An event should be marketed like any other product, which is why we only address marketing briefly in this guide. After all, most of the information in general marketing guides can be applied directly to events.
Marketing begins with a marketing plan. In order to market your event, you need to understand what it is that you are selling. What is your event about, who is it for, how does it differ from other events. Is this a new event or are people already familiar with it?
Next, it’s time to set goals for your marketing: what do you want to achieve and who do you want to reach. Marketing channels and methods can be chosen based on your target audience. Other factors are your budget and your event marketing team’s skills and knowledge.
Your marketing plan should also include a marketing schedule.
The internal flow of information in the organisation is crucial to the success of both the event itself and its marketing. Keeping everyone informed ensures that people involved in the organisation of the event know the general situation, who’s doing what, what information is public and what measures should be taken next. Each organisation should choose the communication channels that best suit their needs according to the size and operating culture of the organisation. Available channels include:
- Instant messaging services (e.g. WhatsApp)
- Project management tools
- Discussions over a cup of coffee
- Bulletin boards
Nearly every event is marketed on social media. The advantages of social media include its low costs, its social nature, the possibility to tailor messages according to target groups, and its speed. The most important factor is the social nature of communication in social media. It provides an efficient channel for publishing announcements and notifications, but the true power of social media lies in the fact that it allows direct communication with the very people who are interested in your event. At it’s most simple form, communication can simply mean answering messages and asking questions, but it can also entail polls, competitions and initiatives, in which case the participants and followers play an important role.
We recommend nominating a social media manager for your event, who will be responsible for regular communication with the audience. Regularity is key. It is a good idea to draft a realistic social media plan and establish the frequency of communication on each channel.
Depending on the channel, we would recommend publishing updates once a week throughout the year, and at a frequency of about once a day for the time immediately before the event. There are, however, major differences in the recommended frequency of publishing updates between different channels: while it is OK to publish updates on the same theme several times a day to Twitter, doing the same would be too much on Facebook.
Make sure that you update your channels regularly because an inactive social media account gives a bad impression of the event. If the social media manager will be away on holiday, for example, they can schedule updates that will be published automatically during their absence. A good option is to also have a backup person who can cover for the social media manager in case questions are asked via social media, if there is a need for moderation in the discussions, or if there’s an unexpected event (serious threats to safety, a performer falls ill/dies, etc.).
Cornerstones of a successful social media campaign:
- Regular updates;
- Inviting the audience to engage in dialogue;
- Images, videos and other active content;
- Fast responses;
- Tailored content to different channels and target audiences;
- Selection of channels that work best for your target audience;
- Occasional special promotions such as competitions, polls and campaigns;
- VIP content for followers (such as behind-the-scenes and making-of publications).
Social media channels change constantly, and the social media manager of the event should keep an eye on the changes so as to be able to react accordingly. At the time of writing this guidance, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter were among the most popular social media channels, but this may already have changed by the time you are reading this.
The event in itself is interesting, whereas a “more boring" product may require putting some flesh on the bones of its story to make it more attractive. An event, on the other hand, is “the flesh on the bones" that attracts interest in itself. People are interested in events – make use of it in the marketing!
The performers often create a lot of sales appeal for the event. Promote your event with the help of photos and videos of or interviews with the performers. Agree on the ways the performers advertise the event. Create compelling opportunities for the performers to take photos and shoot videos backstage, on stage and in the field. Make sure that there is at least one “wow" moment along the performer’s path that makes them want to share a photo. Remind the performer of the hashtag, social media channels and name of your event and of Tampere.
The event industry is interesting in itself; therefore, sneak peeks and making-of clips of how you are organising the event attract the interest of the general public. Explain how the event is being created and introduce the people behind it in your social media channels.
People tend to share updates that concern events. Provide an excellent spot for a selfie, encourage guests to share photos and updates, reward those who share frequently with tickets or merchandise, and promote the event name and hashtags on social media.
Collaboration with social media influencers that focus on tourism and travel, music, sports and lifestyle content is always a good idea. While many of the influencers will have to consider each proposal for collaboration carefully, an event that they are naturally interested in is high on their list.
