Introduction and Project Overview
In order to guarantee that a planned event will attract the public’s attention and generate profits or other types of gains, it is necessary to focus on its promotion. An effective event communication strategy should be used in order to draw the target audience’s attention to such a type of event as an auction to ensure its profitability (Kilkenny 2016). The Majlis Auction that was planned to be organized for more than 45 participants in the Majlis hall at Dubai World Trade Centre can be successful under certain conditions (The Majlis 2018).
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The mission and details of this gathering need to attract the attention of potential sellers and buyers, and for this purpose, they should be effectively communicated to stakeholders. The Majlis Auction is a type of event that is not typical of the context of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and its specifics need to be successfully promoted to create a precedent. The focus is on giving a wide public in Dubai a unique chance to purchase used and new luxurious brand handbags, including Hermès Birkin and Kelly models, Chanel, Dior, and Louis Vuitton bags.
The purpose of this report is to present a detailed communication strategy used for promoting and marketing the Majlis Auction as a unique event in Dubai. It should be stated that this auction is open for a wide public interested in purchasing authentic Hermès, Chanel, Dior, and Louis Vuitton bags. There are no similar events conducted in Dubai, and the significance of the proposed event promotion strategy is in providing a working and efficient plan for marketing this auction now and in the future.
This report includes a discussion of the key activities used for event publicity and promotion in the context of conducting the Majlis Auction. The major objective of the project is the development of a detailed and effective communication strategy for the Majlis Auction as the selected event. All steps related to the project design and realization with the focus on analysis, planning, implementation, and evaluation will be described in the report with reference to the required justification.
Project Scope and Objectives
The Majlis Auction is oriented to attracting about 45 active participants as sellers and buyers of luxurious handbags. These persons represent the target audience of the event, and the selected communication strategy is developed to address their needs and expectations regarding the auction. This project is directed toward describing what tools and methods can be used by an event manager in order to raise the public’s awareness regarding the Majlis Auction. Furthermore, these tools are selected to make the target audience visit the event and actively participate in it.
The project development started with analyzing primary and secondary data related to the event promotion strategies to be used in Dubai. The focus on social media posts and interviews with local stylists, personal shoppers, and retailers indicated not only the demand for authentic Hermès, Chanel, Dior, and Louis Vuitton handbags but also the platforms to use. It was noted that individuals interested in luxurious bags actively visit Facebook pages of these brands, follow them on Instagram, and use Snapchat for discussing fashion news.
Twitter posts are also monitored by persons interested in buying the previously used handbags. In addition, sales reports, marketing reports, and sales statistics related to Hermès, Chanel, Dior, and Louis Vuitton handbags were examined to determine market trends, demand, and prices to use this information while planning the auction.
The secondary data to analyze included professional literature on developing publicity and promotion strategies and available templates and schemes to use. The next stage was the development of an event promotion plan with a focus on digital marketing (Bladen et al., 2017). The steps determined in this plan were realized at the implementation stage and evaluated at the next stage, which is described in detail in this report. The key objectives identified for this event in terms of the communication strategy are the following ones:
- To raise public awareness regarding the Majlis Auction, its mission, and gains for the participants and community.
- To guarantee the discussion of the event within the community by using the most cost-efficient marketing tools.
- To attract 45 and more sellers and potential buyers of luxurious handbags of the selected brands.
- To increase sales of luxurious handbags with reference to an effective event marketing strategy.
Project Approach and Plan
In this section, it is important to describe the methodology of developing the strategy for communicating the event in a community with the focus on the phases to complete. Analysis, planning, implementation, and evaluation are the key general phases to cover in this project. It is important to note that digital marketing is the key approach selected for promoting the Majlis Auction in Dubai. The first stage in the development of an event promotion strategy is the analysis associated with the primary and secondary data to determine the audience to target and the communication channels to choose (Kilkenny 2016).
