How to Capitalize on Major Events: Creative Ideas for Smaller Budgets

Business.com / Marketing Strategy / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

How can your business capitalize on local and global events without breaking the bank? Here's how to get the most of your marketing budget.

Whether or not you’re aware of it, you’re surrounded by creative marketing techniques. Larger brands use what’s happening around them to create powerful marketing tactics that drive both attention and business.

So how do you make it work for you? How can you take events that are going on in the world or your community and use them to your advantage?

To get started, follow the tips listed below.

Sponsor an Event and Mirror Marketing Tactics

Event sponsorship has the potential to maximize your brand’s marketing efforts. In recent studies, 62% of marketers involved in event sponsorship were satisfied with the return on investment following the event.

A more notable example of a brand becoming an event sponsor relates to Coca-Cola and the World Cup. The brand has had an advertising presence at every World Cup event since 1950 and has been an official sponsor since 1978. In 2010, the company took its sponsorship to the next level by mirroring the marketing tactics in place for the actual event.

For example, the theme song for the World Cup was “Wavin’ Flag,” by K’NAAN. Coca-Cola had a special remix created that was used as the anthem of the event and in all advertising leading up to it.

While sponsoring an international event may not fit in your budget, there are other options available:

  • Look for local events that have calls out for sponsors.
  • Examine past attendees to see if they match your target market.
  • Research various sponsorship levels to see if the event is a fit for your market.
  • Sit down with event organizers to discuss marketing techniques and look for ways to incorporate those techniques into your own strategy.

Related Article: Credibility Boost: How Live Tweeting Builds Brand Trust

Host a Live Social Media Event

What major events coincide with your business? If you’re a gym, a large fight or athletic event might be of interest to your members. If you’re a restaurant, a national cooking show or challenge might be right up your alley. Why not use a social media event to allow your brand to serve as a bridge between your customers and the major event in question?

Here’s the motivator: your customers want to feel like they’re a part of something bigger. In fact, one study found that 56% of social media users suffer from FOMO or a “fear of missing out.” And they’re already talking about large events. In fact, during Super Bowl XLVIII, there were over 25 million tweets regarding the game and the advertising.

Your customers are paying attention to large events and are already talking about them. Why not become a part of that conversation?

To host a live social media event that coincides with an actual event:

  • Consider where your target customers spend their time on one social network. Focus only on one.
  • Create a hashtag that includes your brand and the event name (if it’s not protected by copyright), or something creative.
  • Market your social media event in advance and tag your brand ambassadors to attract attention.
  • Be present during the event. Start conversations by asking questions about how your followers feel about what’s going on. Encourage them to ask questions and take the time to answer them.
  • Post photos of where you are and encourage your followers to do the same.
  • Thank “attendees” with a special coupon code or promotion for being a part of your conversation.

Host an Event That Capitalizes on a Larger Trend

What television shows and events are popular among your target market? Why not “downsize” those trends and turn them into an event of your own? If nothing else, brands that host events are 43% more likely to build new relationships with target customers than those that chose not to do so.

That’s exactly what Chicago pizza chain Giordano’s did by creating their own version of American Idol. The chain’s research found that customers were interested in the show and took steps to make it their own. The event was a success and the chain is still remembered for it.

When hosting an event:

  • Make sure it applies to your target customers and generates interest.
  • Market the event through local or national news outlets.
  • Use social media and email marketing to generate excitement.
  • Broadcast the event on your site and use your blog to share highlights.
  • Consider hosting the event again at some point in the future and start planning early.

Related Article: Not Just a Game: Legal Considerations for Social Media Contests and Sweepstakes

Create a Contest That Relates to the Major Event in Question

In case you’ve missed it, social media is a critical marketing piece for all brands. It probably doesn’t come as a surprise that customers are more likely to buy from brands they engage with online. In some cases, the numbers are staggering: for example, Twitter users are 67% more likely to buy from brands they follow than those they don’t.

Because of this, finding a way to increase your brand’s following is critical.

Why not use a major event to springboard your initiative for increasing followers? This can easily be done by hosting an online contest.

With a low cost—essentially the cost of the prize that you select—you can host a successful online contest that attracts followers and draws attention to your brand.

To get started:

  • Find a national event that’s relevant to your brand.
  • Pick a prize that relates to the event in question.
  • Set parameters: rules for entry, who can participate, and how one participates.
  • Create a hashtag that’s unique yet relevant.
  • Market through social media, in-store marketing and email marketing.
  • Share regular updates during the contest period.
  • Share the winner on the set date.

Even with a little-to-no marketing budget, any brand can capitalize on major events by using the tactics mentioned above.

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