Thursday, April 20, 2017

Tips For Successful Event Marketing

A successful special event takes more than an engaging program and an open bar, it requires strategic marketing to drive attendance at, and create a buzz surrounding, the event experience.

Following is an essential event marketing checklist to keep the effort on track:

  1. Why/Who? Consider these questions first: Why and to whom are you marketing your event? Is this an annual meeting? A women in leadership event? The answers will shape messaging and drive marketing decisions.
  2. Survey. Send out a survey prior to the event—the responses will help shape content and can be used to generate ideas for session topics, speakers, etc.
  3. Invitations. Start with a save-the-date (card or email) 8 weeks out; and 4 weeks prior, follow with an invitation that provides complete event details.
  4. Content. Make it relevant to your audience. If it’s not, leave it out.
  5. Email. Take advantage of your regular email campaign schedule and use that as a platform to promote your event.
  6. Blog. Beginning four weeks prior to your event, blog weekly. Add videos to engage your audience: If you have footage from the previous year’s event, use that to drive interest and excitement; or create new video highlighting speakers, entertainment, venue, etc.
  7. Homepage link. In all communication (email, blog, social channels) provide a link back to your event homepage where people can register.
  8. Social media. Take advantage of all social media channels to market your event before, during and after. Facebook is the most popular social media choice leading up to and after an event, while Twitter holds the top spot during events. (Source: FreemanXP, Event Marketing Institute)
  9. Track results. Check to see what’s working from the links in different channels (i.e., email, blog, Facebook). Redeploy as applicable.
  10. Promo items. Consider your audience and put thought into choosing a useful and/or unique gift.
Prior to the event, I always meet with my team to help outline individual charges: During the event, who do you want to meet? What are you hoping to glean? What does that conversation look like? 

This is the event marketing framework that I’ve found to be most useful. Are there other items that you would add?  Connect with me

Megan Smith

Megan has been with Shamrock for a year and a half and previously in advertising and Event Sales for 14 years.  She has a son who is a freshman in high school and plays baseball and hockey.  She loves Cleveland sports, plus is looking forward to attending the Masters next year.  Megan is the beloved “Kick-Ball Manager” here at Shamrock for our team that competes in Flashes of Hope to raise money for childhood cancer.  

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Using Social Media to Increase Engagement in Higher Education

Know your audience: It’s the key to every successful marketing effort.  In the higher education  market, when a campaign is aimed at students, there is one essential link that connects with them above all others: Their cell phones.

A recent study from Baylor University found that female college students spend an average of 10 hours a day on their cell phones, while male students spend nearly eight hours. Most of that time is spent texting, followed by emailing, and checking social media feeds (in that order).

That data helped to formulate a targeted marketing solution for my client: a private university with 10,000 students. The university was looking for a new way to connect with students on campus, to foster a greater sense of school pride, tradition and community involvement.

We proposed an outreach program using social media as the main marketing channel to build those connections. And here’s why:
--It’s immediate. Social media campaigns centered around campus events, activities and performances spark interest and reaction in real time
--It’s transcendent. Social media feeds are effective in creating buzz before and after an event; and are shared with friends/family/community for a broader reach
--It’s engaging. These campaigns generate excitement about campus events that connect people as part of a shared experience—whether students are participants, are following an event feed, or are merely reacting to or sharing a post
--It’s personal. Students want to hear from other students—using students as the voice of the campaign creates a more compelling connection than does the message delivered by a third party

While our campus campaign is still in the planning stages, we do know that the most successful campaigns are those that start with strong, targeted messaging, and that use multiple channels to connect with the audience. When you consider that college students most often have their cell phones in hand, social media and email marketing are two fail-proof ways to make those connections. I’ll be sure to share the campaign results upon conclusion.

Which is the best channel for marketers to connect with you? Consider that question as you craft your next campaign.

Best of luck,

Tom Backus

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Dare To Be Different To Make The Difference!

