Why Event Marketing is more important than ever

Without belaboring the obvious: its a tough marketing atmosphere out there. I know. I already wrote a blog on this topic..but now it seems even more prescient. Whenever the economy slides, the immediate reaction is often to “pull back” and while this makes sense to bean counters, marketers know better. We know that now is the time to either stay the course or increase marketing. We know that its going to take MORE exposures to get people to pull dollars out of their pockets and we know that now is the time to gain market share while your competitors run for cover and allow their customers to forget about them.

And yet, you and I both know that now is the time where your marketing dollars better work. You better be able to show ROI from them. You need your dollar to go further. Here are some real suggestions that I have for marketing during this time.

Use events! dollar for dollar they pack the most marketing punch. Whether you decide to speak at an event, or host an event or sponsor an event, they combine the ability to have media (usually print+either TV or radio) and they have the capacity to get your product right into the hands of users. Events are also fun and most importantly, engaging. If you haven’t used events now – its time.
More driving traffic, less branding. You brand in good times, so hopefully you have already done that and people already equate your brand to a lifestyle or an emotion. Now is the time to underscore that response to your brand by finding ways to drive traffic, promotions, sampling, demos, these are all ways to get people to try and experience your product. Once they try and experience it, you must follow up with some sort of coupon, special opportunity, something to get them to come back. And don’t forget to stay in touch with them; having experienced your product, they are most likely to try you first next time they need your product (or the next time you CREATE the need.)
Track your ROI from your events. If your using a staff for promos or sampling, they need to provide you with a post-event wrap-up that gives you feed back on quantity, demographic and response. Make sure that you track any coupons too.
Instead of spending less on your existing sponsorships, ask for more value. Ask for more ways to get your product into people’s hands or drive traffic. Ask for X-promos with complimentary sponsors, ask for opportunity to do a demo. You don’t get what you don’t ask for.
Make it FUN: Right now in particular with the uncertainly in the marketplace, people are attracted to anything that makes them smile, allows them to escape. If you can’t make your product fun, then attach to something that is. People will remember fun…they will quickly forget “blah, blah blah”.
REMEMBER: if you can’t track it, can’t drive traffic from it and can’t let people experience your brand from it – you should change it so they can. No matter how many eye-balls see it, if its the wrong market, or they don’t have a compelling connection to your brand, story or product, then its a marketing waste in today’s climate.