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To elevate your live event game, you probably wouldn’t look to Maroon 5’s wedding-crashing stunt for inspiration. But you might reconsider when you recognize the massive engagement the chart-topping band achieved through a combination of digital marketing and in-person connections.
To create footage for their “Sugar” video, band members traveled around Los Angeles and crashed weddings, surprising couples with concerts at their receptions. The resulting music video perfectly captures the reactions of the brides, grooms, and wedding guests and has become a viral marketing asset.
This stunt not only speaks to the benefits of experimenting with fan engagement, but it’s also a testament to the power of face-to-face marketing and its infinite potential when paired with digital technology. Because without the reach of social media — news outlets picked up the story and wedding guests flooded Instagram and YouTube with images of the momentous surprise — how many people outside of the couples’ extended families would have heard about it?
Face-to-face marketing simply isn’t enough in the digital age, even for celebrities such as Maroon 5’s Adam Levine. Unless you combine in-person efforts with a digital and mobile marketing strategy, you’ll miss out on a significant number of opportunities for customer engagement.
The combined power of digital and face-to-face marketing
Face-to-face marketing is powerful because it engages customers on a physical and emotional level. Just consider that 78% of Millennials are more inclined to become part of a brand when they’ve had a face-to-face interaction. Giving customers a live experience creates a sensory interaction that influences their product preferences and perception of your brand.
However, customer expectations have changed. As consumers use more technology and social media in their everyday lives, their attention spans are getting shorter and their expectations for interaction are getting higher. Even if you’re killing it with face-to-face marketing, the majority of customers are already up to 90% of the way through the buying journey before they reach out to you. If you wait until an event to interact with consumers, you’ve already missed out on a significant portion of their journey.
Fortunately, you don’t need to choose one approach over the other. You simply need to plan ways to connect on digital platforms before, during, and after the event. To create a more powerful marketing experience, start with this 10-point checklist:
1. Build social media blueprints
Create a hashtag so you can start a conversation and spur excitement before the event. Use social networks to poll attendees, and identify ways to exceed their expectations and create a more valuable in-person experience. Spread the word in LinkedIn forums and groups, and tweet frequently. Make sure your tweets and updates don’t all center around the event, though. Also share other relevant content to keep your messages fresh.
2. Plan out email and text messaging campaigns
Evaluate your prospective customer base, and identify strategic deals and updates that will drive engagement during the event. Plan and organize these campaigns in advance.
3. Automate as much as possible
Advanced registration systems give attendees the chance to advertise their registration on social networks. For example, use a Twitter API to auto-populate a tweet such as “I’ve registered for #Event, have you?” to help event attendees network beforehand. Then, use your email and text marketing campaign to engage with customers and prospects over time.
4. Build a landing page to spark interest
Create a landing page to share videos, pictures, and comments on the event experience. Brainstorm and develop YouTube videos surrounding the event to build awareness and tease attractions at your booth.
5. Engage on social media during the event
Have employees live tweet the event so others can share in the experience. Offer exclusive deals and specials for customers who see the messages, and use your event account to share updates and news.
6. Use location information to drive interactions
Geofencing and beacon technology can help you target customers with promotional or educational content based on their particular location at the event. Attendees can also track their own location and find other attendees with similar interests.
7. Use a contest to solicit photos and video
Create a contest that attendees can enter by sharing a photo or video from the event. Not only will this allow attendees to take part in the festivities, but those who don’t attend will also have a chance to experience the fun by checking out the entries.
8. Get active on your website
Use your website to give real-time feedback from the show floor, and publish blog posts each evening that describe the day’s events. To take it to the next level, use your website to live stream a press conference if you’re announcing important news.
9. Follow through with your contest
Name a winner, and celebrate via social media by creating a video using all the footage and photos you collected.
10. Connect with customers you didn’t meet
Secure the final attendee database, and develop an email marketing campaign to reach out to prospects you were unable to meet at the show.
Although face-to-face marketing remains an integral strategy for engaging and exciting your target audience, you also need to meet today’s digital consumers on their turf. Elevate your in-person experience by integrating digital and mobile tactics into your next event. Consumers will appreciate the refreshing face-to-face interactions and your digital efforts as well.
How will you take a multi-pronged approach to marketing at your next live event?
Image: Croswald9 via Flickr.