In order to properly understand your current position and how you arrived at it, you need to know three things:
- Your current internal marketing activity, use of resources, and effectiveness
- Your external environment and competitors
- Market segmentation
- Programming – what is the programming policy? What events, exhibitions are put on? What is the public’s perception? Where are the events held? What is the product proposition?
- Attendance levels – how many people are coming to events?
- Income – what are the trends in terms of ticketing income, other earned income, grants and sponsorship
- Pricing policies and data – minimum and maximum prices charged, concessions offered, policies (e.g. to maximise income or make the work accessible by offering low prices)
- Booking and selling facilities – box office opening hours, channels available to the public
- Ticket sales – how many tickets sold, average tickets per event
- Marketing resources – number of staff, budget and additional help available
- Marketing activity and approaches – what marketing tools and techniques have been used? Is there evidence of how effective these approaches have been?
- Customer data – what data does the organisation hold on customers and what does it use?
An external analysis considers factors outside of your own group/organisation that are beyond your direct control.
You can start by using a PEST analysis (Political, Economic, Social, and Technological) of your competitors. PEST analysis is used to draw up a checklist of factors and trends that are thought likely to have a big impact (either positive or negative) on the implementation of a strategy and thus the achievement of that strategy’s desired results.
Throughout, you should also consider the likely implications of each factor, whichever PEST category it belongs to.
Your market is your potential audience. As a student/club/society, you are likely to have limited resources so you will need to be very clear about who your target audience/market is. This may be defined in your mission or your business/marketing objectives.
In order to effectively target your audience and communicate with them, you will want to undertake customer segmentation. Segmentation is the act of splitting your potential audience into manageable groups. It helps in the following ways:
- Makes the world more manageable
- More cost-effective
- Can be monitored
- Helps strategic thinking
- Means you can speak to your target group:
- in the right way
- at the right time
- about the right things
- tailoring the message to fit the audience
You can segment in a number of different ways, but you can start by considering these factors:
- Information gathered from questionnaires
- Information on your mailing list
- Information held by partner groups
- Use your own instinct and knowledge
In order to help inform your marketing approach and give you a good understanding of your current situation, event planners will often also undertake a SWOT Analysis. Depending on your situation, you may choose to write this down and/or do the analysis as a team, or perhaps talk through each area in turn, but it’s worth considering how they may affect your event. A SWOT analysis considers these four areas:
Strengths – These are the positive, internal things over which the team has control
Weaknesses – These are the negative, internal things over which the team has control
Opportunities – These are the positive, external things over which the team does not have control (but may be able to take advantage of)
Threats – These are the negative, external things over which the team does not have control (but may be able to plan for or neutralise)
Once you’ve considered these four areas, you can then consider:
- How your team can use its strengths to make the most of opportunities
- How your team can turn weaknesses and threats into strengths and opportunities – or at least how they can be neutralised