by Bruce Myint | September 01, 2004
illustrationHenry Rischitelli receives a handful of invitations to industry events every week most of which end up in the trash. As president of Atlanta-based Next Marketing, Rischitelli knows all too well that if the invite lacks a real draw, a potential attendee is lost within seconds. At a time when audiences are increasingly difficult to reach, he says, organizers need to do a better job of marketing their events.
    Rischitelli, who handles the marketing for about 40 corporate events each year for groups such as General Motors, Hewlett-Packard and HSBC, offers the following advice for making irresistible invitations.
    " Get focused. “We’re seeing people go deeper and more narrow,” says Rischitelli. “Focus on mailing to a smaller but more important group.”
    " Pick an alluring spot. Tout a venue that will, in itself, be an attraction: a big-name vineyard in Northern California, for example, or a corporate box at a prime-time sporting event.
    " Drop names. Obtain and promote a famous speaker. “As planners, we won’t be successful at drawing attendees unless something catches their interest,” Rischitelli notes.
    " Get personal. To snag a VIP guest, replace the standard invite with a “personal” note from your organization’s CEO. Rischitelli says such measures not only make attendees feel special, they also help to underscore the importance of the event as a prime networking opportunity.
    " Think family values. If appropriate, market toward attendees’ significant others. Promotional materials should place a spotlight on local attractions such as shopping areas, spa facilities and golf courses. To woo those with children, Rischitelli has organized side trips to theme parks and special kids’ activities.