After two years of COVID-based cancellations, San Antonio's Fiesta finally returned in full force at the end of March, concluding on April 10th. This festival, which typically draws some 2.5 million attendees, featured over 100 events all over town, from cook-offs and band battles to parades. But of course San Antonio isn't the only metropolis that celebrates its identity and culture through major festivals. Austin has South by Southwest, Albuquerque has its International Balloon Fiesta, and you may have heard about a little shindig called Mardi Gras in New Orleans. A ton of business changes hands during these mega-events, with countless brands getting a welcome boost to their visibility. So how can your own organization get in on the act and grab a slice of all that action? Here are a few routes you can take, along with specific types of marketing content to help you claim the spotlight.
Creating Your Own Event
If you want to generate some serious interest in your company, you don't have to wait for the next big local or regional event -- you can simply create your own. This project might prove as simple as hosting a wine tasting, networking event, business seminar, or some other get-together that combines business with pleasure. Since you can't rely on the kind of public awareness that the big events enjoy, you'll need to generate as much advance word as you can. That means creating and distributing at least one press release announcing your upcoming event, along with direct mail marketing pieces to send to your current client and prospect lists. You'll also want to blog about this exciting development and post updates to your social media channels so your online followers will get fired up and mark their calendars.
Participating in an Existing Event
If hosting your own event isn't feasible, why not participate in someone else's? You might rent booth space at one of the enormously popular local festivals, or you might simply get together with a few other businesses and put together a collective expo of sorts. This approach allows you to share at least some of the promotional burden with these other organizations. You may even piggy-back on another small business's event in return for shouldering some of the costs. Make sure you've put together plenty of print marketing pieces such as brochures and onesheets to hand out at the door. Don't forget to order plenty of branded swag bags and promotional products to accompany those print pieces. Asl your print shop to equip you with branded standup banners, tabletop displays, and other oversized marketing pieces to draw visitors to your booth or table.
Building Event-Related Marketing Campaigns
Okay, so you've decided that you can't get directly involved in this festival or that event. There's nothing stopping you from tying your marketing efforts to that festival or event through imaginative leaps and compelling content. You see this approach all the time in seasonal marketing efforts, with various businesses leveraging Halloween, Valentine's Day, Independence Day, and other big days on the calendar to promote sales. Why not use your local big event for the same purpose? When excitement's already in the air, you want to ride that breeze! Think about how major holidays or seasonal changes might inspire unusual marketing campaigns that nevertheless make perfect sense for your brand. Then promote your event-related sale or public awareness campaign through a combination of blog posts, videos, social media comments, direct mail, and email notices. It sounds like a lot of work, but you can always hire a professional copywriter to produce a lot of that content for you. So contact me, and let's make the big splash your business needs!