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May 2008
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August 2008

Event Promotion: Information versus Graphics

In all my years of producing numerous promotional web sites for events I have never received a single email commenting on the visual appearance of a web site, either good or bad.  Yet, I have been inundated with emails regarding the information on various event web sites. The emails stated that a user didn’t understand something or there wasn’t enough information on a certain subject area.

The Preoccupation
I honestly believe too many businesses are overly preoccupied with the aesthetics of a web site.  My previous statement isn’t to suggest that you shouldn’t have an aesthetically pleasing web site. If you look at most company web sites, more time and money is spent on “How can we make this look better to the consumer?” versus “How can we make sure this makes sense to the consumer?” One of the most important lessons I've learned about the web over the last 15 years is that information trumps graphics 9 times out of 10. The most successful web sites put more emphasis on the information than the graphics.

The Online Content King
Online information takes one predominate form and that form is text. The written word drives almost everything we do on the web. Someone once said “There is very little you can do online without words like click here, buy now, go, or search.” Consider Google for a moment.  They make the biggest proportion of their advertising revenue on text, not video or graphics. Their multimedia services like YouTube and Google Video are supplements to their search engine technology.

Next time you sit down to rethink your web site ask yourself the following questions:

  • “Do the words I have on my web page connect with my target market?”
  • “Do I have enough information on my site to prevent someone from writing
    a customer service email?”
  • “If I take away all the graphics on my site, does it still make sense with just the text?”

Any graphics you have on your web site should be there to enhance the words already on the page. This simple mindset will make a world of difference in your online endeavors.

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Event Marketing: Overwhelming Your Target Market

Over the weekend I watched some advertising for a local event I really want to attend. The piece of advertising was a 30 second television commercial.  The television commercial illustrated the importance of keeping your marketing message, relevant, short, and easy to remember. One of the biggest mistakes event organizers and promoters make is trying to delivery the target audience too much information in one sitting.

Information Overload

The event promoter’s or event organizer’s mindset is usually, “How much information can I get into this one ad?” The end result is that so much information goes in to a piece of advertising that people get overwhelmed or just ignore the advertising.  Too much information can be as bad as too little advertising. Are event sponsors, dates, times, headliners, etc. important? Absolutely! Yet, if people aren’t at least interested in finding out more information about your event, they’re unlikely to attend. If your target audience is unlikely to attend all the previous information such as sponsors, dates, times, and your main attraction, risk becoming irrelevant.

Take Small Steps First

I’m a firm believer that if event organizers focused more on hitting people’s emotional hot buttons upfront, they would get more people interested in their event. When creating advertising for your event, regardless of the medium, concentrate on getting people interested in your event first. 

Keep your advertising simple, straightforward, and easy to remember.
Consider some of the ideas below:

  • Create an attention grabbing headline or hook that hits their emotional hot buttons
    (their desires or fears). e.g. "The Heart Pounding Excitement of Flight!"

  • What are the benefits the audience gets for attending your event? Use those in your advertising.
  • A simple call to action, send them to your web site that has more information about the event.

Get Into Their Ego
When getting your marketing message across, focus on keeping things as simple and straightforward as possible. I can't recall who came up with the axiom, but you need to "get out of your ego and into their ego." In short, give the people what they want, not what you think they want. If you can get people to take a simple action, like visiting a web site, you’ll have a greater chance of selling them on your event.

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Turn Your Event Into an Experience

Last month I was fortunate enough to participate in the Red Bull Air Race that was held in Detroit, Michigan. There is something about high performance airplanes flying a dizzying course dangerously close to the ground that makes your heart skip a few beats. The people in attendance were awe struck as the first air plane entered the course. I witnessed one gentleman at the event who was so impressed he let out a series of explicit words to verbalize his amazement. Red Bull has gone beyond just creating an event, they have created an experience.

The Red Bull Experience

Create an Experience

Events come and go, but an “experience” can last a lifetime. If you have an event, consider ways to turn it into an unforgettable experience. You can also use the experience mindset and apply it to all your event marketing. I don’t believe anyone should over hype their event through marketing or advertising and then under deliver on value. Yet, if you can over deliver on value and exceed your potential customer’s expectations you owe it them to hype accordingly. Over the years I’ve seen great events lose big money because they weren’t marketed very well. 

Marketing the Experience

Creating an experience also helps tremendously when it comes to your event marketing. Over the last few weeks I’ve been conducting research on P.T. Barnum. I would encourage anyone interested in event marketing spend some time reading up on Barnum. He was one of the greatest event marketers on the planet during his time. His marketing exploits were conducted in a time of no radio, television, or Internet. He was able to create an unbelievable experience for his customers. He had a strong belief in always delivering value to the customer. Next time you have an event, try integrating some of Barnum’s magic into your event.

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Outdoor Event Advertising and Marketing

Before you consider purchasing any publically displayed advertising, stop and give some thought to how your advertising will fit into its’ surroundings. Ask yourself, "What will people think?" This mindset is especially applicable to billboards, banners, and any outdoor signage.

A Banner Example
The catalyst for this post was some advertising I saw for a local event.  The event organizer had probably spent thousands of dollars on a series of really nice looking banners to promote their event.  The banners were displayed in the last place anyone would look. The production value was great, but the placement was bad. 

Where is the billboard?

An outdoor billboard is an ideal example. If someone from your target market is driving down the road does your billboard get their attention?  Is there too much information on your advertising for someone to remember?  Is there other advertising in the surrounding area competing for their attention? Think about all the things someone might be doing while they’re in their car . . . trying to dodge traffic, talking on their cell phone, or changing radio stations.  Someone once asked me to recall information off any of the billboards I’d seen during my morning commute. I couldn’t really remember any details.

Additional Resource:

You might not have 100% control over where your advertising runs. And it might not be practical to look at every single individual piece of public advertising space. But, in instances where you do have some influence, visualize how your target market might take in your advertising. Think to yourself, "If I'm the consumer is that advertising going to catch and momentarily keep my attention?" This simple process might save you from wasting significant sums of money on advertising that goes unnoticed.

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