How to Plan an Event on a Budget

How to Plan an Event on a Budget

The idea that a great party has to cost a lot of money is simply false! Don’t let a tight budget keep you from hosting an excellent event this year. There are tons of ways to execute the perfect event while sticking within your budget. In the event-planning industry, we’re always discovering tricks to make our parties look like a million bucks, without actually needing to spend it. Check out some of our favorite tips to throw a bash on a budget!

Plan Ahead

Planning your event far in advance will help you stick within your budget and avoid impulse buys and unnecessary expenses. Start by determining a budget you feel comfortable with. Then begin to create a roadmap for your event. Write a list of the different areas you’ll need to allocate your budget towards – such as food, liquor, décor, and invitations. Determine areas that might deserve an extra investment, such as food. Compare prices at multiple stores and websites to find the best deals. With a little planning and time you can often find products online for a fraction of the price you might pay in a local party store.

Pick a Theme

Now that you’ve allocated your expenses, you can let the planning begin! Start by creating a theme. Picking a theme is an inexpensive and simple way to bring fun and life to your next event. The right theme will add virtually nothing to your expenses. Choose a theme that guests can participate in such as a crazy hat party, or a masquerade party. You can also try a more subtle theme by drawing inspiration from a specific color or flavor and incorporating it throughout your event. A theme will give your party flair without adding to your budget.

Drink Up

Ask guests to bring their favorite wine or beer and provide them with one or two signature cocktails rather than a full bar. Signature drinks are inexpensive and easy and can be made in bulk prior to the party. Serve in pitchers or punch bowls and allow guests to help themselves. For a fun twist, tie your cocktail recipes in with your theme. If you’re throwing a valentine’s day party, find a red colored cocktail and label it, “love potion”. Or for an 80’s party, serve a popular drink from that era.

Chow Down

Save tons of money on food cost by skipping the sit down dinner and throwing an extended cocktail party with simple hors d’oeuvres. A great hors d’oeuvres menu doesn’t mean that each recipe has to be time-consuming or difficult. Your menu can consist of five simple hors d’oeuvres. Be creative! Almost any dish can be turned into party fare. Try serving your favorite soup in shot glasses, or your famous macaroni and cheese in bite sized portions.

Set the Mood

Simple modifications to music and lighting cost little to nothing and can change the atmosphere entirely. With the right touches you’ll be able to get your guests in the party mood. Avoid bright over-head lights, which are often unflattering, and stick to floor and table lamps. Put clusters of candles together and decorate candle holders with bright or patterned papers that match your theme. For music, create a unique playlist on your ipod or take advantage of programs like Pandora which will provide excellent mixes at no cost. Always be sure to check that your stereo and speakers are in working order before the party begins.

Try these tips out the next time you’re planning on a budget! And keep in mind that no matter the size of your budget, the best elements of a successful party are good company, laughter, fun, and memories – all of which are free!

Content Marketing

The art of marketing is constantly evolving. The year of 2012 has brands moving away from traditional print advertising and “shout marketing” and leaning towards content marketing and visual story-telling. It’s no longer about shoving information at consumers. Instead, brands are developing content to pull their audiences to them in hopes to build an interactive relationship with them.

Social media platforms with an emphasis on images – such as Pinterest, Instagram, and Tumblr – are becoming popular with many brands and proving that visual content can make a strong impact on business results.

Here’s an outline of a few of the most popular image-based platforms that have recently emerged and how brands can use them:




Pinterest is a visual pin board that allows users to organize and share images and ideas they find on the web. Pinterest has recently exploded in popularity and it’s unique monthly visitors now tops 11 million, making it the fastest standalone website to surpass the 10 million mark. So, should your brand be using Pinterest? If you are a B2C company whose target audience is women, Pinterest might be right for you. Check out this info-graphic to help you determine whether or not to use Pinterest for your brand:






Think of Tumblr as a cross between Twitter and WordPress. A micro-blogging platform and social network, users can quickly share snippets of information like text, images, videos, links, quotes and audio. Unlike traditional blogging where posts are usually long and wordy – Tumblr is simple, free-form, and visual.

