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Event Promotion Bias: If You Think It's "Dumb" ... Do This!

It was during the checkout process at Hershey’s Chocolate World that something clicked for me. A very polite cashier was ringing out my purchase and asked, “Would you like to purchase one of our special unreleased bags of chocolate? They are buy one get one free.” When asked the question - my first internal thought was, “no, I just want to pay and get out of here quickly!” I politely declined the upsell offer.


Thankfully my marketing detective mind quickly clicked on. I was curious and asked the cashier, “How many people take you up on that offer?” She happily answered, “About half the people.” That’s amazing! Consider how many people check out every day at your local grocer. People also move through food lines at ethnic festivals. Add in one simple upsell question, and that could mean significant additional revenue. “Would you like fries with that?” (McDonalds)

Unfortunately, too many event organizers hear the upsell question and immediately pass judgment. To be great at marketing, you must consciously break the human tendency of pre-judging and bias. It is not easy … we’re all guilty of bias, me included!

Before you assume a piece of event marketing or advertising is “dumb,” ask about the result! It can be an email, poster, radio advertisement, billboard, website, etc. Never assume!

The question is very simple: “Can you tell me how well that works?” Ironically enough, when asked – almost everyone answers. I can only recall a handful of instances where the response was, “we can’t tell you that!” That’s non-answer is also a potential clue. Chances are the promotion is working very well!

There is a critical caveat to digging for marketing results. Even if you think you’ve found a great marketing idea or strategy, use the President Reagan app roach “Trust but Verify!”

There was a Greek church festival that was selling a $100 raffle ticket. That’s a very high raffle ticket price, especially for a church. Some of my friends who attended the festival thought a $100 raffle ticket was preposterous. So, I went and asked the results question. A festival committee member verified that over 40 tickets had been sold. Still not good enough! Then, the ultimate verification. It came when one lucky winner was awarded a $20,000+ cash prize and 1099 Tax form. That’s a verified result!

If you want to be great at marketing anything, especially your event, you always need to have your marketing detective cap on. It starts with not assuming anything, asking about results, and verifying those results!

Photo Credit: Tammy D.

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