It’s game day. Picture yourself as a diehard Green Bay Packers fan. You’re heading to Lambeau Field to root on your favorite team against bitter rivals: the Chicago Bears. Thanks to heavy traffic and the stress of finding the right parking lot, it’s now only 20 minutes before kickoff, and you’re aching to get to your seat.
As you race to secure a spot in the entrance line, a man ambushes you with a question: “How would you like to go in this trailer to see an interactive exhibit of Brett Favre’s incredible career?”
Even the biggest Favre fan would struggle to say yes. At any other moment, you might jump at the opportunity, but the game is about to start.
What kind of experience is this, anyway? You’re wearing a Favre jersey already, and you have three signed footballs at home. You pass on the opportunity, even if it aligns with your interests in a convenient location, because you can’t see how this will enrich your Favre-loving life. Now, the exhibit rep feels more like an obstacle than a fellow fan. You politely race past the human pop-up ad and head to your seat, forgetting all about the potential experience within seconds.
In modern society, event planners and marketing agencies regularly make this faux pas. In their exuberance to flaunt their upcoming gatherings, they forget to focus on the target’s frame of mind. And they get blocked before their messaging can work its magic.
To avoid being seen in a negative light, your objective should focus on being in the right place at the right time with the right message, all while your target is open to your message.
1. Vet your venue
Ideally, your event needs to be set up in a place where passersby either already know or care deeply about your brand. For example, if you were selling football jerseys, you wouldn’t hang out in the middle of the woods; you’d head straight for the stadium or set up outside of bars where the game is being aired. How will you know the best locales to host more modern-day events? Use the data you have on hand, as well as your ideal customer personas. That way, you’ll always be among friends.
2. Target your timing
Even if you’re in the best spot to attract top buyers, they need to be in the right mindset to willfully engage with you. Forget about asking for their full attention when they’re distracted, like a frazzled fan rushing to his or her seat. You’ll be wasting time and effort, not to mention risking a bad experience. Instead, look for opportunities when your prospective customers have time to kill and are in the mood to participate in an immersive experience. Worried this is not possible because of the busy lifestyles of your core audience? Then, make your event snappy and eye-catching. You can also hand out swag bags to encourage them to revisit your social media pages later online.
3. Ace your appearance
Devote time and effort to making your event comfortable and remarkable. Walk through the event experience from beginning to end and look for any rough spots. For example, are attendees unable to see what’s going on before entering your space? This can cause a “sketchy” ambiance. Instead, turn your event into more of an open-air forum to encourage people to feel at ease. Is your brand ambassador practically begging people to attend the event? Then, you need something that sparks interests and speaks louder than words. For our Tractor Supply Company events, we put a “lasso the mechanical pig” activity near the entrance — everyone wants to take a turn, and people rarely walk by without giving in to their natural curiosity.
Although it’s unlikely that your event marketing mistakes will completely ruin a crucial, rivalry-fueled football game, those errors can still have significant consequences for your company’s future. Give each event the serious strategic planning it deserves, and your brand’s events will soon be irresistible.