For the final assignment in MMC5006 – Introduction to Multimedia Communications, I have been asked to outline an Integrated Marketing Communications plan for the Florida Kids and Family Expo, taking place in Orlando, Florida on the 29th and 30th of August 2015. Please note that even though the companies and event discussed in this post are real, this is for academic purposes only.
The Florida Kids and Family Expo (FK&FE) is an event being hosted by My Central Florida Family (MCFF), at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida on the 29th and 30th of August 2015. MCFF is the brainchild of three Floridian ladies (and mothers), who envisioned a centralized electronic resource of information about events, specials and opportunities for both children and parents. Their mission is to make the lives and the important decisions that families face every day a little bit easier. One way that they envision achieving this goal is by bringing together local and national businesses with children and families that live and work in the central Florida area. The Expo is seen as the next natural step in bringing these groups together to share a day of fun and information, and provide them the opportunity to interact with a variety of products, resources, and services.
The aim of the following post is to provide an outline and analysis of the Florida Kids and Family Expo brand, and provide guidance and advice on future marketing initiatives and how they can be integrated into one holistic and cohesive communications program.
Event Theme. Play, Learn and Make Memories.
Event Messages. The expo will be:
1. An opportunity to get ideas and savings on activities for families in the Central Florida/Greater Orlando area;
2. An opportunity to meet companies that provide products and services to families in the Central Florida/Greater Orlando area; and
3. An opportunity for some good family fun, information you can use, and entertainment for all ages.
Visual Branding. The solid visual branding used links the strength of the MCFF webpage to the event. The look and feel provided by the choice of colors, pictures, fonts and graphic come together in a simple manner that resonates with the vision and theme outlined above. These elements are present and well used throughout the vast majority of channels employed.
Expertise and Passion. It becomes obvious very quickly that there is a strong passionate team behind both the company and the expo. The published biographies highlight how these three ladies have come together with a vision that all families can relate to. They each have a skill set and area of expertise that complements the overarching aim and mission of the brand. These ladies are accessible, everyday people and mothers, who truly care. They put a face to this enterprise that many people can relate to. They should not be afraid to put themselves in front of the camera, as they are representative of the type of market audience they are speaking to.
Event Sponsorship. A wide variety of sponsors, both big brands and local companies, have been secured in support of this event. It is incredibly important to note that they all have a common theme of being family friendly. In addition, the acquisition of media sponsorship, especially the right media, is incredibly important as will be discussed later. The support of these sponsors reinforces the high level of authority surrounding the expo.
Event Location. The choice of a facility like the Orange County Conference Centre, provides an incredibly modern venue with up-to-date conveniences, such as expanded WIFI, digital advertising boards, and event/conference mapping. As with the event sponsors, the authority of the event location, in turn gives increased credibility to the event.
Media Sponsors. The use of media sponsors to publicise your event is excellent. They understand the importance of branding, and the important relationship that exists between your brand and theirs. This is why the choice of family friendly radio and television stations, as well as publications is incredibly important. In addition, this is a great opportunity to be able to use their media channels to publicize the expo. This will be discussed in greater detail later in this document.
Event Location Support. The Orange County Convention Center wants your event to be a success as much as you do. So it will be important to take advantage of all of the marketing and publicity resources that they have available. This could include publicizing the FK&FE during their other events using their digital signboards or in their printed media. Speaking to their staff about what other successful trade-shows have done for marketing initiatives may also provide novel ideas that you had not thought about.
Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) Plan
In preparation for the FK&FE the MCFF team have initiated numerous marketing and publicity activities. When you have many moving pieces as well as the large size and scale of event like this expo, all of your marketing and communications pieces need to work together. This is where IMC comes in, it serves to focus your marketing and communications activities into one cohesive or holistic effort.
Each initiative needs to be viewed as another piece of the IMC structure not a lone piece on its own. With regards to the FK&FE they have a Target Audience that even though quite geographically centralized to the Greater Orlando area, is quite diverse especially in the manner in which it communicates and makes decisions. So having several channels, with similar branding and common messaging will assist in reaching a larger audience.
This really comes back to the basics of your Theme and your Messages. They must remain constant throughout. In addition, taking advantage of branding that has already been well established, such is the case for MCFF. The color choice, pictures and symbols need to have a solid look and feel that should carry throughout the campaign. One way to organize the marketing and communications activities for the expo is to divide them up into three categories: Pre-Event, Event, and Post-Event. Even though the Theme and Messages remain fairly constant each of the three-phases has a different objective and activities must be tailored to the objective. In the case of the FK&FE they are as follows:
Pre-Event Objective – Generate hype and excitement about the upcoming event
Event Objective – Generate hype and excitement at the event
Post-Event Objective – Generate hype and excitement about the next event.
In all cases an IMC plan or strategy must be seen as a cycle. In this case it is how do we improve the marketing and communications that we initiated during the 2015 Expo for the 2016. In other cases it is about how we can retool or reinforce our present initiatives to better market our product or service. This is where Analytics come in to play. In order to figure out if your marketing initiatives are working there is a requirement to establish metrics. For the expo, the most important metric is fairly simple – how many people attended the event? That may tell you whether your marketing and communications initiatives were successful or not, but it does not tell you which channels worked and which did not. Measuring this becomes more challenging, but not impossible. Some examples of how you might measure the effectiveness of these channels are as follows:
-Use Email, Social and Website Analytics to measure the traffic and use of these means.
-How did people buy their tickets? Online, In Person. This could tell you how people learned about the event.
-If you were conducting contests, how many participants did that channel receive?
-My Personal Favorite. Give everyone who attends a ballot for a door prize, and in addition to asking for their contact information, including email to build your email database for next years event, you ask them to check the box on how they heard about the event.
The Florida Kids and Family Expo is an incredibly exciting event, and it is apparent that all of the hard-work that these talented ladies have put into this event will pay off. Even though the expo is an incredibly large undertaking, the key to a successful Integrated Marketing Communications plan is to keep it simple. By always coming back to the Theme and Key messages of the event as the foundation you can not go wrong. And if a marketing initiative that is being proposed is not in-line with that foundation, does not represent the Brand, or does not integrate with your other communications activities, it is simple – Do Not Do It.