Most of us would recall being given samples for a fruit drink or snack at our local supermarket. I recall that my son was “blown away” by the taste of a particular brand of cookies after a sample testing during one of our visits to the supermarket.
That particular brand of cookies has now become a staple in our household! This kind of marketing is called event marketing, a strategy that is increasingly being adopted by businesses in a bid to attract consumers.
Definition of Event marketing
Event marketing is a marketing method which involved direct and face-to-face contact between the prospective buyer and seller at unusual events. These events can include Trade fairs, Concerts, sports events, exhibitions and others.
In times when the customer is king, the basic philosophy behind event marketing is to engage prospective consumers and give them a chance to get a direct sense of a company’s focal point, perception, and personality and thus makes them more inclined to purchase from them. Event marketing goes beyond providing just information about the product or service. Rather, it allows prospective consumers the chance to experience the product through free samples, interactive displays, discounts and others methods.
Unlike traditional forms of marketing, event marketing focuses on target prospective consumers and aims their promotional campaign towards them. Companies strive to first identify the target prospective consumer and then create an experience that will be memorable to them and thus motivate them to purchase their product or service.
Event marketing is broadly divided into two kinds. They are:
- Online event marketing
- Physical event marketing.
Types of Physical event marketing
1. Trade fairs or tradeshows
Wikipedia defines trade fairs as “an exhibition organized so that companies in a specific industry can showcase and demonstrate their latest products and services”. Marketers have the option of organizing the trade shows or they can simply participate in the trade show and give prospective consumers a chance to see and test their product upfront.
2. Conferences or seminars
Conferences or seminars are events organized by a company to promote their offerings. Here, a select few targeted consumers are invited to attend the conference and get information about the particular offerings. They might also be given small samples of the product or service the company is offering.
Unlike conferences and seminars – which are open to the general public, Summits are meant for industry leaders, highest level executives and government officials. Consisting of very important speakers, summits are high profile in nature and smaller in scope and are aimed at discussing ideas and finalizing major deals.
Types of Online event marketing
1. Live streamlining of events
As the name suggests, this kind of event marketing focuses on streaming an event live to your prospective consumers. These are aimed at consumers who though interested in an event are unable to attend the event physically.
Webinars are seminars delivered via the web. The webinars can be in real time or on demand and include discussions, workshops, and presentations – all related to the product or service offered by the firm organizing the webinar.
3. Virtual events
Virtual events are the last type of online event marketing. They allow a prospective buyer to take part in a virtual setting that has the look and feel of an offline event. An example of a virtual event can be a real program happening in real time. However, some participants – who are unable to attend the real program – can visit the virtual event i.e. a virtual booth and collect materials, ask questions, and even meet the staff.
How effective is Event Marketing?
Event Marketing 2018: Benchmarks and Trends report says that 80% of Marketers believe that event marketing is the single-most successful marketing channel.
Another report by the Event marketing institute 58% of event marketing consumers went on to buy the marketed product after the event. The same report also states that 86% of these buyers became regular buyers of that particular product or service. The success of event marketing can be gauged by the fact that 44% of marketers claim to get a 3:1 return on investment through event marketing.
Such has been the success of event marketing that Forrester Research says that by 2020, 3.2Million global professional events will be held yearly.
Role of Event Marketing
1. To understand the buyer’s perspective
One of the foremost reasons why businesses opt for event marketing is to get a pulse on the authentic buyer’s perspective. Having a face-to-face conversation lets organizations get authentic insights and buyer feedback. This helps them understand what exactly the buyer’s need is and how he perceives their product or service. This information then helps them improve their product or service.
2. Branding and real-time experiences help increase buyer’s loyalty
Since event marketing helps consumers get connected to the organization in personal and focused ways, customers perceive it to be an emotional connect and thus remain loyal to the brand. In fact, reports on experiential marketing report that 72 percent of customers view brands that offer quality events positively.
Event marketing is an effective way to give a boost to the brand’s social media engagement. Businesses strategically use social media to drive social media engagements prior to a live event or after to a live event. Some steps which help them increase their social media engagements are by offering prizes, discounts, and coupons or by organizing contests or even by posting pre-event or post-event photographs. The above help them engage their consumers and thus build their brand’s community.
4. Lead generation
Event marketing such as trade shows helps businesses immensely in lead generation. Since the target demographic consumers are present in the trade shows that they participate in, they have a greater chance of getting leads on prospective consumers.
Event marketing is immensely helpful if done correctly and this is one of the preferred methods of marketing.