Trade shows are a great way to meet customers, face-to-face. File photo

It’s your business: Event marketing a good way to get face-to-face with your customers

Joe Smith

Special to The Record

With the emphasis on utilizing social media and other online marketing tools along with traditional media formats, there is one other strategy than can enhance your profile and give you the opportunity to engage with your current or potential customers: event marketing.

It’s this ability to be able to interact with customers that can have a strong impact on buying decisions. These experiential marketing events, according to Event Marketing Evolution, have the potential of increasing revenue growth by 30 per cent.

One important observation is that it really doesn’t matter how big your event is or who you have partnered with, as long as you have done your homework and identified your target audience. With this knowledge, you can create an experience that can foster a favourable impression and help build lasting relationships.

Successful event marketers know that it is not enough to just show up but to take a more active role in reaching out to customers through direct face-to-face communication or by providing interactive displays that promote participation.

Event marketing like other strategies also needs a plan. Your overall approach may require you to be involved in more than one event. It could be that you have more than one target group, so a series of events, each directed towards a specific audience, may be more appropriate.

While each event can be unique, the one thing to remember is that your brand and its personality should remain front and centre. Consider what lasting impression you want customers to have of your company and tailor your efforts to enhance that perception.

Today, events come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, and can be held in all kinds of venues. From halls to hotels, your own premise to an outdoor festival and yes, even to doing something online, there are myriad ways to connecting personally with your customers.

Depending on your type of business and what you are trying to accomplish will determine what kind of events will work best for you.

Most common in building solid relationships are the physical events that require that personal touch such as consumer shows, trade shows or something as simple as a customer appreciation barbecue. You can never underestimate the power of a face-to-face meeting or the impact a handshake can have on a customer or prospect.

New technology will have a tremendous impact on every marketer’s ability to utilize a variety of online opportunities. From live streaming to virtual events, webinars to online conferences these will all allow marketers to reach out to a variety of target groups cost-efficiently.

Organizing and implementing an event takes time and most important a well-thought-out plan. Like any marketing strategy, you need to set realistic goals, incorporate a strong theme and include multiple touches in your advertising and promotion.

Whether you are trying to build your contact list, entertain and educate customers or raise money for a worthy cause, event marketing can go a long way in helping to achieve your goals.

Joe Smith is a communications consultant and an accomplished fine artist. He can be reached via email at joesmith@shaw.ca

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