3 ways to use people marketing to grow your event

It can be very difficult to decide the best way to market your event. We see a lot of different approaches used by event organisers to spend their marketing money and effort. All of them are looking for the same outcome – to sell more tickets, or if its a charity event – raise more funds by selling more tickets.

There are plenty of marketing options available to organisers from print media and radio, to website and social media advertising. And of course different events require different approaches to marketing, since they may be trying to attract very different customers. A fathers day fun run will need to advertise very differently to a cooking exhibition.

There is one common element about all events which can help guide your marketing efforts. People. For the most part people want to participate in events with other people, be that a wellbeing seminar or an obstacle race. Friends invite other friends to come along with them. People create teams of friends and acquaintances, and can even expand their teams to people they don’t know. The strongest marketing mechanic available is word of mouth.

The guiding principle for event organisers is that your best marketing dollars will be spent engaging with people who’ve already engaged with your event. If you don’t already have a target audience you may need to start with awareness marketing like broadcast advertising, e.g. magazine ads, radio spots, email campaigns.

Once people get engaged with your event, then you can resist going broad at the market and start going deep by marketing the people who have signed up. Here’s a few ways to do that:

  1. Make it easy for your existing customers to connect your event with other people – This means having a strong social media presence, which taps into how people are interacting with their social circles today. Give people the social media tools to send that amusing tweet, post onto Facebook, share your video on youtube, add a Snapchat to their story or even just email a website link to their friends. You’ll never get cheaper or more effective marketing than a customer that sells your event for you. NB: you will still need to put regular and ongoing effort into managing and growing your social community for this to pay off.
  2. Drive decision making with pricing that rewards people – tiered pricing, or as its sometimes called “airline pricing”, rewards early adopters with a cheaper ticket. As event day gets closer pricing is set to automatically increase, which helps motivate early adopters to pressure their friends to get in before the price rise, gives you a set time point to market to, and helps conversions of those who have browsed but not purchased. Note again: its important to consider your overall pricing and profitability as part of any tiered pricing structure. All of your price points should still have strong perceived consumer value, and be profitable for your event.
  3. Use promotional mechanics that incentivise group thinking – gift vouchers, promotional codes, family and friends offers, gift with purchase offers. These are all designed to turn a single sale into a multi sale. While I would again suggest you do this with an eye on your overall event profitability, the more value you can offer that excites people to engage their friends the better your chance of them doing so. It’s the most efficient means available for marketing effort to convert to sales.


Despite all the wonderful marketing technology now available to event organisers the core principles have not changed. Word of mouth is the best marketing tool available to you, because people want to share experiences with other people.

Are you making the most of your event marketing?

Please let us know your details and someone from our team will be in touch with you within the next business day.