January 16, 2018
Many experiential marketing activations take place at festivals, shopping malls, and college campuses, but these are far from the only appropriate venues. Brands who are thinking of attending an upcoming conference should consider hosting an experiential marketing event at the same time.
The Benefits of Hosting An Experiential Marketing Event During A Conference
The main benefit of hosting an event during a conference is the fact that the organizers of the conference have done much of the heavy lifting for you. The organizers have booked the venue, promoted the event, and invited people who are interested in what your business is selling. This takes a huge burden off of marketers who don’t have to worry about whether or not people will show up to the event. Even if you’re hosting the event near the conference instead of within the same venue, the conference will still generate a significant amount of foot traffic that you will not have to pay for.
Now that all of this is already taken care of, you can spend more time on making sure the event that you plan is memorable. You can also allocate more financial resources to making the event unforgettable since you don’t have to spend as much of your total budget on promotion.
Tips For Successful Experiential Marketing Events
Hosting an experiential marketing event during a conference is very different from hosting an event in another setting. Therefore, don’t assume that you know how to make the event a success simply because you’ve hosted an experiential marketing event in the past.
First, it’s important to keep in mind that there will be two groups of attendees at the conference: potential customers and existing customers. Some brands choose to only target potential customers with their experiential marketing event, but don’t make this mistake. There’s no reason to ignore existing customers simply because you don’t need to win them over. In fact, you should be doing the exact opposite by interacting with existing customers during the event in order to introduce them to new products or services. Some brands even use conferences as an opportunity to host “Customer Appreciation” experiential marketing events where they can build deeper relationships with their existing customers.
Most industry conferences will have unique hashtags that they encourage attendees to use when posting about the event on social media. If you plan on hosting an experiential marketing event during a conference, it’s important to identify this hashtag as soon as possible. Why? You will need to stay on top of who is using this hashtag so you can determine if any influencers are at the event. If they are, reach out to them via social media to invite them to your experiential marketing event. You should also go to any seminars or panel discussions where influencers will be appearing. If there’s an opportunity to meet the influencers after the event, don’t be afraid to tell them about your event. Since they’re already attending the conference, stopping by your booth isn’t a big inconvenience.
You also need to know about the conference’s hashtag so you can incorporate it into your social media posts. If you are hosting an event during the conference, come up with a unique hashtag that combines the conference’s hashtag with your brand. For example, the television show Mr. Robot hosted an event during the South by Southwest festival in 2016. The festival’s hashtag was #SXSW, so Mr. Robot created the hashtag #MrRobotSXSW to promote the event.
Finally, brands should also consider posting live updates from the conference, not just during their event, but throughout the entire conference. Why? People on social media will realize that you’re posting a lot of information about the conference, so they’ll know that you’re the go-to source for everything they need to know about the conference. Then, they’ll visit your social media pages for highlights throughout the duration of the conference. In addition to seeing important takeaways from the conference, these new followers will also be exposed to videos and photos from your event. Even though they couldn’t be at the event in person, they’ll still get to connect with your brand. Because they’ve relied on you for updates from the conference, they may also start to look at your brand as an industry leader.
Examples of Experiential Marketing Events During Conferences
Many of the best examples of experiential marketing events hosted during conferences come from the annual SXSW conference. Earlier this year, people who were attending the music portion of the SXSW conference could visit an activation hosted by Showtime to announce the return of the TV show, Twin Peaks. In between listening to different guest speakers or attending workshops, guests could visit the Double R Diner, where they could buy Twin Peaks merchandise, take photos next to the memorabilia from the show, or buy doughnuts and coffee to refuel before the next event.
Attendees at SXSW could also visit HBO’s experiential marketing event. To capitalize on the “escape room” trend, HBO set up three different escape rooms designed to look exactly like sets from Game of Thrones, Veep, and Silicon Valley. This event appealed to both viewers and non-viewers of the shows. Viewers loved the fact that they felt as if they were on set of one of their favorite TV shows, whereas non-viewers loved the thrill of being in an escape room. As a result, HBO managed to target both existing customers and potential customers with this brilliant experiential marketing strategy that took place during the SXSW conference.
Are you interested in hosting an experiential marketing event at an upcoming conference? If so, contact our team of experts at Factory 360. Let our team come up with a unique experiential marketing strategy and oversee every aspect of the planning and execution. Call us today to learn more about how we can help!