If you keep the following things top-of-mind,you’re sure to have excellent results from your 2019 event marketing efforts.
Event marketing is a fun and engaging way to cut through all the advertising clutter. It provides the opportunity to bring your message directly to your audience in an unignorable way, to engage with them on a personal level, to hear real time feedback, and to create relationships with other potential partners. Not to mention the content creation and data collection opportunities. It can be hard to gauge the direct impact of event marketing, but with the right team to lay out expectations and execute for you, it can be an important piece of your marketing plan.
Here’s a good example. We were challenged a few months ago to get the word out about Spirit Airlines, a new airline at Piedmont Triad International Airport (PTI). Our client’s biggest goal, beyond awareness and education, was data collection.
To meet these goals, we proposed marketing efforts at local community events – baseball games, festivals and the like. The effort was extremely successful because it does what event marketing does best.
Event marketing grabs your audience.
Consumers have gotten savvy about tuning things out. It’s easy to change the dial, click delete, press the skip button, or turn the page. But when the messaging is an integrated part of an event you attend, it’s hard to ignore and harder to forget. In a survey done by EMI/Mosaic Event Tracker in 2015, 87 percent of respondents said they felt events were more effective than TV at helping them understand products and services.
At our events, we set out a Spirit yellow tent and cornhole games that immediately piqued people’s curiosity. If the games didn’t get them to stop, our outgoing and experienced brand ambassadors pulled people in.
Our brand ambassadors spent an average of two minutes with each customer who stopped at the tent. Those were two minutes dedicated to educating them about Spirit, dispelling misperceptions, explaining what Spirit offers them in particular, and showing how easy it is to purchase tickets!
Of course, not all events are strong contenders for event marketing. You want events that are well-attended with your target audience, are in the right geographical area, are held when people are in the right frame of mind to engage, and are run by good partners. You want a partner that’s personally invested in your brand’s success at the event. For Spirit, we negotiated various assets above and beyond the usual packages – prime and expanded locations, interaction during the games, unique ways to present the messaging, on-stage presence and more.
Event marketing offers ways to make personal connections.
Good brand ambassadors convey your message and interact with your audience. Great ones get them interested. And exceptional ones know how to listen and engage, tailor your message, and pick up tidbits of information. For example, when someone says, “Oh, we’re going to Disney World in December,” the obvious response is to say “We have flights there.” The better response is to pull up the website and walk them through the booking process and show them how they’ll save time, money and stress by flying out of PTI on a direct Spirit flight to Orlando.
Consumers will also tell you (for free) exactly what’s working in other parts of your campaign. “Oh, I saw your billboards. You’re at PTI, right?” With the right team of brand ambassadors, you’ve got an opportunity for free mini-focus group interactions.
Event marketing shows your brand’s community commitment.
Being on-site at large community events makes your brand a part of the community. People appreciate brands that are out supporting their communities. When people see your brand and talk to your brand ambassadors, it makes their relationship with your brand feel personal. It can also foster opportunities for partnerships and new B2B relationships – again, if you have the right team on the ground.
Event marketing delivers measurable results.
Event marketing gives you the opportunity to collect data directly from consumers who WANT to hear more information about your service or product. When your team tells you that a consumer ASKED how he could get more information about Spirit’s deals BEFORE they requested an email address, you know you’re getting the right email address. Many consumers are more cautious about giving their data away for free. They are sophisticated enough to know it’s worth quite a bit and want to make sure they’re getting info that is pertinent. Not to mention the security concerns over data.
Event marketing can put your brand in the right hands.
It can be helpful to give away a cool premium or prize in return for an individual’s contact information. At the Spirit events, we gave away t-shirts. In addition, everyone who submitted their email information was entered to win a pair of travel vouchers on Spirit. Not only did this make for easier collection, but it was a built-in way to continue to drive home the messaging. The giveaways:
- Helped grabbed people’s attention.
- Allowed the brand ambassadors to use their talking points and opened the door for attendees to ask questions.
- Created walking billboards when people wore the t-shirts out in the community.
- Created consumer advocates for Spirit. People who met our brand ambassadors are likely to talk up Spirit to their friends and family, as well as post about the brand on social media.
- Offered opportunities to deliver and promote brand-created content, as well as organic content from attendees.
Event marketing continues to be a large part of the awareness plan for Spirit. We know our efforts have been successful – Spirit has the data to prove it.
Event marketing works when you have a strong and experienced team behind the scenes and on the ground to guide you. Overwhelmed? Contact Vela today to plan a turnkey event marketing program for your organization!