Tuesday, September 13, 2016

4 Reasons Why Events Really Work (and can make your customers fall in love with your brand)!

Back in medieval times before Event Planning was an official job description, I landed a great job coordinating events and conferences. I wasn’t called an event manager or anything fancy like that. I was simply a marketing assistant tasked with coordinating a myriad of details for corporate events across the country. I thought, not bad for a pretty young thing with no experience!

I remember calling my mother, giddy with excitement, to share the news.

But like any loving parent concerned for her child’s financial future and perhaps lack of good judgment, she said, “Oh, honey, you might want to look for something else. I mean, how much money can there be in throwing parties.”

Well, we now know that the events and meeting planning industry contributes over $395 billion dollars to GDP totals and requires advanced management skills equal to an engineering project manager.

Sorry mom, but special events today are nothing like the swanky little soirees that you and dad use to throw for your friends.

Don’t get me wrong, my parent’s den parties were pretty epic. Lots of dancing, drinking, and tasty hors d'oeuvres which my mom spent all afternoon making. But if you share my mother’s belief that events are just about throwing parties with fancy finger foods, you’re ignoring one of the most powerful marketing tools on the shelf.

Events are one of the best marketing channels to reach your target audience.

In this impersonal digital age where customers are demanding more authentic connections, here are four reasons why event marketing works and should be at the top of your ‘to-do’ list:
  1.  A well-produced event allows your brand to get intimate with customers and create moments. There is nothing more impactful than standing shoulder-to-shoulder with a client, as they experience your product or service or talk with you one-on-one. This is a chance to engage with clients and share details and insight that you couldn’t possibly do online. The bonus is you usually reach more than one client at a time.
  2. Special events provide a stage for telling your story and a place to demonstrate what the brand stands for and let people know the people behind the brand. There is no better platform for telling the “why” of your business and to create unbreakable bonds than breaking bread together. Remember, facts tell, but stories sell – and this alone can grow your business.
  3. If branding is the sum total of the customers’ experience, and it is, then events are an essential key to branding. Immerse your customers in unique and transformative experiences, and they will remember your brand forever.  People are no longer coming out for long presentations with wine & cheese. By invoking all five of a customer’s senses, you’re guaranteed to receive, ‘thank you from the bottom of my heart’ responses – these moments cannot be duplicated in a print ad or digital medium. Engaged customers will post, share and talk about their experience with others.
  4. Events are the perfect binding energy for people to coalesce around – creating an ideal environment for collaboration with others. The gathering of a cool brand, customers, and a worthy cause will spark conversations and create synergy. I often partner my event with a charity to create a buzz that also attracts media attention – a win-win for everyone involved.

Even if you produce just one or two stellar events a year, this can intensify the effectiveness of your marketing – increase your SEO and boost your social media presence. Special events should be part of every savvy marketer’s integrated marketing strategy, complete with targeted goals and sophisticated messaging.

The people of Spain have a beautiful, almost untranslatable word called, sombremesa. This word embodies the concept of lingering table talk after a meal, digesting and savoring both the food and the friendship. My parents were the experts at excusing the kids and creating an atmosphere for adults to connect after dinner. And in dating, as in business, this intimate time is where the ‘make or break’ of the relationship is determined.

 If you want to cut through the noise in a crowded marketplace, gather people together for an event and entice them to stay for a little la sombremesa.


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