Event marketing seeks to turn the volume of targeted messaging up to 11 (and yes that is a Spinal Tap reference). As this type of face-to-face marketing grows more prevalent, businesses must differentiate themselves by designing and delivering relevant and remarkable experiences. There is a lot of noise in this space, but here are 4 trends that should guide your event marketing plans.
Make it Lit
There are many definitions for lit, but let’s stick with this one: make it amazing. The increasing influence of millennials is one factor driving a demand for remarkable experiences. They are not impressed easily. Plus, they are constantly looking to share their experience via social media and connect with others in real-time having the same experience.
Active participation increases customer engagement and learning and can boost overall connections with your brand. Yet keep in mind that experiential campaigns don’t need to be event-centric. Think Virtual Reality. Whether the experience is tied to a conference, concert, festival, etc., it should focus on creating brand interaction opportunities first and foremost.
Make it Meaningful
Google, for instance, decided to publicize its charitable giving by letting the public decide where the money should go. They installed interactive stations at bus shelters, food trucks, and restaurants to give the local community the chance to vote for a cause. The #GoogleImpactChallenge earned 400,000 votes in less than a month. One of my personal favorites was hack the hood.
Or, consider the Lean Cuisine #WeighThis campaign in New York’s Grand Central Station. Women were invited to share what they would want to be weighed for — rather than pounds — on small boards that looked like scales. Examples included being back in college at 55 or caring for 200 homeless children each day. The experience sent a supportive message about appreciating what matters and it was still clearly associated with Lean Cuisine and healthy eating.
Make it Social
Companies and brand marketers recognize the importance of social marketing related to event marketing. Some 70% identify social as “extremely” or “very important,” yet creating memorable content worth social sharing is challenging.
In examining The Viral Impact of Events, the Event Marketing Institute found certain channels fare better at different points in the process:
Make it Personal
Take GE’s set up at a conference representing actual healthcare settings — a rural African clinic, an urban clinic, and an emergency room — at which the brand had actual doctors sharing real stories about how the company’s healthcare technology made a difference to their work. This wasn’t sales people, but personal stories making a real connection with the potential customer.
Or how about Facebook IQ Live? It’s experience-based event series sought to create positive brand awareness and give marketers concrete ideas of how they might better interact with the Facebook and Instagram brand.
Making your event marketing strategy and execution more lit, meaningful, social, and personal will require innovative thinking. Don’t do what you’ve done before. Don’t do what someone else has done before. Align an idea with your brand values and business objective and take the leap into immersive face-to-face marketing.