In today’s buyer-empowered world, companies need to seize every opportunity to start a relationship, generate goodwill, and earn the trust of prospective customers.
A solid marketing mix that incorporates event marketing is critical to connecting with as many potential customers as possible. Top leading companies spend a great amount of time and money to execute Event Marketing in addition to traditional marketing tactics.
People have an easier time remembering experiences that engage all of their senses, so by engaging customers in a physical presence at an event, you reach people in a very memorable way.
When you think about big worldwide events. What names come to your mind?
- The Olympics
- The Oscars
- TED Conference
- Fashion Week
- Shell Eco-Marathon
These are all well-known events that engage millions of spectators, participants and fans.
We have recently visited an annual event organized by Shell in Europe: Eco-Marathon. While you can always question Shell’s role in the environment, the event’s organization was incredible and there are some important take-aways for all marketers.
Eco-marathon is a unique competition that challenges students around the world to design, build and drive the most energy-efficient car. With three annual events in Asia, Americas and Europe, student teams take to the track to see who goes further on the least amount of fuel. In 2015, Eco-marathon Europe took place from May 21-24 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands and celebrated its 30th anniversary.
The competition brought together around 200 teams and 3,000 students from across Europe to battle for ultra energy efficiency on the road.
The event also features the Shell Energy Lab, packed with attractions around innovation and the future of energy. Shell Energy Lab is an interactive experience for visitors to Shell Eco-marathon. With active challenges, learning experiences, and amazing technology, visitors (especially schoolchildren) explore the future of energy and see what the world of tomorrow might look like.
Here are 5 event marketing lessons for modern marketer.
1. Make your Event Well-Known to Public
When putting so much time and energy into planning your event, you want to make sure that you do the promotion right. To generate the highest amount of visitors, you need a mix of social, email, public relations, and other types of free and paid promotions to get the highest awareness about your event.
In addition to all traditional means of promotion, Shell built up a ferris wheel on the big square in front of the event location that is visible from the highway, big shopping mall and the railway. This makes the audience aware of the event long time in advance.
2. Engage Your Audience: Collect Customer Data
How do you plan to engage your audience at your events?
You can spend all the time and money in the world planning your strategy, but if you can’t engage consumers at a level that compels action on their part (whether that is filling out a contact form, completing a survey, etc.), then you have wasted both your time and your money.
A well-thought-out plan might potentially compel consumers into becoming customers and outspoken brand ambassadors. For instance, if using a photo or video feature, provide consumers with the option to share the branded media directly with their friends and family via social media platforms or email (the email option will increase the likelihood of accurate contact information).
If it’s fun and easy to use, you will be able to amplify your brand’s message and increase your marketing effort’s reach.
3. Lead Generation: Don’t Waste Your Investment
If lead generation is the main objective of your event strategy, keep in mind some important considerations. First and foremost, you should focus heavily on capturing accurate data.
For today’s event marketer, paper forms should be considered a thing of the past. You are most likely getting inaccurate or incomplete data with paper contact forms, negating any value that the activation might provide.
Furthermore, with paper forms, the data is rarely entered accurately or in a timely manner into your CRM. If you asked your audience how likely they are to be in the market for your product in the next six months, for example, you could miss the chance to follow up with them if you don’t have that data in your CRM immediately.
Find a modern survey and data-collection application that can verify content accuracy and auto-upload data directly into your CRM. If you have immediate access to accurate data, you are more likely to convert that new contact into a customer.
To get a free ticket to Shell Event visitors had to registratie on the website of Shell, giving general information including the email address. The reservation of tickets in advance ensured a fast track entry on the day with these colorful access passes.
4. Leveraging Social Media Networks
Being active on social networks before, during, and after your event is the bread and butter of your event social strategy. Since events are in real time, attendees often use social networks to get updates and to engage with other participants in a live environment. During an event, social networks offer a unique opportunity to interact directly with your audience and have them share your message.
Shell announced a contest where anyone can publish a photo from the event on Social Media Networks with a hashtag #SEM2015 and #Energy010. The best shot won a prize and the image was featured on Shell’s Instagram page.
5. Post-Event Analysis: Benchmark Your Data
Did you collect more leads than your competitors at the same event? Did your net promoter score have a bigger increase than the industry average after your test-drive event?
It can be hard to determine the overall success and health of your events if you don’t have a measuring stick.
You should also be benchmarking against your own events you held in the past. Maybe one specific consumer engagement strategy performed better than others, as well as other competitors at the same event; having such information can give you the chance to pivot to more successful tactics.
After careful planning, testing, analyzing, measuring, and refining, your event will be running like a well-oiled machine, driving leads and increasing your Event Marketing ROI.
Is Event Marketing a constant part of your marketing mix? Please share with us in the comments! What marketing events did you organize? How did it help your business?
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