Leveraging Events for Digital Marketing

By Bob West

A group of us were recently invited by a client to attend their annual field day event, at which they were going to share results from much of their 2013 product research. The event was to be held at the company’s research facility — essentially a couple hundred acres, filled with dozens and dozens of test plots.

The event was attended by a few hundred invitees, including growers and dealers / distributors for the company. The event was a top-notch affair — great information, tremendous setting, and the requisite free food.

While attending the event, I was struck by all of the opportunities for this company to leverage the time and money invested in this event for some quality digital marketing opportunities, including:

Photography — Hosting a customer event is no different than throwing a party at home. Your house looks its best when guests are coming. The same is true for work facilities, which means the day of or before an event may be a great chance to collect some first-rate photography. When else can you get images of customers interacting with sales or technical personnel in the field? How many other opportunities do you have to show your firm’s engagement with the market through the owner or CEO sitting down and listening to customers? The product or information displays alone represent a great photo opportunity, as you’re likely to tell your company’s story visually with set ups that are not available to you year round.

Someone needs to be armed with a quality camera (or a photographer should be hired) to document the entire event. When in doubt, take the picture — you’ll find a use for it later!

Video — Custom events almost always include your experts educating the customers. Cue the video! Your customers and prospective customers want to hear from technical services personnel — these are the men and women who can truly help them grow a better crop. But getting the tech folks to make time to give a presentation just for your video camera is almost impossible, so take advantage of this opportunity and capture the presentations they deliver during the event. A little editing later and you’ve got a great content asset for use on the website and in trade show booths.

The presentations — Most of the employees spending time presenting to your event attendees have created a presentation of some sort. Get them! These Powerpoint files and handouts represent quality content, so you don’t want them living on assorted hard drives throughout the building. You want them in your files so they can be repurposed into marketing content for the masses.

Social media — Don’t limit your thinking to those who made it to your event. Think about all of the customers and potential customers who couldn’t or didn’t come. Why not fill your Facebook and Twitter accounts with real-time updates of the events, including those pictures that you’re hopefully shooting through the event? Then, in the days or weeks to follow

The media — Inviting the right media to your event is a great way to ensure that the broadest possible audience hears about your event and the news you have to share.

The author is the Director of Interactive Sales for Meister Media, and he can be reached at 440-602-9129 or bwest@meistermedia.com.