You have probably seen advertisements in a business magazine, newspaper or a flyer about trade shows and exhibitions in your city. All of them have a common theme: promotion of a business and marketing of products. Such events are commonly organized by an industry alliance, your city’s business promotion department or even by the state or federal government. There are also companies whose business relies on organizing such events.
Common marketing events include trade shows, meetings, sponsorships, concerts, etc.
Marketing events are a very popular way for small businesses to reach out to potential customers and see what your competitors are doing in the market. They enable you interact face-to-face with people and understand what they would like to see in your products, as well as understand in real time what your rivals’ selling points are.
In the age where marketing through the internet and Facebook are increasingly common, this time tested method of events has comfortably held its own. Irrespective of advances in technology and the various methods of staying in touch from far away, customers always want to “feel connected to the brand in the real world.” This becomes even more important when you realize that there is no substitute to understanding a customer in person and trying to establish a long term relationship with him. In spite of things having moved so far ahead from when we inherited the business; that age old philosophy will always hold true: small business will thrive when they personally know the people they do business with.
Not only this, there is an additional positive to consider here: that of goodwill. When the customer attends an event, he remembers and thinks about it for a long time. Whenever he purchases something of the kind you sell, he will think of you first. Marketing events make you memorable.
There are two basic ways of participating in marketing events:
it’s a widely held myth that being small business owner, you cannot host marketing events. An event does not necessarily have to be operated from the city town hall or an expensive auditorium. You can simply advertise that you will open to talk about your business in detail during a dedicated time when you anticipate a large footfall at your doorstep. For example, two owners on the weekend to show kids different toys you have in the store, or a demo of the newest video game around. Similarly, a bakery can simply offer a small packet of complementary cookies to gauge their potential sales.
You are involved in providing some kind of support to the event organizers: donation of money, time or items that you sell and that can attract the event’s attractiveness. In return, your company’s name is positioned in such a way that whoever reads about the event, is compelled to read your name as a sponsor. Usually, you get dedicated space to write about your company in the event flyers or marketing material.
People commonly believe that spending money on hosting marketing events is expensive but does not yield results. However, consider this: you decide who is to be invited, how and when you will follow up with them, what they like in the product, etc. So you will only tell what suits them best, and that more often than not makes them buy from you. Remember, they came to your event because they are interested in knowing more about you and what you sell.
On the other hand, when you are the sponsor of an event, your business’ name reaches a wide audience. You get to be amongst your peers, and chances are some of them will be new to you. In these fiercely competitive times, that additional bit of knowledge may tip the scales in your favor. When people come to you at the event, they provide you their contact details and you get a warm lead. Again, the lead is warm because the prospect wants that product and has shown some interest in you. You could use online registration to capture contact details, so they are always with you in a format that you can easily study using a simple spreadsheet.
Even after the event is over, there is no reason to throw away that list of precious contacts. Having been in business for some time, you know that every product has a shelf life, and in some time, the prospect will be shopping again. With some experience, you will know when to warm up that cold lead, and convert him into a client.
Remember, it is possible you have a small business. But that does not impose a barrier on how large your brand can be. If people found value in your event, they will want to purchase from you. More importantly, they will talk about it at their own social gatherings. And these gatherings will benefit you without you having to invest anything at all.
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