Let your audience have their say: The most effective way of engaging your audience in social media is letting them influence a feature of your event. Let your imagination run wild – sometimes the audience may get to participate in the selection of topics and performers of an event, the schedule, the choice of an external service provider (such as pizza vs burger restaurant) or the decoration of the VIP area.
A press release is a traditional but still often effective means of informing the media of an event. Draft the press release in the form of an article to make it easy for the media to publish it as such. It is a good idea to always include a photo or a video link in a press release.
Before writing a press release, consider who you want the text to reach and keep your target reader in mind when writing. It is important to attract the interest of the media, but the actual target group of your press release are the readers of those media channels. Consider the interests of your target reader and how you can express yourself as clearly and simply as possible.
You may draft different press releases for different media channels. A local newspaper or radio channel will be most interested in a local or regional point of view, that is, how your event is visible in Tampere or Pirkanmaa, whereas the national media prefers a wider perspective, and specialised media outlets want to cover the event form the point of view of their branch or industry. If you can capture some interesting or unusual audiovisual material of your event, the TV news may be interested in broadcasting it as a piece of lighter news at the end of the programme.
An advertisement in a newspaper or magazine is a popular way of announcing events. Newspapers in particular are a quick media where you may be able to publish your ad even at a day’s notice. Free papers often reach a wide audience, but on the downside, people often only browse a few pages of them. Magazines, on the other hand, are often read more carefully but they are published less frequently. Consequently, you should think of a way of making your guests want to buy their ticket or make the decision to participate in the event weeks or even months ahead.
Some papers have a full digital edition available online, while others have a more concise web presence. The reader profile of the online version may differ from that of the printed paper, which is why it is important to find out whether it would be good to have some form of your ad on the online version as well.
Popular free and chargeable newspapers in Tampere and the surrounding region include Aamulehti, Tamperelainen, Moro, Suur-Tampere, Voima, Hervannan sanomat, Ideapark Uutiset, Kangasalan sanomat, Akaan Seutu, Lempäälän-Vesilahden Sanomat, Sydän-Hämeen lehti and Ylöjärven Uutiset.
Advertising on the radio and television are great ways to use audio and visual elements to promote an event to the general public. On the radio in particular, repetition is important. Among the key factors that determine the price of radio and TV advertisements are the number of repetitions and broadcast time; however, the cost tends to be fairly high.
In addition to a variety of national radio channels, the following operate in Tampere and the Pirkanmaa region: SUN Radio, FUN Tampere, Radio Moreeni, Radio Musa and Pispalan Radio, among others.
It is important to make sure that your event is included in as many relevant lists of events as possible because the people who are interested in events tend to follow the lists regularly. There are various lists of events in Tampere that focus on different kinds of events. New lists are established and old ones cease to exist, which is why it is important for an event organiser to keep an eye on the selection of lists. Here is a non-exhaustive list of the lists of events in Tampere.
If you know of lists that are not mentioned here, please let us know!
Some event listings in Tampere:
- meteli.net (concerts)
- tapahtumatyrityksille.fi (business events)
Advertising outdoors is a great way to reach the masses, as it is seen by a wide variety of people who do not follow social or traditional media.
Pro tip: Invest in outdoor advertising just before the event. This makes your event visible on the street, attracts attention, creates a good atmosphere and attracts people who attend events spontaneously.
Possible outdoor advertisement channels include banners, signs, event poster boards, digital screens and buses. If necessary, media agencies can help you to identify the channels that best suit your needs. Some of the advertising media owners in Tampere are listed on the Mediani Tampere portal (in Finnish).
You can contact the City of Tampere for a space to advertise your event with a banner. Write a free-form application to the City of Tampere Facility Property Management to reserve a spot for your banner. The banners will be fixed and removed by Tampereen Vera Oy. Both the ad space and the work are subject to a fee.
Information on the installation and pricing of banners (in Finnish). For information in English, please contact the Tampere Event Services team.