Dare To Be Different—and Outwork Your Competition

In the world of marketing, it often feels as if everyone is trying to sell something. Everyone wants to
be the person to deliver the latest and greatest products and services to the masses. But if we are all climbing the same mountain at the same time, how do we make it to the top? How do we stand out above the competition and achieve success?
Just be different. Ask yourself how you can get in front of perspective clients and what you can bring to the table that others won’t.

Start by constantly reinventing your business: Don’t let yourself get pigeonholed into one genre of resources. Set yourself up for success by targeting and profiling companies with which you want to work. Then, apply consistent marketing tactics using multiple quality touches, for ultimate exposure. These tactics could include phone calls, emails, self-promo marketing campaigns, direct-mail pieces, etc. Just make sure your touches are creative and highlight all your capabilities: digital, mobile apps, postage-savings tactics, etc. The point is to catch your audience with an “ah-ha” revelation.

Once you’ve grabbed their attention, don’t just present one solution. Use this opportunity to consult on an entire marketing package for a project and present EVERYTHING.  Think of the project from your client’s point of view. Use the mindset, “you brought me here to provide X, but I can also give you Q, R and S!” This avenue of presentation will be time-consuming but ultimately will earn business. Take your time—and stand out.

When it’s time to execute, gain your customers’ trust and confidence by communicating what to expect until the products are in-hand. A Thank You email, followed by proofs, ship dates and tracking confirmations will keep both parties connected and involved. This extensive customer service will push you ahead of the competition.

After your transaction, keep in contact. Present new ideas and cutting-edge solutions. This approach is more consultative and educational than trying to “sell” something. Offer to hold lunch
meetings to present these ideas. Whether you get one or 12 people in a room over sandwiches, the exposure is critical. Show them what’s new and hot from each aspect of your portfolio; perhaps a new mobile app or trending direct mail items. Bring solutions to the table to remind your customers that you are one contact with multiple resources, reinforcing the value and time savings they enjoy by working with you, and not seven different companies.

This path will not be easy. Each of these tactics takes time, effort and creative brainpower, but hopefully will set you at the top of the mountain. You will not only rise above the competition, but will no longer be selling stuff. Now, you’re providing solutions, you’ve developed solid relationships with your customers—and it all started by being different.

Bob De Garmo

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Take Control. Beat Cancer.

It feels good to be in control—or at least, to have a handle on things within your reach. But that kind of security isn’t always in the cards. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with cancer, then you get it: A cancer diagnosis is a line-drive foul ball that you didn’t see coming.   

Three years ago, my sister-in-law, Katie, was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma at age 32. It was news that sent my family reeling—and the reason I accepted the nomination to fight for those battling blood cancers as part of THE LEUKEMIA & LYMPHOMA SOCIETY'S (LLS) 2017 Man & Woman of the Year Campaign.

When she was diagnosed, Katie was the picture of health. She is also one of the most positive people I know, which played in her favor. Katie fought a long, hard battle and won. During her chemotherapy treatments, she took drugs that threw her body into a nauseating faux menopause to protect her eggs. One year later, she got pregnant.  Today, with 14-month-old Luke running circles around her, Katie is battling bladder cancer. So, her fight continues—and she faces it every day with that same positive mindset and amazing resolve.

I’m grateful for the treatments and therapies that have written a promising next chapter for Katie.  But there is so much more to be done. With Katie as my inspiration, I’m working to help raise funds for LLS for research and treatments. My team, KATIE’S BLOOD, SWEAT & TEARS TOUR, is competing against other teams in NE Ohio in a 10-week fundraising campaign.  

PLEASE JOIN US in giving cancer patients a fighting chance. EVERY DONATION helps! I’m asking for only two things:

  • 1.      Click on this link to access our team page and make your tax-deductible donation online.
  • 2.     Forward this blog to your friends and family

On behalf of Katie, the Connor family, and others who are battling to gain their footing and fight back—thank you.

Tim Connor