Event marketing: the what, why and how

Event marketing provides brands with a unique opportunity for face-to-face interaction with existing and potential new customers. The key is to create a memorable event that leaves a lasting impression on your customers.

What is event marketing?

Event marketing describes an instance of public interaction between a brand and its customers. This could be anything from a free giveaway in a shopping centre to an exhibition stand at a trade show. Events can take place at an existing event such as a festival, sporting event or concert, or in a public arena such as a shopping centre.

Event marketing companies are businesses which specialise in making live exhibitions for their clients, who want to make a first-hand experience for their own customers. The job of an event marketing specialist is to plan and provide an enjoyable and memorable experience for the target audience and customer. Most would target their audiences in very public places such as sporting events or conventions that appeal to both the brand and its customers.

There are three key things to consider when formulating your event marketing plan. The first is to consider what the personality of your company is. Consider the brand image that you want to portray and the best way to communicate that to your potential customers. It is also important to keep the target audience in mind. If you are trying to appeal to 7-10 year olds a twenty slide presentation might not be the way to seal the deal but it would be more than ideal to have some games for the kids to try out. Finally you will want to consider the impression that you want your brand to leave on your customers. An event is a unique opportunity for face-to-face interaction with your customers so you’ll want to ensure that the experience is a positive one that leaves the customer feeling enthusiastic about your brand.

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Why use event marketing?

Event marketing is a great way to display your brand on many different levels. As well as being able to show off products it is a fantastic chance to find out more information about your own customers, what their needs are and how you might be able to adapt to their requirements. Most people won’t be willing to fill out a survey and even if they are, probably not to an informative enough extent. Events provide you with a unique opportunity to really get to know your customers.

One of the key advantages of event marketing is the generation of a captive audience. Your customers will be constantly surrounded by marketing messages in their everyday lives in the form of print, media, and mobile. When they attend an event their focus will be shifted towards the specific interest around which that event is based – a film festival or healthcare conference, for example. Providing you have chosen your event wisely the audience will already be interested in the sorts of products or services that you provide and will be more receptive to your marketing message. Event marketing, therefore, provides you with a fantastic opportunity to generate leads. Assuming you have shown up to the right event, the chances are you’ll be surrounded by potential prospects from your target demographic. Having a presence will help to make your brand more visible to those walking past, and you will have plenty of opportunities to start meaningful dialogues with potential new customers.

Event marketing is a great way to generate positive PR for your brand. By showing that your brand is outgoing and connected with the public you can gain greater recognition and a more trustworthy reputation.

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Event marketing: how to

When planning your event marketing strategy you must consider from the outset what your objectives are. Ensure that these are specific and measureable so that you can report on their success after the event.

Deciding on your target audience will be absolutely key to determining which event or events you decide to attend, the theme, size and nature of your presence at that event, whether you want to include product demonstrations or giveaways, what level of interactivity your stand will have and how many members of staff will be present. You must think about which of your competitors will be exhibiting and how you will ensure that you stand out amongst the others. We can help you to come up with a theme that is creative and eye-catching so that potential new customers will want to stop and find out more.

Once you have decided on a theme and concept for your event design you will want to think about the activities that will be taking place on your stand. Consumers often like the chance to try before they buy so consider whether a product demonstration is appropriate. Could you give out free samples of your product? If not, you may wish to consider some other kind of free promotional giveaway as this can help to generate a positive impression of your brand and remind people of your offering once they have walked away. A game or competition may be a good way to encourage engagement and positivity around your brand. If your objective is to network and gain subscribers or contacts this can be a good way to encourage people to share their contact details with you.

Promotion is key to ensuring maximum engagement with your event. You may wish to launch a webpage or microsite to make people aware of what you are planning. At the same time of launching the website it would be a good idea to start a social media campaign. By posting on social media this will create momentum for your event and build a community of people who would be interested in what you are offering. On top of this you could also release blog posts about your event and the reasons for doing it. Remember to share your blog post on your social media accounts so that it reaches as many people as possible. To maximise awareness, you may want to try reaching out to partners who you could possibly collaborate with to get some support for the event.

Keep up the momentum on social media throughout the event to maximise the number of participants. Share videos, photos and testimonials to attract visitors to your stand and again after the event to remind people of what happened. Ensure you are responsive to enquiries and follow up on any good conversations that you had during the event as soon as possible. There is no point in generating a good lead if you forget to follow it up! Act quickly while the event is still fresh in your customers’ minds.

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Conclusion

Event marketing can form an important part of any marketing strategy. Consumers like the opportunity to get to know brands on a more personal level and events provide the perfect opportunity for you to present your brand. If you get it right you can create a lasting positive impression, generate sales and build a loyal customer base. Let us help you!

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