- – Use tactile, tangible experiences to engage event participants
- – Opportunistic marketing offers the rewards of ambush marketing without the risk
- – Local events allow marketers to take advantage of Google’s emphasis on local search
- – Social media helps turn event spectators into participants
- – How Bud Light’s Whatever USA event captured the attention of 5 per cent of America’s millennial population
If you are an event marketer, this year is all about changing your vocabulary. Attendees are now participants, events are experiences, and your biggest content producers should be your potential customers. Discover the trends that are shaking up the event marketing world.
Experience it, feel it.
One of the biggest event marketing trends at the moment is the transition towards experience marketing. Don’t just hold an event to attract attention from your potential customers, instead, showcase your business, services, and products in an interactive experience that is tactile and tangible.
“Developing a tactile and tangible experience starts with immersing your guest – not just into a branded experience – but directly into the brand. What does the brand feel like, look like, smell like, taste like? A luxury vehicle – like a fine wine – can bring to mind incredible quality materials: leathers and woods, for example. An automotive brand steeped in the outdoor lifestyle might be brought to life in a secluded forest where a chef puts on a customized camping menu,” says Judi Samuels, Manager, Experience Design at Integrated Automotive Experience. “The experience succeeds when the brand is brought to life in a way that is relevant for the guest. At the intersection of the brand values and the guest lifestyle lies the secret of experience marketing success.”
Opportunistic marketing at Rio
So called ambush marketing has always been controversial (and potentially damaging) in the event marketing world, causing risk adverse small and medium sized businesses to shun the practice.
Ambush marketing isn’t going mainstream anytime soon, but this event marketing trend plays on some of the better aspects of ambush marketing – without the controversy or risk. Opportunistic marketing jumps on current trends and events in a more restrained and responsible way than ambush marketing.
One particularly telling case study involved the London 2012 Olympics. Major firms in the cycling industry launched healthy living events which played on Olympic themes like athleticism and healthy living, without infringing on the Olympics’ intellectual property. As a result, the UK’s cycling industry has grown to a third of the size of the US (a considerable leap considering the relative size of the two countries) and is worth $2.9 billion USD.
This summer’s Rio Olympics offers a perfect opportunity for athletic-themed opportunistic marketing events in Brazil, and around the world.
Thanks to a 2014 update in Google’s search algorithm, local SEO is now more important than ever. To maximise the effectiveness of event and online marketing the two need to be integrated. Local events allow online marketers to optimise their local SERP results (search engine results page), and build ties to local communities, while event marketers need to be paying closer attention to online marketing than ever before. Going local will build goodwill, and engage and motivate local customers.
Seeking social butterflies
Document your event with pictures, otherwise it’s like it didn’t even happen. Social media is playing an ever-crucial role in event marketing. You need to advertise your event on social media in order to build interest beforehand, keep people engaged during the event, and connect with customers after the event (even those who didn’t attend).
A successful event, however, won’t happen if you are the only one taking pictures. You need to encourage participants to post to their own social media accounts.
Participants versus spectators
Do you want people at your event to participate or stand to the side like idle spectators? Use experience marketing techniques to make your event an immersive product experience, invite potential clients to interact, and encourage them to promote your event on social media, before, during and after the event.
Bud Light’s “Whatever, USA” is a prime example of the experience based, social media driven direction of event marketing happening this year. Over 200, 000 people vied for just 1,000 slots at the inaugural ‘Whatever, USA’ in 2014, creating 37 000 pieces of content (just 50 of which were produced by Bud Light). One year later in 2015, the event exploded in size. 1.7 million people fought for just 500 spots, capturing 5 per cent of the millennial population in America.
Event marketers who are not only aware of these trends, but effectively implement them will be at an advantage over their competition.
Here are 5 tips to help you get started…
- – The personality of the vehicle(s) you are showcasing should match the tone of the event. Sophistication, ruggedness or fun – use your brand’s core qualities as the foundation for your event planning.
- – Is there a race track or off-roading area nearby? Get inspiration from the venue to create a truly memorable drive experience.
- – Keep the participant experience at the event’s core – you don’t have to sacrifice event goals (like education) to keep participants front and centre.
- – Can you take your event on the road? Participating in local events throughout small communities is a great way to generate buzz about your vehicles.
- – Make it easy for people to take great pictures of themselves with your vehicles that they can share on social. That means you’ll need to think about vehicle positioning, lighting and backdrops when planning the details of your event. If your event is outside, consider a “selfie tent” in case it rains.
With the marketing world moving at lightning speed it’s more important than ever to stay ahead of the trends, otherwise you’ll be finding yourself playing catch up.