Event marketing budgets are tight, and every dollar counts. That’s why it is so important to think through the details of your event’s marketing budget before you lock in those figures. To make sure you’ve accounted for some of the costs that may not be top of mind, here are five areas to consider as you’re working your next budget.

  1. Website – Do you have a dedicated show website? This is often an event’s most important marketing vehicle. All roads lead to the website! You may have budgeted an adequate amount for the site leading up to your event, but what’s your plan for the site during the show? What about after the show? Make sure you’ve planned for, and budgeted, the appropriate funds for the entire life-cycle of your event’s website.
  2. Social Media Advertising—the trend of limiting organic content’s reach isn’t going away, so you’ll need to allocate some budget dollars toward running paid advertising campaigns or boosting/sponsoring specific posts. The good news is, these highly-targeted campaigns are often money well spent allowing you to find new prospects not already on your lists or get the attention of your current prospects on different channels.
  3. Printing Increases – Whether it’s direct mail or a show program, most events have some print components. Unless the quantities and specifications don’t change from year to year, you’ll need to adjust your printing budget to factor in these potential changes. All else being equal, you’ll probably want to allow for a 3-5% increase for increased costs of paper and labor. And, if you’re delivering printed materials to your show, don’t forget those shipping costs!
  4. List Processing – Do you have multiple lists you’ll be using for your email or direct mail campaign – past attendees, members, prospects? You’ll need to do some merging, purging, de-duping, and general list hygiene to boil these down into a single, clean list. This eliminates waste and maximizes deliverability—but there’s a cost associated with this work. If you’re planning on mailing, you’ll want to NCOA/CASS* process your list to get those presort postage discounts from the USPS.
  5. Postage – Once you’ve done the necessary list processing, you need to decide if you’ll be mailing standard presort or first-class presort. If you’re mailing to large lists, there can be a substantial cost difference between the two. In additional to the postage budget, it’ll impact your campaign’s timing—so if you’re going to try to save some money by mailing standard presort, be sure you’ve allowed ample time for your mail to arrive to your target audience (it can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to arrive).

*NCOA (National Change of Address) processing allows your records to be compared to the most up-to-date address verification system available, to help minimize undeliverable mail. CASS™ (Coding Accuracy Support System™) certification is a process the U.S. Postal Service developed for ensuring mailing list addresses are complete and accurate.


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