The topic of the event, its concept, and items to promote were selected depending on the public’s demand and the organizer’s vision. The marketer and the PR manager to join the event management team were selected at this stage.
At the stage of planning, the following details were determined: the target audience to contact, the channels and strategy, the marketing and advertising tools and techniques to use, and the content of promotional messages. This stage is important for developing marketing and advertising plans, creating a list of stakeholders’ contacts, selecting strategies and techniques, and determining the budget available for promotion and advertising (Bladen et al., 2017).
The implementation stage is associated with using the selected techniques, contacting marketers, developing and spreading press releases, posting the information about the event, sending e-mails to guests, and focusing on social media promotion. It is also necessary to focus on monitoring stakeholders’ feedback and the spread of information about the event within a community. The evaluation stage includes the review and analysis of the project outcomes with the focus on the effectiveness of the event in order to determine how the selected communication strategy could influence its success.
The first stage in developing the promotion strategy for the Majlis Auction in Dubai is the analysis associated with conducting the market audit and examination with the focus on the market assumptions and trends. The analysis of primary sources includes:
- the work with social media posts;
- interviews with local stylists, personal shoppers, and retailers;
- the analysis of market reports and trends;
- the work with sales reports and statistics regarding retailing Hermès, Chanel, Dior, and Louis Vuitton handbags in the United Arab Emirates.
At this stage, market research is important in order to decrease risks for conducting an unsuccessful event because of the lack of stakeholders’ interest in it. The analysis of secondary sources involves the work with case studies on conducting similar auctions in the past (Bladen et al., 2017; Kilkenny 2016). The next steps are the selection of the marketer and the PR manager, as well as setting preliminary goals for marketing the event. These choices are made depending on the analysis of market trends and the public’s expectations regarding the event of the selected type (an auction). These steps are reflected in Figure 1.
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The planning stage in developing the event communication strategy is based on realizing the following steps:
- goal setting associated with formulating the mission and objectives of the project;
- the development of the marketing strategy with the focus on pre-event marketing, marketing during the event, and post-event marketing;
- the development of an advertising plan;
- the selection of communication channels to use;
- the development of the budget.
The details regarding these steps are presented in Figure 1. The objectives of the communication strategy are presented earlier in this report. They are associated with the following mission: to inform the stakeholders regarding possibilities to receive a unique and memorable lifestyle experience of buying luxurious, authentic handbags in Dubai. This mission is formulated with reference to the market and audience analysis. As a result, the target audience to contact during the market strategy was determined: 20-65-year-old women belonging to the middle and upper social classes and their husbands, boyfriends, or male relatives.
It is important to note that these women are interested in fashion, they follow the latest fashion trends, and they have specific personal motives to attend the Majlis Auction. Although these women have the financial resources to purchase authentic Hermès, Chanel, Dior, and Louis Vuitton handbags, their opportunities are restricted because of brand policies regarding selling limited collections of bags. In addition, the marketing and advertising tools and techniques are also selected at the planning stage. The content of promotional messages is discussed at the first meetings conducted by the event manager. The final step at this stage is the development of a detailed action plan.
Figure 2 presents the event marketing timeline developed for this project. It is important to state that the promotion company for the Majlis Auction started four weeks before the actual event date. It was planned to realize pre-event marketing during four weeks (phase one). Thus, phase one is associated with informing the audience about the event as the first auction of this type in Dubai. It is also connected with marketing the event with the focus on the sponsor (the Dubai Mall) (The Dubai Mall 2018). The second phase is the promotion during the week when the event is conducted. Post-event marketing is associated with the third phase of the project. The details regarding the steps in the marketing campaign will be discussed in the following sections of the report.
Project Deliverables and Solutions
Project Implementation: Addressing the Tasks and Problems
The four-week pre-event marketing is based on realizing actions in the following areas: local marketing, public relations, content marketing, social media, and digital marketing. Web advertisements oriented to local personal shoppers and potential sellers and buyers were spread with the help of Google resources in order to cover the determined target audience. Web banners placed on local retailing websites were used. Banners included the images of the Majlis hall at the Dubai World Trade Centre and luxurious handbags with the text inviting the public to join the auction. The first press release was published on the website of the Dubai World Trade Centre four weeks before the event (The Dubai World Centre 2018).
