Every event is unique and has it’s own offering, but uniqueness alone isn’t enough to “eliminate” competition. With a plethora of events for attendees to choose from, you may have more competition than you realize. Today I’m going to be focusing on what makes your event “not unique”. This article will help you understand who your competition really is, the importance of planning with your competition in mind, and how to combat some outside factors you didn't even know you were competing with.
Let’s start with an analogy from the business world. In the book Zero to One by Peter Thiel, Thiel gives the analogy of someone wanting to open a British food restaurant. The person says to himself “Oh, a British food restaurant! No one else is doing that, so my restaurant will stand out! I’ll have no competition”. However, this way of thinking can get you into a lot of trouble. Yes, your business (in this case restaurant) does have a unique offering, but your competition isn’t just other restaurants that serve British food. In reality, you’re competing with all other restaurants in the area for patronage. Understanding your competition is critical to the success of your business.
Now take this analogy and convert it over into the event space. Sure, you may have a super-cool-festival-of-fun with really unique experiences and awesome things to do. You may look at the event date and say to yourself “Wow! No one else is doing a super-cool-festival-of-fun on that same weekend! There won’t be anyone competing with me!”. Stop there, take a breath, and give yourself a quick reality check. You’re not just competing with events like yours. You’re competing with all events in the same area. Attendees don’t just go to one type of event. Most attendees will go to everything from festivals to plays to concerts to bar crawls and beyond. Take great care when planning your event to check and see what else is going on in that area - even in the weeks surrounding your event date. If there is a similar event a week or two before/after yours, your potential attendees may choose to spend their money on your competition instead. All other events in the area should be looked at as competition.
Keep in mind that holidays and other dates that have heavy travel times may also affect your event. This seems like somewhat of a no brainer, but I’ve worked with many event makers that accidentally plan their event date over a holiday weekend and it drastically affects attendance. You should look at these dates as competition as well. Holidays are often spent with family and often times your attendees will travel out of your area. Make sure to be aware of holidays and heavy travel dates when planning your event. If your attendees are busy with their families or out of town, this could impact your attendance. If your event must be scheduled during one of these times, you can always spin your event and marketing efforts to focus on “family holiday fun”. You never know, your event may become a new family tradition!
Let’s talk about one last thing that competes with your event: SCREENS. A recent study reported that the average adult American spends over 10 hours a day in front of a screen. These artificial experiences can get in the way of live experiences. It can be hard to convince someone who spends so much time in front of a screen to get outside and experience life. That is why it is important to capitalize on the uniqueness of your event while marketing. At SpinGo, we applaud you event makers for helping us to fight this epidemic of faux experiences through a screen. We encourage you to keep creating events and live experiences to help your attendees find that human connection that we are all searching for.
Once you are able to understand who your competition really is, you can understand how to better plan and execute your event. It may seem overwhelming. However, you have the power to innovate and optimize your event to create success.
Here are a few things we specifically suggest to help you combat your competition:
Pick your event date carefully - Watch for other popular events in the weeks and days surrounding your potential event date.
Promote - If you don’t tell people about your event, no one will know to attend.
Optimize your website - We’re talking Search Engine Optimization and a great user experience.
Gamify your event - if you can’t beat the screens, integrate them into your event.
Watch holidays and travel times - Avoid scheduling your event date around these times. If your event is specific to a holiday (ie. 4th of July celebration), be sure to highlight why someone would want to come celebrate that day at your event.
Find your unique offering - Spin your advertising to highlight what makes your event stand out.