Stakeholders for any event can be described as those who hold a personal and compelling interest in the success of that event. For an association, stakeholders clearly will include board and committee members, staff, event attendees, and exhibitors. Look even further, however, for other stakeholders who rely on marketing for a successful and well-attended event that will fill their needs and expectations. These will include suppliers (e.g., event facilities, caterers, transportation companies, exhibit designers and decorators, speakers, entertainers, and security companies). And examining even further, local merchants, host-city attractions, labor union personnel, the convention bureau, and the chamber of commerce certainly have a stake in an attendance-rich event.

And how does that happen? It happens through a combination of pertinent programming and creative marketing. The greatest challenge? Understanding the purpose of the event and the organizational goals that have been identified by elected leadership and salaried staff. The greatest opportunity? Translating those priorities and the association's "corporate culture" into creative marketing strategies that will bring association goals to life as the target audience learns why they should buy the tickets and participate. When they do that in large numbers, stakeholders will be pleased, and the marketing professional will be asked to return and repeat that great performance next year!

An illustration of a sampling of association audiences, along with some ideas on the communications messages that should be considered for the marketing strategies, appears in Figure 5-1.

Model for Marketing Communications Strategies

(Audiences and Messages to Be Considered)

''"Stakeholders: Politics, Support, Corporate Culture

New Attendees: Researching Expectations, Creating Awareness, Initiation into Association Purposes

Related Associations: Cross-Promotions, List Sharing, Speaker Exchange

Event: —

Sponsors: Levels of Financial Support, Recognition, Benefits of Sponsorship

Exhibitors: Rules and Regulations, Terms of Booth Assignment, Plans to Increase Traffic

Speakers: Speakers' Information Kit, Profile of Audience, Invitation to Attend All Events

Elected Leadership: Personal Preferences, Individual Recognition, Association Issues

Figure 5.1

Crafting the messages aimed at specific association constituencies will enhance marketing communications. Research into each target market is essential in understanding the needs and major areas of interest inherent among them.

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