How Do YOU Define a Simply Great Event?

Bonnie Hansen, CMP | April 26, 2017

The traditional trade show floor is a great place to showcase product innovation and build brand awareness. At the same time, it’s led many marketers to question how to improve upon the connections made and how to achieve a deeper or extended value from this format. The answer often lies in an integrated off-the-show floor event offering designed to establish trust and build awareness in a more personal way.

In truth, there is no reason to put a boundary around the elements of your live marketing program. Seamless integration requires the ability to view every face-to-face engagement as part of an infinite spectrum of opportunity. How many times and ways can we make a positive impression upon our customers? Your primary consideration should always be how to authentically and effectively get your message across to your target customer(s). And that will look different for every organization.

Don’t miss an opportunity. Live marketing is the most successful way to build participants into your story across a longer time or deeper schedule of engagements. In that light, the possibilities extend far beyond any single trade show floor.

I encourage you to stretch your thinking. How can you get more leverage with your event program?

  • Customer/Client Events. Your exhibit experiences certainly qualify as significant events, but it’s time to think beyond the booth. How can you use the same well-conceived marketing direction and apply it to get more bang for your buck? Should you deliver an offshoot Exchange Program or “Maker Series” to build your brand as an industry thought leader? Or do you need to break down barriers and offer access with a “Coffee with the CEO”? Should you create a V.I.P. off-site event to establish appreciation and brand loyalty? Or maybe launch a new product that can be used in practical application---like a desert jeep scavenger hunt to showcase a GPS system? And what about all of that post-trade show follow-up? Can you offer up the “next step” with an invitation to a proprietary regional event? Or host an Open House at one of your facilities? Can you tie-in with a charitable organization to do good while building street cred? Deeper engagements build trust. Trust influences your sales.
  • Internal Events. The same approach taken with your external marketing should be applied to your employee and partner events. This can include traditional sales meetings or internal launches, team-building sessions and training, corporate recognition programs and awards – think bigger and you’ll get the picture. These programs enable you to connect in a meaningful way with the people who bring your brand to life. At the same time, they offer great PR opportunities to help your company shine. Outside of increased sales and productivity, impact can be measured in terms of hiring and retention benchmarks as well as the goodwill and social responsibility you embrace.
  • Public-facing Events and Sponsorships. Suppliers, partners, media, neighbors – being a good corporate citizen extends far beyond your front door. Events that drive PR opportunities let your company shine. An effort here can keep the focus on who you are and what you do and can leverage your brand in a myriad of ways, from building excitement for your offerings to obtaining needed capital to fuel your growth. Imparting a social media spin gives you the word-of-mouth assurance that cements your success in the minds of your stakeholders. Showcase your authentic and brand relevant partnerships with the community, associations and charitable organizations.

Leveraging the synergies of many types of opportunities makes good sense when you consider how you will invest in your live marketing budget. Building event programs that connect people to your brand and products is a crucial component of your marketing mix.