Readers of our previous post learned how event marketing can be used to build strong relationships with business customers. Whether you are marketing a B2B brand or a B2C brand, human to human engagement is essential. Our experience shows B2B brands are focused on a smaller group of customers, because their customer base isn’t directed at people who consume their brands. On the other hand, it is commonly stated* that B2C companies are more focused on the masses, aiming for brand recognition and quick sales more than long-term relationships. You see this in many consumer promotions that use short term promotions and tactics to get humans to act quickly.
In this article, we challenge the myth that B2C brands should focus on transactions rather than relationships, and provide guidance on using event marketing to establish long-term relationships with consumers.
Why Focus on Building Relationships?
Repeat customers are more profitable than first time customers. A study by Manta found that existing customers spend 75% more and cost companies 10% less than new customers. The benefit of building strong relationships with customers extends beyond profits. Existing customers are likely to be more loyal, and care about the value of your product more than price. Loyal customers will happily refer your business to their network of friends and family. Dedicated long-term customers become brand ambassadors and maybe even fanatics, who love your product so much they’re willing to share it, promote it and market it to others all on their own.
Strategy that focuses on building relationships more than on transactions is known as relationship marketing. Relationship (or customer relationship) marketing is defined as a strategy that aims to “create strong, even emotional, customer connections to a brand that can lead to ongoing business, free word-of-mouth promotion and information from customers that can generate leads.” While relationship marketing is most often associated with CRM, or customer relationship management software, it can be incorporated into your brand’s event marketing strategy as well.
How to Use Events to Establish B2C Relationships
Develop Personas. Define your ideal customer(s) for your event, and focus on attracting that audience. This may not be your entire business audience – in fact, it may be better to target your event to specific customers. Personas represent your key and most typical customers.
Consider the following questions when creating a persona: What are their hobbies and interests? Where do they hang out online? How do they like to absorb content? Of course, it is also important to consider the basics such as age, location, gender, and other demographics.
Personalize! Personalize! Personalize! Based on the personas you created and any data you have about who is likely to attend your event, tailor giveaways or gift bags with items you know your customers will value. Gifts that feel personalized, based on what you know about your typical customers interests, wants, and needs, will make them feel valued.
After your events, keep going! Any follow up emails to attendees should be personalized as much as possible with the attendee’s name and which event they attended.
Use Social. You will be more effective in building relationships with your customers if you communicate with them on social media. If you use social media to advertise your event, follow individuals who indicate interest in attending. Interact with your social media audience by sharing and replying to posts. If your event has a hashtag, pay close attention to it and add posts of your own. These interactions will humanize your brand. Read this post to learn how to effectively use social media to interact with your customers.
Create an Experience. Appeal to the emotional nature of your audience by telling a captivating story about your brand. 92% of customers say they want brands to focus on creating story-driven advertisements**, and your events should be treated no differently. Just like any relationship, touching on emotions, particularly positive ones, is the key to developing happy long-term relationships with your customers.
Senior Vice President of Content at LiveNation, Elizabeth Brookes, explained “[customers] want to be affected, emotionally engaged, to be changed in some way, to come away “better,” and the experience should make the fan feel good about themselves. If you know how your target wants to feel about themselves, that’s a giant key to engagement.”
Here are a few examples of relationship-building programs we have activated for a few brands you probably have heard of before.
- With Utz Snacks All Star Game Sampling, Utz sought to engage consumers human-to-human rather than relying on traditional sponsorship logo placements. Utz, the official snack of MLB wanted to be a part of the 2019 All-Star Game in Cleveland, OH. We brought the sponsorship to life where thousands of consumers were able to sample free chips and participate in the Utz Game Saving Catch game. Tens of thousands of bags of chips were consumed along with each participant in the Game Saving Catch were emailed video clips of their catch after the event.
- Bruegger’s Bagels’ Summer Street Team focused on a small segment of customers, focusing on families, businesspeople, and moms. The street team highlighted 15-24 local unsung heroes every week through a local media PR campaign, personalizing the campaign to each location. Bruegger’s understands how interacting with their consumers and providing a sample of their products drives engagement, trial, awareness and ultimately, sales.
- Another example of focusing on a specific, small audience is the Gatorade G-series Mobile Locker Room, which engaged local elite high school athletes. We brought the locker room to 10 high schools across the country and provided the space for a week for all varsity athletes to enjoy and learn more about hydration. The program was awarded the Second Place 2010 PRO Award from PROMO Magazine for the Best Program Targeting a Micro Audience.
Pro Motion is ready to help you incorporate the spirit of relationship marketing into your events. Call us today at 636.263.7098!
**Salesforce Second Annual State of Sales Report, https://www.salesforce.com/form/conf/2016-state-of-sales/?d=conf-redirect