Event Hosting as a Marketing Tool

The benefits of using an event to grow your brand are endless. In this piece we will not only showcase and discuss these benefits, but we will also show you how you too can organise these events to bring your brand closer to your target customer.

In our brand awareness blog we’ve discussed how a launch event can help build a brand (https://www.futureproofmedia.ie/2019/06/21/brand-awareness-7-simple-techniques/). But here we will explore in detail just how to use events to your advantage.

Why Bother Organising an Event?

Yes, you may have more important things to do now, but if you don’t consistently look to advance your marketing efforts you won’t have anything important to do because the sales will soon dry up.

Events aren’t just social get togethers where you get clients, staff and potential customers together and tell them how great you are. Here are a few benefits that will have a direct impact on business.

Scale Up Sales

Events are a perfect opportunity to scale up your sales efforts as they allow you to get numerous clients and potential clients in one room where you can direct your brand messaging to all of them at once as opposed to numerous one to one sales efforts.

Create Brand Trust

When an event is run well you will have had direct face to face contact with all your key clients and key target clients. Getting to know these people on a personal level creates a level of trust towards your brand as they feel you are accessible and not just a voice at the end of a phone. This will help turn customers into advocates.

Reach New Customers

Creating an event that provides value to potential customers is key. If you can make it an event that people a queuing up to go to then it is easy to embed your brand messaging in a way that hits new customers without disrupting your fun event!

Brew Up A Storm on Social

Create an easily shareable narrative for your event and you will see your mentions going up and up. Use competitions, fun picture opportunities, and VIP upgrades for use of your hashtag online.

Giving Value to Your Customer

Bad brands are ones that are only thinking of hat they can get from their customers. High performing brands look to provide value to their customers through high quality events, content, giveaways and discounts.

Further Reach Through Live Streaming

Events aren’t only for the people in attendance, they can also be a vehicle for broader reach through live streaming, video content creation and live social media coverage.

Partnerships with Other Brands

Here you have a perfect opportunity to partner with a bigger brand to help grow the reach and impact of your event. This could be as simple as hosting your event in Copper Faced Jacks and have them promote it on social or having multiple branded tents at your wellness event.

Customer Data Capture

Events are great for gathering more info on your target market. It’s as simple as having anyone who wants to attend fill out a short questionnaire in order to get tickets or testing out a new product at the event and seeing if people like it.

Enhance Your Reputation

Yes, we don’t like to admit it, but we all like to see our reputation getting a boost. This is the same for your brand. When your customers see the great events, you are able to run and how much value you provide to your clients than your reputation will be at an all-time high.

That’s Great, But How Do I Start Planning my Event?

Here’s a few simple ideas for simple events that you can get started with running to promote your business.

Start we the big idea and work backwards to create a critical path of all the elements needed to make it a success. Once the plan is in place it’s just about ticking off each element one at a time until you get there.

Open Day

Host an open day in your office/factory/store where customers can come in and see how everything works. Have your best and most enthusiastic staff on hand to showcase everything that is great about your business

Panel Discussion

Panel discussions are great for providing value to your customers. This is where you get a group of experts together from whatever field you work in or a field that your customers are interested in and host a panel discussion providing insights and wisdom that will help your customers in their future endeavours.

The likes of AIB, AIG and Renault do these really well every year when the GAA championship hots up. They get a panel on current and ex GAA players up on stage in a city centre venue to discuss the upcoming game and how they think it will pan out. This provides value for potential customers without directly trying to sell to them.

Panel Event

Summer/Christmas Party

Ok, so we all love the office Christmas party, or the summer barbeque but why not scale the whole thing up and invite all your clients along? Create a party that they won’t forget and let them get to know all the staff personally. This creates a level of brand trust that is unparalleled by any of the other activations on this list. It makes your client feel like part of the company.

One place I saw this work really well was back in my PR days in Wilson Hartnell where they turned the whole office into a party venue. Band playing in the lobby, bar in the meeting room, and karaoke down stairs. The clients loved it and it also created a great relationship between them and the staff.