The second press release reported the results of the event, informing the audience about similar auctions in the future. It was published online on Week 6 (The Dubai World Centre 2018). The content of the press releases was created in cooperation with the PR teams of the Dubai World Trade Centre and the Dubai Mall as the sponsor of the Majlis Auction.
Advertisements regarding the Majlis Auction were also spread by the Dubai Mall PR team as the key sponsor of the event (the audio format and posters). Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat were used for spreading advertisements in social media with the orientation to the target audience. On Week 2 and Week 4, there were no posts on Instagram to raise the public’s interest in the event, referring to Week 3 and Week 5 updates.
In Twitter and Snapchat, the focus was on providing information about the date and place of the event, its goals, ticket prices, rules of participating, and contact information. Thus, it is important to inform the audience about the product, place, and price in order to stimulate their interest in the event (Bladen et al., 2017; Kilkenny, 2016). It is necessary to state that Facebook and Instagram posts included motivational texts supported by the sponsor, as well as the images of luxurious handbags.
In addition, E-mail newsletters and invitations were sent to potential sellers and buyers during Week 1. This audience was determined with the help of the preliminary analysis of social media posts and conclusions made regarding the public’s demand. The other group of potential sellers and buyers reacted to the advertisements, and they were contacted directly by phone. E-mails with details about the event were sent to all guests on Monday, Week 5, according to the event marketing timeline.
The sponsor (the Dubai Mall) was contacted during Week 1, and all details regarding the content of textual messages were discussed with its PR team. It was agreed to provide guests of the Majlis Auction with discount cards to make purchases in boutiques selling luxurious Hermès and Louis Vuitton handbags. Discounts for buying the bags of other famous brands that have their stores in the Dubai Mall were also provided (The Dubai Mall 2018).
Tickets for the event were distributed using the online form, the link to which was sent in e-mails. Post-event marketing was associated with publishing the second press release and reporting the results of the auction with the focus on the number of bags sold and revenues in social media. It is important to note that the goal of post-event marketing is to attract the audience to participate in other similar auctions that are planned by the event manager.
The evaluation of the effectiveness of the proposed communication strategy for the Majlis Auction depends on the assessment of participants’ responses to advertisements, actual sales, guests’ feedback, and their readiness to participate in similar events. To evaluate the marketing and advertising plan, the guests were provided with questionnaires that were sent via e-mail on Week 6 (phase three).
They were asked to assess the effectiveness of the advertising campaign and their motivational role in making sellers and buyers contact the event management team. Stakeholders were also asked to discuss their readiness to participate in similar auctions in the future in order to assess the efficacy of the used communication approach. One should state that the event manager also evaluated the project outcomes in terms of attracting the required number of persons and achieving the projected revenues.
Human resources that were involved in developing and implementing the communication strategy for the Majlis Auction included the event management team with the focus on marketers and PR managers. The human capital also included the Dubai World Trade Centre PR managers and the PR team of the Dubai Mall as a sponsor (The Dubai Mall 2018; The Dubai World Centre 2018). Financial resources required for realizing the marketing and advertising plan are presented in Table 1. The effective management of advertisements in social media with the focus on the adjusted schedule for placing ads allowed for reducing potential costs, and minimal advertising costs per guest was determined.