For brands, Tumblr might be an excellent tool to communicate with your audience. Use it to highlight news articles by linking to online coverage; Share multimedia like logos, pictures, graphics, and info-graphics; Or create an event blog for a grand opening, product launch, community event, etc.



Instagram is described as, “a fast, beautiful and fun way to share your photos with friends and family.

Snap a picture, choose a filter to transform its look and feel, then post to Instagram. Share to Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr too – It’s photo sharing, reinvented.”

Instagram is not overly promotional, but its a great way to spread awareness and cultivate relationships with your audience.

“Think about the artsy ways you could showcase your work, your staff or your customers with this tool,” writes John Jantsch

Starbucks, Red Bull, General Electric, and Marc Jacobs are among some of the brands that are using Instagram for great marketing.



Lessons Learned: Outrageous Advertising To Avoid

Lessons Learned: Outrageous Advertising To Avoid

When it comes to marketing, nothing is off limits. From traditional advertisements to outrageous marketing stunts, companies can use any number of tactics to gain attention. But when marketers go for an offbeat approach, they straddle a very fine line between marketing success and a marketing bust. When a crazy marketing stunt goes well, it can result in millions of dollars worth of free advertising. But when it goes wrong, it usually results in lost jobs, lawsuits, and extreme amounts of embarrassment.

There are quite a few incidents of a carefully planned marketing scheme ending in disaster. Here are 3 of the most memorable:

The Chicago White Sox and the “Disco Demolition Night.”

In 1979, White Sox fans were asked to bring in vinyl disco records in exchange for 98 cent admission to a double-header. Fans were informed that the records would be collected and blown up in between games. Management expected to bring an additional 5,000 spectators. On the day of the game, 75,000 showed up. The stadium quickly reached capacity and many fans resorted to scaling walls and fences when they were turned away. After the first game,  a box of records was detonated with a bomb. Immediately after, spectators began to riot onto the field, ripping up the bases, destroying the batting cages, and sending the players fleeing. The Sox forfeited the second game and riot police had to come and disperse the crowd.

The Boston Bomb Scare:

In January 2007, Cartoon Network attempted to create a guerilla marketing promotion for Aqua Teen Hunger Force. They created many backpack-sized devices with wires on the back and lights on the front, displaying a moving image. The devices were placed in various spots throughout Boston, as well as other large US Cities. Unfortunately, many people assumed the devices were bombs. The incident caused a War of the Worlds-sized panic, sending the Boston Police’s bomb squad out on full alert. Boat traffic was blocked from Boston Harbor, and the Pentagon had the US Northern Command in Colorado Springs monitoring the threat. CNN quoted Congressman Ed Markey as saying, “It would be hard to dream up a more appalling publicity stunt.” He added, “Whoever thought this up needs to find another job.”

Snapple’s Giant Meltdown:

In 2005, Snapple set out to create the world’s largest frozen juice pop in New York City. The 117.5-ton monstrosity melted too quickly, spilling out of the back of a trailer and flooding streets around Union Square Park with a tidal wave of strawberry-kiwi flavored goop. Citizens were sent running for higher ground. There were a few minor injuries, which exposed the company to potential lawsuits, and while the story created a lot of press, it was almost all bad. MSNBC summed up the story as a “Disaster on a Stick” and said that the scene was “straight out of a disaster film — but much stickier.”

These are just a few of the most infamous disastrous marketing schemes to date. Very recently, we’ve seen a couple of marketing efforts that are surely to make their way to the list.

