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Creating Your Event Collateral Shouldn’t Be Like Wrestling an Alligator

When your company’s planning to participate in an event, how do you handle the event exhibit materials and collateral?

Is it done helter-skelter at the last minute? Is it handled by too many people, who don’t communicate with one another? Do you tend to run out of handout materials at events?

At the end of the day, when you look at all of the collateral created to promote your event, does it look like a sorry collection of mismatched print and promotional materials?alligator.jpg

If you’ve answered, “Yes!” to any of these questions, it’s time to get control over your firm’s event materials. Don’t wait till the next one is a month away. Consider approaching this responsibility with these 4 simple steps:

Step 1: Make a list of everything you’d like for an event.

This should be a wish list. If you had all the resources and time needed, what materials would make your event a home run? The following is a “starter” list showing standard event materials.

Pre-Event Collateral

  • Invitations (printed and/or evites)
  • Save-the-date postcard
  • Postcard campaign, featuring benefits, speakers, giveaways, etc.
  • Unique ad specialties branded for the event, mailed to top prospects

 Exhibit Display Materials

  • Event banners and signage for booth or tabletop
  • Name tags for team members staffing your display
  • Business cards for team members staffing your display; consider branding these for the event.
  • Brochures, data sheets, and other print collateral to use as giveaways on site.
  • Table wrap
  • Floor graphics
  • Preprinted sign-up sheets, branded for your firm, if you want attendees to register for more information (or for those who don’t have business cards handy).
  • Pocket folders for inserting your data sheets and other collateral; use as giveaways or to be sent post-event as requested.
  • Branded food/beverage containers and wrappers, for items on your display table (candy bars, water bottles, mints, gum).
  • Branded napkins, menus, and other tableware as needed, particularly if you’re hosting cocktails or a meal. (Here’s your chance to get creative – how about branded brown paper lunch bags for attendees to use for candy or other treats at your space?)
  • Table tents if you’re hosting cocktails or a meal.

Speaker Material

If someone in your organization is presenting, that adds other requirements to event collateral.

  •  Branded slides
  • Speaker handouts, including but not limited to the slides
  • Business cards for the speaker
  • Branded promotional item that relates to the presentation and will make it memorable

 Post-Event Collateral

  •  Thanks-for-attending postcard or notecards
  • Direct mail campaign (postcards or letters) to connect with your attendees

Step 2: Use Templates for Print Collateral When Possible

Streamline the work of creating event materials by using templates whenever possible. This works especially well with invitations, postcards, data sheets, and business cards.

Design templates and upload them to your marketing portal, where they’ll be accessible to the people responsible for editing, updating, ordering, and printing your materials as well as storing your inventory.

Make sure that all material (printed, digital, or promotional) is tagged appropriately so that portal users know how and where to find them when they’re updating or ordering collateral.

Step 3: Determine Which Materials to Produce Ahead vs. Produce-on-Demand

Certain materials lend themselves to being printed on demand. Invitations, letters, and other personalized items tend to be produced close to the event date or the mail date, to ensure your list is current. Templates for these products will make all the difference.

Other items have a longer production cycle, like branded promotional items. If you can create standard promotional items and keep them in inventory, you can pull them as needed and have them shipped to the event location. If they need to be branded for an event, work with your print partner on a reasonable schedule.

With this knowledge in hand, communicate the production schedules internally as well as externally, with your print partner. Determine quantities needed, always keeping in mind future events that may require the same materials.

Step 4: Collaborate with Your Print and Fulfillment Partner

Most of your event materials should be ordered via your marketing portal. A print and fulfillment partner who’s integrated with your portal means you have easy access to shipping event materials out of inventory. Ask for real-time inventory to prevent running out of materials.

A professional fulfillment company will share the function of monitoring the production and timely delivery of your event materials. The project won’t be burdensome, and your materials will always be ready on time, and look professional.

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Topics: marketing portal event marketing