Table 1: The Budget.
|CATEGORY||PROJECTED SUBTOTAL||ACTUAL SUBTOTAL|
|Public Relations and Social Media|
|Announcements and Advertising (Web Ads)||5,000 AED||5,000 AED|
|Press Releases||5,000 AED||4,000 AED|
|1,000 AED||500 AED|
|500 AED||500 AED|
|500 AED||500 AED|
|Snapchat||1,000 AED||500 AED|
|SUBTOTALS||13,000 AED||11,000 AED|
Project Evaluation and Lessons Learnt
The assessment of the communication strategy used for promoting the event is realized during the evaluation stage with reference to guests’, sponsors,’ and event managers’ comments. The proposed event marketing strategy can be viewed as appropriate for conducting auctions for a comparably low number of participants (Bladen et al., 2017; Kilkenny, 2016). Those potential sellers and buyers who were contacted with the help of target e-mails and phone calls chose to participate in the event.
Still, an additional examination is required in order to determine what channel contributed more to attracting stakeholders in terms of stimulating them to visit the Majlis Auction. Much attention should be paid to evaluating the role of digital marketing in drawing the attention of the audience aged 50 years old and over.
The development of the communication strategy for the Majlis Auction allowed for learning several important lessons in event marketing. Much attention should be paid to selecting the most effective marketing and advertising tools depending on the target audience. The success is based on identifying the key features of this audience and the major information channels they use. Thus, the effectiveness of advertising through social media pages, press releases, brochures, promotional materials, web ads, and e-mails can be different depending on the type of event and its stakeholders.
Project Limitations and Challenges
In the proposed communication strategy, the major limitations are the absence of brochures to be used for advertising the event and the focus on only one sponsor. One should note that, for this event involving 45-55 participants, the reference to mainly digital marketing and the focus on one sponsor can be appropriate. However, while planning the organization of similar auctions in the United Arab Emirates in the future, it is necessary to use more channels for spreading the information. Moreover, it is required to focus on attracting more sponsors in order to increase the media coverage and budget of the event. It is important to state that if a marketing strategy is chosen ineffectively, there are risks of increasing the budget required for promoting the event.
In order to overcome the determined limitations of the communication strategy developed in the context of the project, it is necessary to focus on the following steps:
- More attention should be paid to analyzing the market and target audience in order to propose the most relevant advertising strategies to address this public.
- It is important to select as many appropriate channels for disseminating the information about the event as possible in the context of the allocated budget.
- It is effective to attract as many sponsors as possible to support the event in order to contribute to its coverage and budget. This approach will allow for choosing the most appropriate sponsor for the beneficial cooperation between the event management team and other stakeholders.
The communication strategy for such a unique event as the Majlis Auction held in the Majlis hall at Dubai World Trade Centre has been described in this report in detail. The purpose of realizing the communication strategy was to raise the public’s awareness regarding the event and promote it within the community in order to attract the target audience and increase its profitability. This project is important to be conducted because it provides a detailed description of all stages to follow when implementing the event promotion strategy in the context of Dubai.
It is important to state that this report has provided a detailed and comprehensive overview of the project design, phases, solutions, limitations, and recommendations. It is proposed to use a specific communication strategy for the Majlis Auction that is mainly based on tools that are available in digital marketing, including web ads and social media. This choice is based on the careful analysis of available data on conducting auctions in the region, as well as on the market research.
Planning and implementation stages have also been described in much detail in this report to discuss all steps of the project. The effectiveness of the choice of these steps is assessed and analyzed with reference to the evaluation stage in the process of implementing the current project. It is also important to note that the determined limitations are proposed to be addressed with reference to the recommendations that are listed in one of the final sections of this report.
I would like to express my gratitude to the supervisor guiding me during the work on this project for the continuous and useful support. The knowledge received during the development of the communication strategy for the proposed event was extremely important for organizing my work on this project. As a result, I should state that I am grateful for providing the required support in order to give me an opportunity to achieve the set goals.
Bladen, C, Kennell, J, Abson, E & Wilde, N 2017, Events management: an introduction, 2nd edn, Routledge, New York.
The Dubai Mall 2018. Web.
The Dubai World Centre 2018. Web.
Kilkenny, S 2016, The complete guide to successful event planning, 3rd edn, Atlantic Publishing Company, San Francisco.
The Majlis 2018. Web.