This marks the second anniversary of It’s Your Business appearing in The Record. So it seemed appropriate to highlight one of the tools that has become a mainstay in many business and communications strategies: event marketing.
Events come in many forms. There are those which are internal to your company like an anniversary or inventory clearance, while others can be considered external such as sponsoring a community event like a festival, show or cause.
In all cases your involvement in these events should be designed to extend, enhance and integrate with your overall marketing strategy. Events should not be considered as something extra, or you will do if you have a few extra dollars. Like the rest of your marketing efforts they should be planned and timed to meet specific objectives.
Your use of events can help define who you are as a company and above all should be directed towards your targeted customer base. For example, there would be no advantage for you to get involved with an operatic performance if your client base is more apt to be into bluegrass.
Targeting and timing is everything in event marketing. Many companies fall into the trap of holding an event, particularly a sales event because they have always done it. Anniversary events are a great example.
Many companies hold annual anniversary events; however, careful consideration should be given to the results of such activity. Anniversary events can work to your advantage for the first few years of operation but when they are held on an annual basis they can lose their impact on the consumer. They can become just another dollar-off promotion and not generate significant traffic or sales.
Unless you have significant returns on your efforts that you can monitor, then it might be time to re-think that particular strategy. The same holds true for ‘blockbuster sales,’ ‘full moon specials’ or anything else that might evoke a yawn rather than a wake-up call that gets your customers motivated.
Sales promotion events should be viewed as opportunities to be creative. One thing you should realize is the fact that you do not have to go it alone. You can create some synergy with another business that is compatible with you, bring in suppliers who may have promotional dollars available, or even swag and other incentives that can enhance your efforts.
In business it should be remembered that all events integrated as part of your strategy should be focused on fulfilling the objectives you should have outlined in your strategic plan.
This may sound very mercenary and raise some questions with regards to getting involved with community events and social causes, which you should be doing, if you have developed a well-rounded strategy.
In my opinion every company should be giving something back to the community in which it operates. This is just simply a good business practice and above all is a social responsibility that should be inherent in every organization.
While you can give back in many ways, like volunteering your time, this column is focused on events.
Here’s a few thoughts that you should consider when you are approached to sponsor a community event:
•The first item on your checklist should be whether the event relates to your customer base. As mentioned before is it targeted to your audience?
•The second item should be what can you get out of the event. Exposure and goodwill is one thing, like hanging banners and signage but you should take into consideration that community events provide an opportunity for you to engage in face-to-face communication. Can you get on site with a display, set up a booth or in the case of some events become a ticket outlet so that you can generate traffic to your business?
•Third on your list should be timing. Does the event tie in with some other business activity? Can it be integrated with your own special event? Is it a good fit with your values and will it enhance your standing in the community, with other businesses and the general public?
With so many events to chose from — whether internal, external, those you create yourself or those that you can tie into — any and every event may not be right for you. It is essential that you give careful thought as to how the event will fit into your business strategy.
Joe Smith is a communications consultant and an accomplished fine artist. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.