Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Let's Talk About You: 3 Marketing Ideas to Help You Join the Conversation

By Liese Gardner

Event marketing trends are abundant, and numerous blog posts have been devoted to them. But let's talk about marketing you - the event professional. How do you get in front of your target audience? I am hearing more and more from really great companies, top of the top, who are realizing that their middle market has shifted. It happened mostly because of the economy but in part also could be attributed to the fact that in focusing on high-level clients (never a bad thing!), they weren't as tuned into the conversation being fueled by professionals new to the industry and engaging with clients at that level. It's a conversation that isn't taking place in print publications. It's in the air, literally. It's on blogs. It's on Twitter, Instagram and less so, on Facebook.

Here are three points of entry into that conversation.

This clever marketing campaign called The Long Drive Home produced by JWT Canada for Mazda Canada focused on the thumbnail grid feature on Instagram. Each Instagram image was self-contained, but when they came together they formed a road map of sorts.


It's a hashtag on Instagram but "no filter" also sums up this social media feed, as it does Twitter. Both of them allow the conversation to flow through without impediment (unlike Facebook which we'll get to in a minute). Viewers connect to (or more importantly, they feel like they are connecting to) big names in every industry. Upstart event companies freely align themselves using the names of corporate clients (when appropriate and when approved, of course) and showing their work in progress and completed. It can be a win-win for both parties. No filter is a good way to approach online marketing. Let down your guard, let viewers in. Make a connection. P.S. Watch for companies to begin finding a way to use Snapchat to market themselves.

Tell a Story

Yes, I'm still on the blog train. People I've talked to who aren't blogging have said that it seems too self-promotional. That's true when it's not done well. But if done right, a blog is all about giving back to your clients and community of peers, while at the same time being about you. Your blog audience will grow when the topics are relevant, informative and engaging, and it can begin to open doors for you in a way that is non-sales, non-threatening, and generous of spirit. People will always be flattered that you have asked them to contribute or that you'd like to feature something they are doing on your blog. So go ahead, blog about it.


Video Marketing

It's not new at all, but YouTube might just be the most important social media tool on the rise. This video (naturally) by Derek Muller, founder of a highly popular science channel on YouTube as well as an offshoot called 2veritasium, lays out the case for YouTube and will also tell you why Facebook might soon just be a place for keeping in touch with friends and family, better than I can.

It's important to note that video isn't just about creating crazy skateboard stunts or animal antics. It helps drive traffic to your site, and keeps viewers there longer. Video is a highly effective way to make a meaningful connection with a future client. Conversely, by showing your personality and work, clients can learn if you are right for them before going further. As for content, it's very much like creating blog content - relevant, informative and entertaining - only with an eye for the visual aspect of what you do. And let's face it, the event profession is a visual medium which makes it a natural for all these marketing tools. An online conversation that includes your brand and your voice is only a click away.

Liese Gardner is a marketing consultant working with top creative brands and individuals in the events industry since 1984. She is currently taking her own good advice and re-branding her company, Mecca, along with her own blog, Fuel: Passions that Drive Us. Look for the new design in June. Until then, follow her on Instagram: @liesegardner and Twitter: @liesegardner.

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