Creating emotional connections is one of the hardest things to achieve in marketing, that is why conducting thorough research about your target consumer’s day to day journey, can be very helpful with finding the points that will spark lasting brand experiences. Live events can be a great way to achieve real connections.
So your event is scheduled, and it’s time to start thinking about ways to market it. Any event in today’s offline and online world has a lot of possible touch points, so where do you start? PGt has been managing experiential events for years in dozens of countries. Here is a list of marketing strategies that a brand should think about when deciding to choose a creative events agency to partner with.
• Marketing before the event – planning and promoting
• During the event – keeping the message consistent
• Post event marketing – getting people to remember
Once the client has confirmed the budget for the event, and the contract is signed now you, the agency is responsible for marketing the event to generate awareness, drive attendance and ultimately engagement. Proper planning is essential to make sure that all of the marketing channels are maximized.
Pre-event marketing can be a daunting task at times, there are so many moving parts that are involved in running a successful event campaign including hiring vendors, choosing the venue, entertainment, design, decor, fabrications and more. You need to be able to define specific objectives and goals that are measurable. A good start to your marketing strategy involves meeting with your team and addressing the following: what actions do I want the event attendees to take? Do we want the attendees to learn, network, interact with products or services?
The answers should shape the overall design and execution of the event. The campaign will include pre-event marketing strategies. You may need figure out how you want the attendees to engage, and then design your marketing efforts to encourage these interactions. Sharing the goals across the whole marketing and creative teams and with the clients or exhibitors, can help to generate ideas and help to integrate the event’s promotional strategies into the brands other channels.
As an example of promoting a consumer sampling activation event, there are many marketing channels that can be utilized.
• Social media – is going to allow you to engage prospective attendees and exhibitors in a more personalized and interactive way. Creating high quality content that shows branded stories can be engaging and effective.
• Creating a microsite for the event – This may be promoted privately with the registered attendees, it may be included in a newsletter via email, through social channels, or promoted on the brand’s internet properties with clickable image widget buttons.
• Billboard advertising – You can promote the event within retail window displays, billboards inside the venue, or on the street.
• Guerrilla Marketing – You can send out street teams as part of grassroots field marketing attack, which they can hand out flyers and talk to people in person.
• Email & newsletters – The brand may have a significant email subscriber list that can be leveraged to reach a targeted consumer fan base.
• Advertising and Press in Magazines – The city and town that your event is being held in can be a great place to promote exposure and excitement for it.
MARKETING DURING THE EVENT
Once the doors open and the first people come on in the marketing does not stop, what the consumer feels, hears, sees and touches is the marketing, it’s about fostering the face to face engagement experience. Traditional event formats usually bore the participants. You cannot just keep duplicating what you did for the last event, the concepts have to be new, creative and fresh. And if you are an agency reading this, the same goes, what you did for Ralph Lauren will not work for Dolce & Gabbana. One of the main purposes of experiential events, is to bring people together, and so if someone goes to an event and feels lost, then that can usually be attributed to a poorly planned concept. People want to participate and feel a part of something.
Here are some event tips that can help people to interact and walk away with a positive experience.
• Make the event an immersive experience – create on-site experienced based activities that incorporate your brand, make sure the branding is apparent throughout.
• Use different types of communication channels – By using a variety of communication means during the event such as entertainment, photo activations, video screens, social media activities to excite people’s senses.
• Incorporate visual technologies – By using video displays, and interactive product demonstrations, touch screen installations, car simulators are ways to entertain and offer interactive ways for the consumer to connect with your brand.
• Tag photos of attendees – Have your event staff and brand ambassadors go around and periodically take photos of the attendees, speakers and entertainers, making sure to @mention their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. It’s also important to include and create event hashtags as well.
• Reaching the audience – that could not attend. Many major brands have extensive social media fans and followers, make sure to live event tweet and share posts. And encourage the participants with activation methods, which are many of the things listed above to share on their networks what is happening.
As the event is coming to a close, this is the perfect time to collect as much consumer data as possible, and to keep the merging offline and digital worlds together. Here is a list of post event marketing tips that can help to extend the life of the event. Digital is a critical part of event activations.
• Compile and collect consumer data – Using a tool like Eventifier, can help to aggregate and speed up the process of matching up attendee registration info to their social media posts. This may sound a little time consuming, but it will help you to analyze your target audience, and the event’s social media amplification.
• Use surveys to get consumer feedback – Using surveys is a great way to find out what people most enjoyed about the event, and what could be improved, identify which members were the most vocal via social media. This can open deeper relationship opportunities for them to become brand loyalists.
• Document and repackage your content – All the digital content can be re-purposed into blog posts, videos, eBooks, infographics, create event photo albums that can be shared on Facebook, Google +, and then encourage people to tag themselves.
Having a successful event and making real connections with consumers on an emotional level comes down to storytelling. What does brand stand for? What is their story, and how does this particular promotional tour or individual event fit into the timeline of that story? It does not matter which medium it is being delivered through, whether it is analog, social, digital or live, people love a good story that they can relate to in some way. So help the brand to tell their story in as many ways as possible, using photos and video before, during, and after the event will help a lot. The magic will happen when you make an psychological connection with the attendees of the event, by inviting and including them to become part of your brand’s story, that is where prospective consumers turn into loyal brand evangelists.