Various operators have large signboards that you can rent for your advertisement. They are located along streets, in shopping centres, at bus stops and stations, in car parks and on rotating pillars. Signboard companies that operate in Tampere include JCDecaux, Mediateko and ClearChannel.
The City of Tampere facilitates free outdoor ad space for event organisers around the city on the B sides of JCDecaux Abribus poster surfaces. The ad space is available to event operators who promote free-of-charge events with programmes intended for everyone. The promotion of commercial events and the use of logos are subject to detailed regulations based on the agreement between the City of Tampere and JCDecaux.
Due to high demand and a limited number of poster surfaces, advertisement space cannot be granted to every applicant. Each event organiser is responsible for the costs of designing and printing their own posters.
At the moment, the applications for poster surfaces for each year must be submitted at the beginning of October of the previous year. More information is available on the Visit Tampere Abribus page (in Finnish) or by contacting infopinnat (at) tampere.fi.
There is a total of ten event poster boards around the centre of Tampere. The boards are available free of charge, and they are official poster boards provided by the City of Tampere. Attaching posters or other advertisements elsewhere is not permitted.
In addition to boards reserved for printed posters, there are digital screens in Tampere for displaying digital marketing materials. The advantage of these screens is that the event provider will avoid paying for the printing of materials, and many of the screens also permit the use of video or film in the ads.
Currently, the City of Tampere facilitates free ad space on three media screens in Tampere. The screens are intended for the presentation of the event; third party marketing or ticket prices are not allowed on screen.
Applications for the City of Tampere media screen ad space can be submitted online all year round. If the ad space is granted, the event organizer must prepare and submit the material in the required file format.
More information and the application form for media screen advertisement space are available at the link below. For information in English and assistance in filling out the form, please contact infopinnat (at) tampere.fi.
Don’t forget about buses when planning outdoor advertisement for your event! It is possible to place an ad on the outside of a bus. Most commonly, the advertisement covers a part of the side of a bus; however, nearly the whole rear of a bus can be wrapped. Even 3D elements can be used.
Most buses also have small media screens inside the bus. Please contact Neonmedia for more information on indoor ad spaces on buses.
Other, less common means of transportation that offer outdoor advertisement space include taxis, city trains, bicycles and promotional cars. At the time of writing, confirmed information on the possibility of advertising on the future tramway system in Tampere was not yet available.
Posters and flyers are popular advertisement media channels. Posters and flyers can be attached to the official event poster boards of the City of Tampere (see map of the event poster boards here) and, with permission from the relevant party, in libraries, shops, restaurants, cafés and sports and leisure facilities.
Be creative when planning where to attach your posters and flyers but bear in mind that usually, attaching a poster requires prior approval, and flyers distributed to people who are not interested in the event are wasted and may end up as litter on the street.
There are always risks involved in every event, and event organisers should always prepare for the risks and for communicating them. In some circumstances, good crisis communication may even help save lives. Even in less dramatic scenarios, it will give a professional and trustworthy impression of the event organiser and minimises the amount of negative publicity.
Therefore, the head of security, the person in charge of the event and the head of marketing/communications should go through possible crisis scenarios as well as how and through which channels they will be communicated. In case of an emergency, speed and efficiency are a priority. An incidence that may cause bad publicity but is not an acute emergency should be communicated as openly as possible and without blaming anyone. If a detail that is kept secret becomes public knowledge later, the resulting damage to the image of the event may be significant. In other than acute incidents, it is often best to let someone in a leading position communicate it to show that the whole organisation bears the responsibility for the event. If necessary, a crisis communication expert may coach the person communicating the information.
The crisis may also be internal. For instance, the financial success of the event may not meet the targets which may affect the employment of those involved in the event or the financial situation of the organisation. The management should communicate these situations and look for possible solutions. Appropriate insurance usually covers salaries and the significant financial liabilities of the organisation.
Crises and special incidents to consider when planning crisis communications
- Threats to safety (such as external threats, fire, unstable structures, crowding);
- Sudden changes to the date or place of the event;
- Cancellation of a performance/number;
- Cancellation of the event;
- Financial loss;
- Illness or death.