There’s no marketing as effective as in-person meetings, and you no doubt have several chances per year to make the most of in-person business events. But have you recognized all the opportunities, the ones your company can make, as well as already established trade shows and conferences? Create opportunities to market at an event, imagine unique ways to do that marketing at any event, and you’ll find yourself generating new business.
Make It Happen
Why wait for the industry to create your event-related marketing opportunities when you can do it yourself? Small or locally based businesses especially can market effectively in some unexpected ways and places.
Sponsor a local sports team and make the season opener an event. Set up a table with information/giveaways and wear a team t-shirt. If sound is available, compose PA announcements to let people know you’re rooting for your team. Make it clear: You’ve sponsored them, and you plan to support them. Is there any better way to market your business as part of the community?
Hold a well-publicized open house. Use a digital printing service to create special business cards, informational flyers, and posters. Free food and drink are always popular, but there’s no need to break the bank. Just be there with your employees for informal chats—the personal touch goes a long way. Your best marketing strategy starts with a thank you for coming and shows some interest in who your visitor is, rather than a sales pitch. Send them off with a branded takeaway they can use, and everybody wins.
Do Something Unexpected
If you’ve been to trade shows and conferences, chances are you’ve seen a lot of same-old, same-old. The trick is to get and keep visitors’ attention long enough and often enough that they’ll remember you later. You might, for example:
- Provide a charging station at your booth and create a company related crossword people can work while they power up.
- Choreograph a company flash mob, starring your own employees.
- Hire a one-man band to roam the halls with your company logo on his bass drum.
- Provide branded coasters for open bars.
There are any number of clever ideas. But never forget: The most important elements of marketing effectively at events are a) having a message, and b) communicating it in some memorable, easily reinforceable way. Before you can clearly communicate your brand, regardless of venue, know what you want to say and who you want to say it to. That’s where successful event marketing begins.