In 1851, 92 countries came together in London to display their strengths, showcasing everything from arts and textiles to technological and scientific advancements. The Crystal Palace, constructed to house the event, would eventually see 6 million visitors, creating opportunities, connections and ideas that otherwise might never have been possible. While this event, known as the first World’s Fair, might be a dramatic example of the power of event marketing, it nevertheless holds up as proof of the potential of a well-orchestrated event. Since then, everything from car shows to anniversary parties to webinars has continued this legacy, proving the effectiveness and versatility of the event.
Working events into your marketing strategy seems like a no-brainer, with a current climate that makes it easier than ever to orchestrate, promote and measure the results of your efforts. Many marketers believe event marketing is the most effective marketing channel, with content marketing and email marketing coming in at a close second and third.
When planning how to integrate events into your strategy, it’s important to keep a few things in mind.
The term “event marketing” is a broad one and it most likely brings to mind a variety of definitions. It may mean planning and executing your own event or sponsoring someone else’s. It may even mean simply attending events you know will make great networking opportunities. These events can be in person or virtual and they can range in size from small advisory panels to huge trade shows.
The secret to powerful marketing lies in creating the connection with your audience, and nothing does this quite like face- to-face interaction. Putting on an event or attending one in your industry or community means you are guaranteed to be placed in front of the audience you’re addressing, and you can engage with them in real time. You can connect directly with your potential customers who have already come to you, without invading or monopolizing their time and space.
The immediate feedback these connections offer can help when you’re planning the rest of your campaign, even giving you insight on certain strengths or weaknesses of your product that you may not have seen. Take these opportunities to capitalize on your ability to bring value in real time through samples, demonstrations, or Q&A sessions. These can make a lasting impact. The introduction of social media also means that impact isn’t just limited to attendees anymore, but to their friends and followers.
All of these benefits can lead to stronger, more positive brand awareness, and quicker conversion for leads.
What Kind of Event
There are many different kinds of events you might want to participate in or host, each with its own set of advantages:
• Conferences: These events offer opportunities to not only make connections with others in your field, but to stay in-the-know on the latest technology, strategies and markets. Often for a low cost or no cost at all, you can take advantage of the opportunity to attend, especially if you’re just getting started in the industry.
• Trade shows: While conferences are typically open to all, trade shows are usually more targeted, made up of mostly professionals and decision makers. A booth at a trade show may cost a bit more, but a solid presentation can help you make meaningful connections that last for years. With these events, you can take the opportunity to learn from those at the top of the game.
• Seminars: If you’re looking to hold a low-cost event, seminars may be the most effective way to position yourself as an expert in your field. Often smaller and shorter than conferences and trade shows, seminars can even be held online to make them accessible to a wider audience, expanding your reach.
• Networking events: Sponsoring an event in your community means expanding your audience by overlapping it with that of the hosting company. Partnering with that company creates a mutually beneficial engagement and provides you with a simple way to increase brand awareness and recognition.
Depending on where you are in your campaign, attending or hosting one of these events is a powerful tool in your marketing strategy.