It's becoming increasingly common for businesses to hold in-person events like one-day sales, tastings, classes, or customer appreciation days. But many brands struggle to create a cohesive and effective event management and promotion strategy.
Coordinating between onsite and corporate teams can often be difficult. For instance, a local store may host an event that corporate doesn't even know about. While local teams are often encouraged to be proactive in this regard (corporate-driven events in local spaces may be out of touch with the local culture, or burdensome to the onsite team), if corporate isn't aware of the event, they won't be able to to give credit to the local team that hosted it — or measure the event's success. It can be easy for brands at the corporate level to let local events slip by without analyzing their impact.
Without an easy way to coordinate corporate and onsite teams, you're missing out on key opportunities to connect with local customers and drive in-store foot traffic. Here are a few things to think about when coordinating a winning event management and promotion strategy.
Deepen your relationship with your customer base.
Events are one of the best ways to acquire new customers, and grow the value of your existing customer base.
Millennials, in particular, are increasingly opting to spend on experiences rather than on consumer goods (75% prefer a concert or sporting event over the latest fashions). Reporting on millennial shopping behavior, EventPro strategies claims, "they've discovered that an experience makes them happier, and for a longer period." Because this customer segment is looking for experiences, you can connect those experiences to your brand by hosting events and promoting them across popular millennial channels frequently.
Think more broadly about what an event is.
When you think of an event it's easy to imagine a large venue with tickets and performers, or conferences that take lots of time and resources to plan and coordinate. However, there are many things your brand is already doing that customers (and search engines) consider events.
So give your customers an excuse to come in! Consider classes, tastings, workshops, fundraisers, product launches, charity drives, wellness clinics, street fairs, and more. Any special engagement, outside the course of normal business, is something you could — and should — promote on your website and across social media and event discovery sites.
Put the community back in community events**.**
Events can cement your reputation as a brand that brings together people in your local community. Once you start hosting events, you will establish your brand as one consumers can turn to when considering things to do during their free time.
In a survey of 3,000 urban event-goers in the U.S., 64% said they look to neighborhood guides when searching for things to do. So it's crucial that you market your events locally.
Even if your event is happening across all of your locations, take the time to create unique event pages and listings for every location. Events that are happening at every location across your brand should be treated as individual events so they can be promoted to local audiences with any nuances that may be required.
Ben & Jerry's has always understood the value of fostering community, and now puts a strong emphasis on promoting its in-store events online. To drive awareness for Free Cone Day (and to make it easy for customers to find participating stores), the popular ice cream brand created 200 events and published 800 events listings across discovery sites like Facebook and Eventbrite. Ben & Jerry's then received 6 million event impressions and 128,000 "Interested" or "Going" engagements on Facebook — contributing to 1.3 million scoops served on the big day.