Henry 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
" 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
" 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