February 27, 2018
The Marriage Of Digital Marketing And Live Events
If you are a small business owner or a marketer of any kind, you may have heard of CIMC. This annual conference brings in 40+ marketing leaders from globally recognized brands every year. This year, they are headlining speakers from Microsoft, Facebook, Instagram, Hootsuite, MEC, Adobe, and more.
We’ve gotten the honour to market this event and in the last month, we’ve done a lot of work on it. I thought there was no better time to talk a little bit about the ying and yang of live events and digital marketing, and how they complement one another for most business marketing.
What are the benefits of hosting an event?
In terms of CIMC, the event is exactly what we market — we want to grow awareness to grow sales. Our audience gains a lot from the event (knowledge, networking, and opportunity) and we gain a lot from them attending the event (email opt-in, brand trust, ticket sales, etc.).
What makes an event so strong is that the ticket sales aren’t where the rewards stop. Amidst the campaign, the brand is gaining brand awareness and a larger audience, and all on a very personal level — building unique long-term results that are hard to get anywhere else. For example, someone who attends CIMC 2018 will have a strong connection with the brand and, if positive, will want to come back for CIMC 2019.
It’s no mystery that personal interaction, while harder to attain, leaves an impression that surpasses the subtle and continuous marketing of the digital world. But does that mean one handshake in person is better than a stellar video that pops up on a customer’s Facebook three times in one week? Not at all.
The beauty of these two avenues, and really any assortment of media, is that each take on a very different message. Digital marketing is made for brand awareness—a continuous message that slowly catches the attention of your customers and reminds them about you and, oh I don’t know, an event.
Event marketing makes an entirely different impact. It’s the personal and memorable touch. It connects your customers to you in a way that is much harder to get buried by noise or distraction.
Whether they walk away from your event having purchased your product or service, your brand will be the first thing they think of when they eventually do.
What if an event doesn’t line up with my business?
Whether you are a business that runs events or not — it can be an exciting way to build up the brand and connection to your audience.
Maybe you sell vacuums? There can be a lot of impacts that come from an event (maybe just on a smaller scale than CIMC). For example, invite your customers or local families to an open house where they can have live demonstrations of new vacuums. Throw some dirt on the rug and show them what your product is capable of!
When you make that direct personal contact with your audience, you create a lasting and unique impression on them. On top of that, your interaction gains brand awareness, brand loyalty, and brand value all in one (as long as the vacuum works when you’re showing it off).
The key is to give your customers an incentive that matches up with your brand and what the customer is looking to you for. When it comes to CIMC, there is a lot of value that the audience gets: information from 40 of the most influential marketers in North America, ideal networking opportunities, a free marketing handbook, and more.
For a regular business, this means using what you have in a way that benefits your customers. Let’s go back to the vacuum analogy.
How are you going to get people into a vacuum store? Maybe they get the chance to be entered into a draw for a free vacuum or receive a discount on a local store’s carpet cleaner! Give the audience something that matches up with them and your brand, and whether they walk away with a vacuum that day or not, an in-person interaction can build brand trust that will beat out billboards or digital advertisements any day.
The second thing an event needs is, of course, people. How do you get people to your event? This comes back to the benefits of marrying the digital world and the real world. Digital marketing is one of the most effective ways to get your customers attention.
As a digital marketing agency running CIMC, we’re using social media, paid advertising, video clips, email marketing, and of course, building a website to showcase event information. We use a dynamic plan to reach very specific audiences that we know are interested in our event, making for a greater return.
So whether you’re selling an event or selling vacuums, take advantage of what you offer and what your customer looks to you for. When you line those up with a little creativity, you can come with a memorable way to show off who you are.
But will an event be worth it for my business?
This kind of “live testing” is not new for marketing. For years, companies have leveraged free samples and pop-up shops to bring clients a taste of their product or service. But this classic strategy should not be overlooked — giving a customer a real experience is one of the most memorable ways to leave a mark.
When it comes to CIMC, the main product is an event, but the brand impact that the 2018 conference will make is incredible leverage when continuing forward into 2019 and so on. Similarly to this, a brand can use an event to create excitement and a lasting impression on customers depending on the long-term goals.
Products or services that are more of an investment are primed for event marketing. The more money a customer has to spend, the more they need to be able to trust what they are purchasing.
Obviously, it’s a lot harder to bring people out to an event and this should not be the only marketing technique. But the dynamics of both digital marketing and live events bring the perfect 1–2 punch that leaves an unparalleled impression you can’t get anywhere else.
Curious about CIMC? It might be a good place to plan your business’ 2018 marketing plan. You can check out conference details here.