As a marketer, you’re no doubt aware of the assertion that “the medium Is the message.” To see a modern-day example of this, one need only look to the world of event marketing. Done right, the gathering of brands, customers, fans and pundits around a central event often leads to marketing outcomes where the whole is much greater than the sum of its parts.
I recently experienced this first-hand at the U.S. Open Championship, hosted by the USGA—with key brand partners Lexus, Deloitte, and American Express. In a panel I had the pleasure of moderating (watch it here), these event and brand marketers provided numerous insights into how a sponsorship can evolve into a content marketing machine that cuts through whether the audience is in attendance or not. Here are 5 above par insights!
Find the Inherent Connection Between Event and Brand
You’ll never see a meat vendor at a vegan food conference, right? But even more important than avoiding such an obvious disconnect, it helps to have a natural, “holistic” connection between a brand and an event it sponsors. In the case of the U.S. Open, Deloitte actually worked with the USGA as a client giving them permission not just to be there but also to talk about how they help businesses like the USGA grow.
Put Your Customer at the Center
Dave Aznavorian, Senior Director, Transformational Experiences for the USGA advised all marketers to “put the customer at the center” of their event experiences. This perspective was clearly evident at U.S. Open as Lexus, Deloitte and American Express offered all sorts of ways golf fans could get closer to the game physically or virtually. Instead of talking about their brand, they let their customer-centric experiences do the talking.
Use Tech to Support Your Tech Story
Technology is a wonderful thing—especially when it’s relevant to a brand’s core messaging. At the U.S. Open, Lexus demonstrated what it called a “4D Experience” where, with the help of sophisticated VR technology, event attendees were transported into a virtual, high performance Lexus automobile on a simulated race track (complete with professional race car driver). At the U.S. Open event, the theme of “high-performance” is common to both automobiles and the professional golfers (and would-be pros) who are playing (and attending).
Don’t Forget Mobile
When was the last time you saw anyone lugging around their desktop computer at an event? They don’t. Today, it’s all about capturing the experience on your mobile device, so you must have a mobile strategy that bolsters your event. As Dave Aznavorian notes, “If you don’t have a complementary, enriched digital experience to augment the event experience, you’re only meeting half of your customers’ needs.”
Keep on Truckin’
Do you know when the USGA and its brand partners start planning for next year’s event? It’s a trick question – they never stop planning or executing for that matter. In fact, they analyze in real-time what worked (and what could be improved) so that they can offer attendees insightful and relevant content during, after, and before the next event. For example, American Express offers its cardmembers suggestions of where to shop during the event and will even ship large purchases for free so that its brand is top of mind when attendees return back home!
Final note: You can watch the entire webcast here (after registering on the Deloitte site). And as always, let us know if this was useful.