At first blush it might seem as though real-world events are a nonstarter in the digital age, but nothing could be further from the truth. Events are still pivotal to good marketing, and digital is only enhanced by real-world efforts. Here are five tips to help you make the most of your events:
1 - Incorporate Technology
Farmers Bank & Trust created some healthy competition with individuals in the community while also supporting their local performing arts programs. They created a website with logos from eight high schools and then offered $4000 to support whichever school got the most votes. By pitting eight schools against each other, Farmers Bank & Trust received publicity and drummed up attention for themselves. Also, by making the icons on the website look like debit cards, Farmers Bank & Trust enjoyed relatively inexpensive direct advertising for this product.
When ATB Financial released their money management platform powered by MX, they created an innovative campaign to get the word out. First, they created a digital game where players balanced icons of typical expenses that dropped one by one onto a scale. Second, they placed coasters and posters in pubs throughout Alberta and used Blippar to let pub goers scan their advertisements to get immediate access to the game. Third, they sponsored a weekly contest to see who would get the highest score in the game. Each weekly winner got $100 to pad their budget.
2 - Cater to Individual Attendees
Certain clients and prospects deserve special attention. Perhaps they give you a generous number of leads each year, or perhaps they have the potential to give you tremendous loan revenue. Whatever the reason, one way to reach these clients and prospects is to throw them a special event — one that’s geared just for them.
For an elite event like this, everything should be personalized. Choose an activity that will appeal to this exact demographic, then create an invitation that gives off the “wow” factor and include a personalized, handwritten note. Also include a list of some of the other attendees, since many of these prospects and clients will be keen on networking and may only want to come if they know they’ll have the opportunity to meet someone new.
3 - Get Creative w/ Digital
Don’t be afraid to do something different. Most of the time, it’s the only way to get people’s attention.
Wells Fargo did a flash mob in Times Square that consisted of dozens of people dancing to the beat of drummers banging on trash cans. That might seem like a foolish thing for a marketing team to get involved with, but when you consider that the video of the flash mob has been viewed more than a million times, the value becomes clearer. One YouTube commenter said, “I think this was the most epic commercial I’ve ever seen.” Another said it was the “longest YouTube commercial I ever watched — 6 minutes 46 seconds.” What better attention could a marketing team hope to receive?
One more example: Eastern Bank hid some GoPro video cameras in secret locations around their market, then gave consumers clues to find them on the bank’s Facebook page. The project earned the bank some great free press, and it spiked traffic to their website by 20 percent.
4 - Master Community Outreach
There are plenty of institutions that enjoy the benefits of strong community outreach. For instance, Regions Bank has made an extra effort to reach out to their community, resulting in them grabbing the number one spot for customer satisfaction in 2015. As part of their Social Responsibility Program, they work with schools to create community gardens and run after school classes to teach kids about finances. They have also implemented similar programs for cancer patients and their families, building goodwill and making use of their particular expertise.
Bank of American Fork has found that their presence at community parades still results in benefits for smaller cities in their region. They participate in 18 such parades a year, and without this program they would be “conspicuously absent” in the community, according to their VP of Marketing.
In addition, you can leverage your community events to bolster your social media presence. Just make sure to have a competent photographer present and then post pictures to your social media feeds.
5 - Reach Out to a Younger Audience
By reaching out to a younger audience, you not only connect with your future revenue base, but you also you build your brand as youthful and vibrant. This positions you to appeal to all demographics since nearly every consumer wants to be seen as forward thinking.
Umpqua Bank has done some amazing things on this front, and they serve as a good role model to follow. They’ve sponsored a summer concert series at a winery in Washington, and they created a 40-foot dome where users immersed themselves in an interactive digital experience. They’ve even driven around in a branded ice cream truck and given out free ice cream. All of this establishes Umpqua as fresh and innovative in their region.
The Virgin Way by Richard Branson
The Event Marketing Handbook by Allison Saget
Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business by Danny Meyer
Interview w/ Lani Hayward on MoneySummit