Mad Men’s March 2012 Return:

The hit television show recently returned for it’s fifth season. Amongst their promotional efforts was a billboard campaign  throughout NYC; it caused quite a bit of controversy. Intentionally or not, their ads depicting that of a main character also had a striking resemblance to one of the “most harrowing news photographs ever taken: that of the “falling man” plunging to his death from the World Trade Center on 9/11” says Doug Hill of Forbes. While many labeled the campaign as insensitive, “Mad Men” creators insist the comparison is nothing more than a coincidence, saying that “the image of Don Draper tumbling through space has been used since the show began in 2007 to represent a man whose life is in turmoil.”

The Black & Bleu Burger:

A steakhouse in Georgia came under fire from locals after it promoted its new ‘black and bleu’ sandwich as being inspired by Chris Brown’s vicious attack on his former girlfriend, Rihanna.

The owners of the Chops & Hops restaurant in Watkinsville took to the steakhouse’s Facebook page to mock the 2009 assault with a bad-taste joke about domestic violence. The post featured a picture of the blue cheese-smothered steak sandwich on the social networking site, along with the caption: ‘@chrisbrown, @rihanna and us teamed up for a (sic) award winning celebrity sandwich. Put your hands on this Caribbean black and bleu sandwich. ‘Chris Brown won’t beat you up for eating this unless your name starts with a R and ends with A.’

Diners reacted furiously to the post, criticising the chophouse for making light of domestic violence in its reference to the attack, which rocked the 2009 Grammy evening. …Read more here.

Outrage: The Chops & Hops restaurant came under fire from diners after it posted a picture of its new 'black & bleu' burger on Facebook, with a bad-taste reference to Chris Brown's assault on Rihanna in 2009

Have you seen any other crazy or outrageous marketing tactics used recently? Share in the comments below.

Image Marketing Consultants named in Hartford Business Journal’s list of top 25 Advertising and PR firms in Hartford County

We are proud to announce that Image Marketing Consultants has made the Hartford Business Journal’s top 25 List of Advertising and Public Relations firms in Hartford County this year.

Since being recognized in the top 25, the IMC team has been featured in articles from the Redding Patch, the Suffield Patch, the Southington Patch, and the Record Journal.

If you weren’t able to check out the articles, you can read a quick recap of them below!

The Southington Patch:

The Southington Patch was thrilled to see that Kate, a Southington resident, is finding success in her business endeavors.

The article pointed out that, “when Barack Obama was getting ready to run for President of the United States, Kate Terricciano Sirignano had recently graduated from college.” Just a few years later, “as Obama embarked on his reelection campaign, Terricciano Sirignano is celebrating her agency’s inclusion in the Hartford Business Journal’s list of top 25 advertising and public relations agencies in the Hartford County.”

IMC has grown rapidly and decisively thanks to its founder’s focus and energy and as Kate says, “We may lack years of history, but we more than make up for it in confidence, enthusiasm, and our independent spirit.

Check out the full article here.


The Suffield Patch

Tim, a Suffield Native, was featured in an article by the Suffield Patch. The article recognized him with helping Image Marketing land a spot in the Top 25 list. Tim joined IMC in early 2011 and was one of the first hires made by owner Kate Terricciano Sirignano after years of operating IMC as a solo venture.

Read the rest of the article here.


The Redding Patch


Amanda was also featured recently in an article from her home town of Redding, CT. The Redding   Patch recognized her as an essential component of the growth of Image Marketing Consultants. Amanda graduated from Central Connecticut State University with a degree in Communications and joined the IMC team in 2011.


Read more here.


The Record Journal


The Record Journal interviewed Kate recently for an article featured this past week. They recognized Kate’s success in making the Business Journal’s Top 25 List, saying “Sirignano said she was thrilled to be on the list with agencies that have been around since the 1950s and 1960s. Sirignano’s business was one of the newest to be recognized. In five years, Sirignano and her employees have established their clientele and usually work with companies worth $10 million to $100 million.”

“Sirignano said her business is here to stay and she doesn’t see anything changing.”

Read the full article from the Record Journal here.

*Photo credit: Dave Zajac of The Record Journal.


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