Summer / Christmas Event

Networking Event

Networking events in Ireland are commonplace; in fact, they’re more or less everywhere. Thanks to social media and other platforms, it’s easier than ever before to set up, plan and run networking events for professionals in your sector. A perfect example of this would be the OneZero (https://one-zero.com/)

What I like is the events that take place first thing in the morning and are designed as ‘breakfast meet-up’ – you go to a venue, have some breakfast, chat to some like-minded souls then sit down for three short 15-20 minute talks, followed by a brief Q&A session.’ All done and dusted in about an hour and a half and you can then go and get on with your day. Simple yet effective!

Someone we have seen do a lot of these is Mason Alexander Recruitment Agency, including their recent Women Who Mean Business Networking Event. It’s always god to have a different angle for these as opposed to simply networking for the sake of it.

Networking Event

Experiential Competition

Here’s an idea. Why not run a national competition for your target audience where they can win a massive prize by heavily interacting with your brand/product?

Yes, it might cost a few quid but that’s the trade off for such a deep interaction with your product which grows your reputation massively.

Here’s an example of a customer competition we ran for Sports Direct:

Speaking at External Event

The biggest benefit of speaking is that you can get people to buy your services or products. In general, you’ll make these sales by giving a good speech and showing that you and the company you represent are smart.

Now, you can’t just pitch your product from the stage as that will come across as “salesy”. But if you give great information that is also related to your business, a portion of the room will be interested in your offerings.

Other than the potential sales, the other huge benefit is personal branding.

Workshop Event

Do you enjoy training people? Are you a confident trainer in a face-to-face workshop setting? Do you have something valuable to offer people – if only they knew about you and your services?

Workshops can be the perfect tool for showcasing your expertise and in turn bringing in new clients through word of mouth.

Invest some time in creating and perfecting the right workshop – a signature workshop – so that whenever you need new clients, you have your go-to marketing tool already.

Award Ceremonies

You have awards for everything these days, even if they are not really necessary. Oh, the milkman of the year awards? Yay, can’t wait!

As I said, they are not always needed but from experience I can say they are always something that people look forward to going to. Get your glad rags on and let people tell you how great you are, yes please.

Why not look at creating something in your industry?

VIP Experience Event

These are great, because they are fun for you too! Pick your most valuable clients and reward them with a money can’t buy experience. An example could be to rent a corporate box at an Ireland game in the AVIVA. Arrange for an-ex player to discuss the game and give them an experience that nobody else in the stadium is having.

VIP Experience Event

Mini Festivals

No, we are no talking about hosting your own Electric Picnic but it is possible to host a scaled back festival in the park during the summer that would hit all the right notes with your customers. You could have food stalls, outdoor group exercise, music, talks and much more in one place. This could even be something you partner with a few other businesses on.

How Do I Ensure My Brand Gets the Most From the Event?

Set Measurable Goals for Your Event

Be prepared and understand what you want to get out of the event? Is it to book five face to face meetings? Is it to engage 1,000 potential customers with your brand message? Understand what the goal is and then make a plan to get there.

Build an Easily Shareable Narrative

If you want your event to have a wider reach than just the people in the room, then you must create a purpose and narrative that is easy for them to share and also makes then look good on social media. Is this an event that they feel like their followers wish they were at?

Design for Actual Audience & Secondary Audience

It’s important to not only design the event for the people that are there but also for the wider audience if you are live streaming, live tweeting, or creating video for. This is important to keep them engaged and make them feel like they are there.

Work the Room

Put that charisma to good use! Don’t waste the opportunity to make connections by being shy. Identify key stakeholders and make sure you talk to them. Prepare what you intend to say in advance to avoid small talk resulting in you missing your chance for further interactions.

Prepare a Post Event Communication

Have your press release, company info, new product info ready to be sent out straight after the event because this will be the time that you are front of mind and customers will be extremely open to receiving information about your brand.

Build Authority via Your Event

Use your event as an opportunity to build authority in your field. If you can create this image for yourself then you will be the go to guy/gal in the industry and that is an extremely valuable thing.

Make Your Event Different

Don’t regurgitate an event you have seen elsewhere. Create something original and new that makes you stand out from the crowd. Being different is not always easy in business but this is what will separate the outliers from the herd!

Now, that was a long read but we hope it helps! If you need any more information or help, then get in touch.

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