Meetings marketing tends to preach to the choir, which I suppose it how it should be. You know who they are, what they want, and how to get them fired up so that they hopefully will bring along a few friends and colleagues. But check out this story on FC Experts, by Chip Conley, about an event his Joie de Vivre Hotels held to celebrate its 20th anniversary:
we invited 10,000 people (I'm assuming mostly women) from the state of California with the name “Joy” to a JOY PARTY at our luxurious Hotel Vitale on San Francisco’s waterfront. Our company has spent 20 years understanding the significance and responsibility of having a name associated with such a positive emotion so we thought it would be provocative to invite these women together to share their experience of living with this name their whole life. Excuse the pun, but we ended up with a roomful of joy (or Joys) -- 125 women sharing the name with dozens and dozens of husbands, significant others, friends, children and even a few media there to capture the occasion. What was miraculous was how these strangers bonded in their storytelling so quickly. As if they were long-lost friends.
While I think it could be dangerous to allocate the majority of your marketing funds to a missionary event like this, I also believe that the word-of-mouth (which has been huge for our JOY PARTY) and internal and external goodwill that comes from this kind of marketing proves that being a "karmic capitalist" pays off in the long-run. Doing good can mean your company will do well. The next time you're thinking about how to make a splash with your promotions, think about making a difference in someone's life in a profound way that will serve as a peak experience for them.
Think about it: Is there some way to hitch some deeper meaning to what your organization does, and create an event for strangers around it that could do for your meeting what this event did for Joie de Vivre.