When Event Marketing Goes Bad

Just like meeting the in-laws for the first time, there are no do-overs in Event Marketing.  Events can play a crucial part in a marketing campaign, so be at the top of your game and make them count.

First impressions are critical because they’re often the only touch point you may get with a potential consumer. That’s why a well run event can be an important tool in your marketing arsenal.  But you need to stay on your toes. There are no rehearsals and no sure things - just an event team that needs to be adequately prepared for anything.

At Cliffedge, our 360 degree marketing campaigns usually involve an experiential event of some kind. In 2014 alone; we worked 24 St. Louis Cardinals games for Eckert’s Farms’ Hayrides with the Hometeam promotion, we served ice cream to thousands of people at dozens of events for Prairie Farms, and in September we coordinated and staffed 38 mammography and breast health events, spanning six states, with The Power of the Pink program. We’re going out on a limb and saying, with some certainty, that we’re a fairly seasoned event crew.

Learning About Event Marketing the Hard Way

But despite our current ability to run an event as seamlessly as Usain Bolt runs the 100 meter dash, we can admit that it wasn’t always this way. Everyone has to start somewhere, and we didn’t get as good as we are without a few lessons learned the hard way.

One very important lesson (especially if you’re representing a client’s brand) is to always stay engaged in your event. And being prepared means being involved – know the purpose of the event inside and out so you don’t get caught doing one of the five most common event marketing mistakes listed below.

Beware the Five ‘DON’TS’ of Event Marketing

So much of marketing is knowing what NOT to do. Avoid these pitfalls, and you’ll be on your way to a great event.

1. Don’t twiddle your thumbs.

Act lively! Look excited! Be engaging! If you’re not excited about the product or promotion, why would anyone else be? Add that extra flare to get noticed or you can expect to be ignored. When you don’t engage the consumer, you do yourself, your client, and, most importantly, your consumer a disservice. People love entertainment, so a little excitement can go a long way.

2. Don’t look at your watch.

Two to three hours is nothing. You’ve spent more time standing in line to purchase Christmas gifts. And when you start worrying about how long the event has left, you’ve probably already broken Rule 1 (see above). Since time flies when you’re having fun, this is just a great excuse to start charming those customers and passing the time in a way that benefits the client and consumer. You’ll be finished before you know it and ready to get back to that holiday shopping.

3. Don’t be yourself.

Counterintuitive, I know. But you weren’t hired to talk about your personal hobbies or tonight’s big game. Leave your opinions about shoes or sports at home – you’re there to be excited about the product or experience you’re promoting because you never know what may turn off a consumer. Talking football, for instance, may create a bad impression if you say something negative about their favorite player, which then reflects poorly on your client. Or, you could have a great conversation and they’ll walk away with a good impression… of you, not the product! If you’re engrossed in off-topic conversation, you’ll miss the potential customers that were actually interested in the product.

4. Don’t take it personally.

It’s not about you. It’s about the product. And products aren’t for everyone. If your prospect isn’t interested or doesn’t want to participate once you’ve explained the promotion, let them go. The worst thing you can do is try to shove it down their throats. Hard sells can create a negative impression quickly. It’s best to let everyone, interested or not, leave with a pleasant experience. Plus, keeping your attention focused on those who still appear interested will lead to a bigger rate of conversions.

5. Don’t try to convert everyone.

Being able to identify the social cues that your potential customers are throwing out there will save you a lot of time and focus. If you can’t read the interest on their face in the instant you encounter them, you may create a bad experience for them, and ultimately for your promotion. A harried father dragging three kids behind him at the zoo will probably not want to participate in anything you’re offering unless it’s free babysitting. On the other hand, a solitary shopper taking their time through the grocery store will more than likely try your free sample and be open to hearing about your new product launch. Read your audience quickly and direct your attention accordingly.

Practice Makes Perfect with Event Planning

Events aren’t all about just avoiding the pitfalls; they actually become a really fun experience for you, your client and, of course, the consumers.

As you work more events, you’ll get sharper at being able to identify who will and who won’t participate in your activity. Your sales pitch and excitement will become more natural and people will feed off of your excitement. You’ll even be able to detach from your own interests and shine the spotlight on your promotion.

Yes, practice makes perfect when it comes to preparing your team for executing a successful event, but don’t forget that the experts at Cliffedge Marketing are always here if you need help creating the perfect event for your business. Contact us for a free consultation today!

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