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Event Marketing – article from Advance Magazine March 2010

In Human Capital Trends, Published articles or white papers on March 17, 2010 at 5:53 pm
 
By Nicole Benkert   Preparing for Your Event – Understanding What to Bring to Your Event  March 17, 2010
Marketing Materials
Providing promotional materials for live and virtual events isn’t all that different, shared Johanna Guldan, Advertising Lead for Genesis Healthcare. Handouts can be converted into PDFs to share in a virtual forum. Virtual events can also be a great way to provide more information to a candidate. “I love the internet as a resource. You can share links to your web site or share a search query immediately.”

For your marketing handouts, brochures are a great way to highlight your facility–focus on what makes you unique. Try to limit photocopies as candidates are less likely to view them later. Again, be sure to include contact information!

Lund-Zeiger shared what she takes with her. When it comes to handouts, there are two she doesn’t go without. “One is a tri-fold recruitment brochure that shows applicants why they would want to work for Crescent Healthcare.  It includes our company vision, mission and values.  The other is a quick reference sheet that shows our locations and contact information.  I also use a third handout sometimes–it lists our open positions.”   

Make sure your hand-outs succinctly illustrate your “why us” points of differentiation, shared Brian Hudson, senior vice president for Avant Healthcare. “Often at events you don’t have time to do a full presentation to a candidate, so be prepared with a brief handout that gives three to five reasons why they should consider you and point them to your web site for more detailed info. Also try to create a call to action, he said. Most activity surrounding an event is completed within the first 48 hours.

The materials you hand out represent your “brand image”. Often companies that proclaim to have an upscale or distinctive culture hand out gifts or have booths that do not reflect their brand. Hudson gave the example of a well-respected company giving away poorly-done items. “It did not reflect the image they wanted to project.”

Finally, Hudson focused on the importance of business cards. Ensure you have ordered enough and that the contact info on the cards is appropriate. For example, if you don’t want people personally calling you–have generic cards made up with only your web site and your jobs hotline. “Give your personal card to only those individuals/candidates that YOU really are serious about recruiting and follow up with them within 24 hours–this shows you are aggressively recruiting them.”

Your Look
For your booth, have a banner or a banner up-stand, with your company name/logo on it. If you’re using a banner, make sure it has grommets so you can hang it. Don’t rely on the ID sign as your identifier either. That white cardboard sign is only there so YOU can find your booth.

While most events provide a skirted table, a branded table cloth can add a polished look. Plus, if you use corporate colors you can really stand out. Booth signs and table clothes are both longer term investments so make sure they are somewhat generic and are truly representative of your facility. If you have the budget, attack the job fair as a full-scale marketing opportunity. Sponsorship gets you prime locations and recognition and helps drive traffic to your booth. Running ads before the event in publications and newspapers lets attendees know that your facility will be there. Ads in the on-site program guide, a glossy booklet that attendees may keep up to 30 days after the event, give you a presence even after the event has concluded. Most places have a discount structure in place, so instead of an a la carte approach you can have a personalized marketing plan drawn up for your facility. Much like your recruitment advertising sales rep, organizers of most events can take your budget and work backward to get you the most exposure for your money.

Giveaways
The most important thing to bring to an event is a positive attitude. Smile, say hello and answer questions from people who stop by your booth. Along with this, bring an envelope, briefcase or tote bag to store resumes. While everybody has lead organizing programs, you are at a face-to-face event. Having a stack of resumes is a concrete way to help calculate the event’s ROI and means you don’t have to rely on applicants remembering your Web site or how to contact you.

Candidates love giveaways and having the right items can attract more candidates to your booth. Rondi Lund-Zeiger, Clinical Recruiter for Crescent Healthcare in Anaheim, Calif., stressed that a giveaway with your contact information on it that ends up in a drawer is no use to you or your applicant. “I look for items that are different from what everyone else gives out.” 

Ashley M. Eckard, Event Coordinator for Genesis HealthCare discussed how they pick their giveaways. “Generally speaking, we try to make all of our giveaways something people will keep and reuse, so the Genesis brand is in front of them all the time.” For instance, she shared, OTs might get branded hand lotions whereas speech language pathologists recently received otoscopes. And to keep things fresh, Genesis tries to refresh these items every year or so.

Pens will always be a popular giveaway. While you may think they are done to death, everyone can use them and everyone wants them. People come looking for them. Other popular items are tote bags–attendees love them, even if the event provides one–and hand sanitizers.

Be sure anything you give away has contact information on it. An 800 number or at least your web address is a must. Be sure it’s as easy as possible for candidates to contact you after the event!

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