Whether it be through the number of attendees, volume of direct sales or the social outreach generated, discerning the success or failure of a staged event is a top priority for any organiser or marketer. Metrics are one thing, but is the industry in too much of a rush to calculate before the job is done?
During my time supporting the events industry, I’ve noticed that companies are often very quick to wrap up one successful project, and then move straight onto the next one. Rather than exploiting every opportunity – even after the doors shut on the physical event – the focus often shifts to the next biggest and brightest thing. Sadly, this ‘launch and leave’ culture is costing companies a great deal of value from each event they host.
Think about how much it costs to begin a brand new conversation with one consumer. If you are someone who regularly puts on large-scale, consumer events, then it’s likely you already know. Now, think about how much less effort it requires to keep an existing conversation going with an already engaged individual. This is where technology can come to the fore and help keep your customers engaged long after the lights go out.
Today’s technology can offer brands the opportunity to bridge the gap with its consumers. When used effectively, it gives attendees the opportunity to interact live with their favourite event or brand on an almost one to one level. This personalisation gives customers a sense of affinity with the event and, by extension, the brand hosting. No consumer wants to feel like just one of many faces in the crowd, and this is where technology can play to its strengths.
Practical campaign ideas might include creating content to be used post-event, which has been personalised using photos or comments from the individual, to make them feel part of something bigger. Collating videos into a user-generated review is another underused but highly engaging route for consumer facing brands. Awarding the best photo from the activation is a great way of running a post-event competition and continuing to generate a buzz around the event. These simple strategies that can often lead to sustainable relationships with consumers maximise ROI from an event.
O2’s recent ‘Wear the Rose’ England Rugby sponsorship activation was a great example of this. O2’s ambition was to start a nationwide dialogue of national pride, which commenced with a live event with Take That and the England Rugby team. To extend the reach of the engagement, O2 beamed tweets of support from customers onto the roof of The O2 in North Greenwich, among other locations throughout the country. As well as engaging the attendees of the event itself, the stunt allowed for a social media dialogue with fans and customers, which O2 was able to continue long after the event was over.
This, in my opinion, is where the real value from events lies. Engaging with consumers and turning them into empowered ambassadors for your brand is as important as getting them to the event in the first place. If you provide an experience that is innovative enough to get people talking and sharing, then you have a platform to open a dialogue with your audience. It is then, and only then, that you can really make the most of the opportunity.
While incorporating technology into events is now almost universally expected, I would encourage anyone planning their next brand event or marketing campaign to think more tactically about this integration. This forethought will not only improve levels of social interaction, but also greatly increase event ROI. Is the technology you’re using a ‘nice to have’, or does it have the potential to facilitate the creation of sustainable customer relationships? Don’t fall into the trap of launching and leaving. It’s time for your brand to harness technology and create a lasting impression, one customer at a time.
Blog post published on Digital Marketing Magazine