DANGER: Shiny Marketing Objects - Kill Events
Shiny object or shiny object syndrome distract even the best event organizers. In some cases, it has led to events being killed off.
To keep things easy to digest, lets group most shiny objects into two basic categories. New marketing/advertising technology and fresh (never tried before) event ideas. There are actually numerous additional distractions. Today, we'll do a little marketing detective work.
Of all the shiny objects clients have insisted on using (and it’s entirely their call - because it’s THEIR event) … I can’t recall one shiny object that produced a significant result. That doesn’t mean it can’t or won’t happen - I'm NOT omnipotent (far from it).
It’s just that there isn’t a single client or list subscriber that has shared a shiny object success story. If you have a shiny object success story with HARD DATA, please let me know. It would be a great feature!
Let's dive into a specific shiny object syndrome example. Social media is a giant shiny object for most event organizers! Social media works for marketing some events. Far fewer than you would expect. The problem is, social media doesn't pay dividends for most event organizers. How can I say that?
Because went you look at the data and time that event organizers are putting into their campaigns, “the juice isn’t worth the squeeze.” As I indicated above, I've seen event organizers put all their marketing into social media. The end result, some of those events no longer exist.
(Please put your ARMOR ON, if you decide to venture on!)
Likes, shares, and comments are vanity metrics. They are nearly useless for judging event success. Yet it seems like those metrics garner all the focus. There are far more critical metrics you must focus on.
Here’s a case study ...
Last year, two clients invested almost $20,000 cash into Facebook campaigns. Both clients implemented highly targeted and sophisticated campaigns. (Yours truly managed both Facebook campaigns). The end result, about 3% of their total online ticket revenue was directly tracked to these highly sophisticated Facebook campaigns … a tiny 3 PERCENT! In total, the Facebook ads and posts received a decent amount of likes, between 250 and 500.
On the positive front, for every dollar invested in Facebook advertising, their return was between $2 and 5 dollars of event ticket sales. That is something to celebrate! People get agitated and annoyed when I start questioning their use of shiny objects to promote their event. Am I against social media? Absolutely not!
Am I against Facebook? Nope ... heck, I even wrote a book about Facebook for air shows. The same principals apply to every event - air show or not.
The problem with shiny objects is all the distraction. People are so focused on getting the next great marketing gimmick to work, they neglect the most essential fundamental of event marketing: selling tickets and getting people to attend your event!
My suggestion for today: Go back to the fundamentals!
In the client example from above, where 3% of revenue was generated by Facebook ... over 70% of online ticket sales were produced via a marketing channel almost nobody talks about. Why not? Because the dinosaur marketing channel is not technologically sexy enough and boring to most!
Ask yourself: Do you want to focus on a ticket sales channel that generates 3% or 70%? Most show organizers choose the 3% (again, their choice).
If you’re not sure where to start, allow me to make a suggestion. This is brutally simplistic, and you can start using it TODAY. Trackback your time and money spent on advertising, marketing, and PR to ticket sales. No "if, and, or buts." A great place to start with tracking is Google Analytics.
The absolute most straightforward thing you can do with Google Analytics is this … If you take an advertising or marketing action did your web site traffic or ticket sales increase as a result?
By only getting a basic understanding of the fundamental above (tracking all your advertising, marketing, and PR to a ticket sale) you’ll be leagues ahead of most event organizers.
This overly simplistic suggestion can be used every day moving forward:
"If you can't track it, don't do it!" ... there are nearly zero exceptions!
Remember, fundamentals over shiny objects.
Additional Event Promotion Resources:
- A "Must Follow" Event Advertising Strategy
- The Importance of Market Research in Planning Your Event
- Get Great Ideas from an Event Marketing Field Trip
- The Experience Must EXCEED that of Your Event Marketing
- Horrid Event Marketing Mistake: Confusing Art with Results
- Event Marketing from the Magazine Rack