Getting Down With People!
Social events provide incredible opportunities to build recognition and identity. Being “on the ground,” is in the most general sense, what it’s all about. In practice, creating events and environments which present opportunities to mingle makes perfect sense.
We like to frame the social event in the context of an exhibit. When we consider an event in this way it allows us to create a structure from which we can fashion meaningful content, entertainment value, and deliver a poignant message all framed within an event context. Events may be permanent or temporary. While many events are structured in just one venue, some can be structured to function in multiple venues. Events can range from an extraordinarily large to a small one-person solo show or a display of just one item. There are no hard and fast rules. They can be whatever you want them to be.
The highest impact is made by establishing a direct connection to your client – something only events can offer, by the way. The best event marketing strategies are the ones that take advantage of this direct connection.
Trade fairs, trade shows or expos, are usually organized so that businesses within a specific interest or industry can showcase and demonstrate their latest products, service, study activities of rivals and examine recent trends and opportunities. Some trade fairs are open to the public, while others can only be attended by members of the trade and members of the press.
TRADE FAIRS AS EFFECTIVE MARKETING TOOL
Trade fairs have been recognized as one of the most efficient and powerful tools for effectively doing business. As a face-to-face meeting point, fairs and exhibitions are basically a target opportunity for achieving your trade objectives. They are a cost-effective means to reach your market audience in one time and in one place. Here are some of the advantages of participation:
Customer Contact: Trade fairs provide excellent venues for initiating contacts with new customers and developing new trade leads. Equally important they enable you to maintain and renew contacts with valued clients;
Product & Service Launch Platforms: Live presentations and demonstrations of your products and services speak for themselves, accelerating the selling process and generating new sales;
Marketing Communications: Trade fairs focus media attention on you and your products. Public relations efforts can be focused to raise the profile of your company image and brands.
High Return/Expense Ratio: Trade fairs are known to have a high return/expense ratio. Surveys have shown that an average expenditure of 9% of a companies’ marketing budget in trade fair events resulted in a 23% increase in business.
- 76% of fair attendees arrive with an agenda;
- 48% of exhibition leads don’t require a sales call to close deal;
- Exhibition leads cost 56% less to close than field sales calls;
- 87% of exhibition attendees say they will share information obtained at exhibitions with their immediate superiors.
Sponsor a local event, become the ticket outlet, both of which will drive traffic to your location. You can advertise this fact. Now you’ve got a pre-event promotion that extends the value of the sponsorship, because you’re advertising your involvement ahead of time. In doing so you’re establishing yourself as a community supporter all the while creating an association in the minds of the public between, you and the event.
Make sure your business and the event are the right match. It’s also important for the event to work with your business to create promotional points so you can get the most bang for your buck. Be sure to create some event marketing strategies for finding new customers or for bonding with existing customers.
The great thing about local events is that they provide businesses with the opportunity to speak directly to their current and potential customers face to face. This happens in an environment where the customer is relaxed and having fun, making them more open to you. Here are some simple ways to participate in local events:
Sampling: Attendees at events tend to respond best when you offer something free or cheap, so onsite sampling is very big and very effective. A real bonus is that you have the chance to answer questions, describe details, deliver your message, debunk myths, and so on.
Try these ways to immerse yourself in the activities:
Give Free Tickets To Your Customers & Stakeholders: Local events create a sense of community. Offer a VIP experience to your significant contacts, include your employees and vendors, everyone loves to receive a perk.
Fit Into The ‘Vibe’; Of The Event: Don’t be too “corporate” Instead, dress casually, and offer an overall experience on top of freebies and swag. This opens the door for greater data collection, especially if it’s not mandatory. Folks tend to be more open with their information if they feel like the decision is up to them
Find the Right Event
The importance of finding the right match between event and business cannot be stressed enough. This means not only a good match to your budget, but making sure you reach the right people.
Conduct some soul searching, formulate a picture of your business and who you ought to be targeting – because some business owners don’t know who their market is, so start there. Select the best event according to your needs and business objectives. It often requires a learning curve, so it’s important to get started and to keep participating to get results.
Measuring The Return On Marketing Investment
This is a gray area, because much of what is done at events cannot be measured, such as the feelings customers have about businesses who conduct event marketing. And yet, sponsorship is a proven method when done well. Some forms of measurement can include data collection, and media and logo impressions. Most events have become much savvier about ROI due to the demand from their sponsors for this information, so they do measure impressions (based on attendance) and they take surveys to gauge attendees’ attitudes. Get creative and measure sales, customer traffic, and the general mood of the local community, these are real indicators of ROI.
Low Cost Local Community Events: Don’t think you can sponsor you own community event, no matter, here are some great places to start participating:
- Sports: Little league teams, adult teams for amateur sports such as bowling, kickball or softball leagues;
- Music Events: Sponsor local bands or local concerts, and/or sell CDs and concert tickets at their storefront in exchange for some cross-promotion.