101: Event Marketing
April 8, 2010
1. The Lowdown
Traditional advertising is being rendered less effective as it gets obscured by the sheer volume of information being pushed on consumers. It is becoming increasingly difficult for businesses to build an association with both current and potential customers. Event marketing is a method used to close this gap. There are many different types of event marketing, ranging from product-based promotions to sports/entertainment sponsorships, to utilization of cause-related marketing. Each format has its own focus timeline and cost. Event Marketing is used to craft an activity to give people an experience where they walk away with a positive feeling. These events can also provide consumers with a chance to see, touch, hear, taste, or interact with the product. In doing so, your firm directly interacts with your customers and, in turn, influences their future buying decisions.
2. Why Do I Need to Know About It?
A large majority of companies use events as a major component of their marketing initiatives. In fact, a recent study conducted by the CMO Council found that 67.2 percent of CMOs said that events are a "vital and valuable standalone marketing function." There's a reason top executives believe this. Events are the only form of marketing where a company can physically engage with the consumer and affect their buying decisions. The creation of a successful event property can be a valuable brand asset which allows you to build sustainable equity for both your brand and event. Finally, by adding an event component to your marketing strategy, you have a powerful tool that ties all the aspects of the strategy together.
3. Case Study
Event marketing is integral part of the marketing strategy for Monster Energy Drink. For example, Monster is the headlining sponsor for the AMA. Supercross tour. However, they don't only rely on having their logo on top of the leader board. Monster has an entire Web site dedicated to the Monster Energy Supercross events, and this site supports Monster's brand image exclusively. The Monster claw logo is all over the site, including the background. You can buy tickets, read about the teams, view event photos, find tour and television schedules, buy Supercross gear, and watch the events live. To involve target audiences further, there is an official club called "The Cross Club" which fans can join for free. All they have to do is register (i.e., give Monster their name and email address to pad Monster's marketing database), and they get chances to win Supercross tickets and swag. They get early ticket purchasing capability and discounted tickets, etc.
The Monster strategy doesn't only extend to the pre-event Web site. At the events the Monster Street Team is present there. These brand ambassadors hand out Monster Energy drinks and herd the crowds into the numerous smaller events hosted by Monster, outside of the arena before the competition begins. It is impossible to get into the arena without having experienced the Monster brand in some way.
After the event, consumers can go check out its results, see Web-only interviews with athletes, and get the "Inside Dirt" on the sport. Event marketing works. Monster currently has the second-highest market share in the U.S. Energy drink market.
4. The thing to remember is...
For an event to be successful, it should fit into the larger marketing strategy. You've done all the research on your target market. You understand the lifestyle, the demographics, the psychographics, and buying habits of your consumer. You've created a marketing strategy around this research. Don't throw all this information away when it comes to planning your event marketing. By understanding the goals and objectives of your marketing plan, you can better decide where to make your investment.
Secondly, there are three stages of event marketing: pre-event, event, and post-event. Each of these stages is an important part of putting on a successful event. Throwing up a sign with your company logo on it won't get you the ROI you want from the event. The pre-event marketing phase should not be limited to traditional advertising and public relations. Use social-media sites to spread the word. Create contests, sweepstakes, and various other promotions where the prize is to attend the event as a VIP guest. Just remember, stay on message and incorporate your brand into everything.
At the event itself, once again, just having your logo on the scoreboard is not enough. Treat the event as an opportunity to create a tangible experience for your consumer. This is your chance to instill your brand image into the mind of the consumer. Use product samples, coupons, swag, banners, signs, brand ambassadors, contests, etc., to get your target market to hear, taste, touch, smell, and feel the brand image you are working so hard to create.
During the event, your marketing operations staff must be capturing the data in anticipation of the post-event marketing plan. Have photographers and writers at the event; insure that the pictures and stories detailing the buzz of your event are incorporated into every area of your marketing communications, such as public relations advertising, social media, online magazines, and blogs, to obtain the halo effect of the event for your brand.
John Nolan is an adjunct professor of marketing at Pepperdine University's Graziadio School of Business and Management. He owns and operates Core Marketing in Orange County Ca.. He can be reached at email@example.com
"101: Event Marketing." John Nolan, Adjunct Professor of Marketing at Pepperdine University's Graziadio School of Business and Management.