about the core ingredients in planning, staffing and selling events.
Attributes of an A-#1 coordinator?
A Events’ planning is not for the faint of heart! It can be exciting, thrilling, yet at
the same time requires an individual that can multi-task, can move things along
on multiple fronts, and all the while, stay cool under pressure. Analytical abilities are a
In addition to the people that have the responsibility to plan and execute the event,
getting volunteers to help during the day of event is crucial as well. Proper training and
setting expectations with the volunteer on the specifics of their role is required to have a
Q What are the considerations for deciding on a venue? I imagine planning an
outdoor event can ruin a lot of good sleep with worrying about weather! How do
you plan around variables like that?
A The venue can make a lot of difference in the success of the event. When looking
for a good venue, local media companies need to consider the population
centers around the venue, how easy it is to get in and out of the venue, parking, and
overall quality of the venue.
Anytime you are doing an outdoor event, having tents or a close by event center
where things can be moved indoors at a moment’s notice is always a good idea.
Q Where’s the money in events? Can you share what reasonable margins can be
A Money is generated in events from three different categories – sponsorship
sales, exhibit/ booth sales and tickets/registration. Whenever we plan an event,
we always shoot for a 50 percent gross margin, not including salaries or commission.
The gross margin is all revenue brought in against any associated costs to put on the
event (venue, advertising, etc.).
Q Most markets already have several established events every year, often produced
by another company. Is there any wisdom in endeavoring to pursue existing
A Just because an event is already in your market doesn’t necessarily mean you
shouldn’t pursue that event channel. The things you want to look at are –
n how well is that other event doing
n what markets are they serving
n what are they maybe missing out on.
We have an established “Home and Garden” show in our market, yet we felt they
were too broad in what they were offering, so we helped build a more niche event called
the “Dream Home Expo.” It was profitable in our first year of involvement.
Q Can you share some of the marketing tools that drive successful events?
A We start with utilizing our own platforms and make sure we max out on that
Then we add in resources that we don’t own (television, radio, outdoor). We work
with other local media companies that do own those channels to set-up trade agree-
ments. Where we can make them sponsors of our events and, in turn, they give us trade
or reduced rates on their medium.
Lastly, one of the most crucial and important strategies for event marketing is a good
social-marketing- plan. Building up an audience of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
around the event is very important. Local media companies should not only focus on
“pushing” out details about the event through those channels but should focus on using
those channels to entertain, inform and educate the audience around the subject of
that event. Doing this allows them to keep this type of engagement year-round, not just
before or after the actual event.
Q Finally, put yourself in the shoes of a small-market media company with limited
resources but plenty of energy and dedication for producing a couple events a
year. What are some basic tips you can share from your experience to help them overcome
A Start somewhere! Even if you start small, get in the game. Learn from others that
have forged this path before. Plan, execute and expect obstacles to pop up –
when those do, learn from them and move forward. Event management is an industry
where you get better at it the more you do it. As long as a local media company is willing
to make the investment and put forth the effort, it can be as successful as it wants to be
in this market.
Salt Lake Comic Con uses Utah Media Group’s ticketing solution Growtix and other aspects of their
management services including scheduling, celebrity management, autographs/photo ops registration,
volunteer management, access control through RFID, promotional/advertising support and more. The event
currently hold the records for the largest first-year Comic Con in North America, the largest Comic Con per
capita in North America and the third largest Comic Con in the country
Links Archive October 2015 December 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page