pageant-day-pandas steve davisOn behalf of the team at Baker Marketing I hope that you and your families have had an enjoyable Easter.

Why talk about Easter now?

Easter, like a lot of other important and special events during our year creates a change in the normal routine of a large proportion of our customers.

This change in routine brought about by such special events creates opportunities for some businesses and disadvantages for others.

Some special events present obvious opportunities, such as:

  • Easter to confectionary producers
  • Christmas to the gift industry
  • Valentine’s Day to the restaurant, flowers and fluffy toy industries
  • Father’s Day to the gift voucher and sock producing industries

This article strives to prompt you to give consideration to the calendar of events that will take place in your market place over the next twelve months and identify opportunities for you to capitalise on these events in a way that is appropriate and/or respectful.

Not all Events are Special

In almost every marketplace in which we have clients there are numerous special events that take place each year.

The questions to ask include:

  • Which events represent opportunities for your business?
  • Which events are appropriate for you to participate in?
  • How best to participate, if at all?

7 Events that Take Place at a Store Near You

There are some major events that take place each year in most parts of the world and it makes sense to evaluate the opportunities they present first.  Below includes a sample of those that I consider to be the highest profile, but depending on where you are located, there may be more or less:

  1. Christmas
  2. Easter
  3. Valentine’s Day
  4. Mother’s Day
  5. End of Financial Year
  6. Father’s Day
  7. New Year’s Eve

The above events may not represent opportunities or require action for every business, but the chances are they will happen every year, whether you participate or not.

What Events are you Missing?

Given that the above 7 events are pretty obvious it may pay to focus on the other special events that take place in your marketplace that may not be as obvious.

In most marketplaces in which our clients operate we find that there are typically numerous events taking place each year.  These can be put into the following broad categories:

  • Community Events and Fund Raisers
  • Exhibitions and Shows
  • Festivals and Celebrations
  • Music, Performing Arts and Films
  • Food and Wine Events
  • Markets and Pop-Up Shops
  • Performances
  • Talks and Workshops
  • Sporting Events
  • Business to Business Events, Conferences and Shows
  • Major Events (i.e. Large-scale events that stop the nation or state and/or high volumes of traffic)

5 Steps to Capitalising on Special Events

If you look closely at the calendar of events that take place in your locality the chances are you will uncover numerous events of which you were not aware.  The following steps are intended as a suggested framework for planning and implementing your involvement in these special events.

  1. Getting your Marketing Strategy Right

It will be difficult to optimise your involvement in special events (or your whole business for that matter) if you are not clear on key marketing decisions such as:

  • Who are your Primary Target Markets?
  • What is your Desired Brand Positioning?
  • What are your Key Communication Messages?

Answering the most important strategic marketing questions will help you evaluate the potential of the numerous special events that take place in your marketplace

  1. Identify Events that have Potential

I suggest you do some research and ensure that you have uncovered all important and relevant events that take place in your marketplace.

From this point you need to evaluate this list of events and identify those that have potential for your business.

Three criteria that I find useful when evaluating opportunities for our clients include:

  1. The potential for Brand Building activity

(For example, generating Brand Awareness or communicating your Brand Positioning Values)

  1. The Potential for Sales Volume
  2. Strategic Advantages

(For example, Competitor issues or Team Building opportunities etc.)

Chances are that like all business operators you have limitations on your ability to invest in marketing activities so you need to be selective.

This means there is a need to rationalise this list down to a realistic short-list of high-priority special events in which you will invest marketing resources.

  1. Define Your Involvement

Defining your involvement requires you to plan the most effective and efficient way to capitalise on the list of special events that you have identified.

Your involvement may be a significant investment including sponsorship, participation via exhibit or team etc. or investment in supporting advertising activity.

Alternatively, your approach to capitalising on a specific special event may be as low-key and simple as sending important customers a Christmas greeting or small gift to thank them for their support over the past year.

Questions to consider when deciding your level of involvement and investment in a particular special event include:

  • What are your specific objectives from a particular event?
  • How appropriate is the planned activity and involvement (For example,  will it offend anyone and/or will it be in-keeping with your brand positioning)?
  • How effective is the planned activity likely to be in achieving defined goals?
  1. Tailor Communication Messages

Once you have defined your level of involvement it is worth considering the opportunity to tailor your communication messages to be in-keeping with the special event itself.

Not all combinations of brands and special events provide the opportunity for such tailoring of communication messages, but if possible it will serve to help you gain ‘cut-through’ or attention and make your brand more relevant to the customer on the day.

It is also worthwhile revisiting the suggested questions referred to above in Step 3 during this process.

  1. Plan Your Implementation

After you have completed the above steps I then suggest that you commence your preparation as early as possible.

There is something about special events and particularly those that take place on an annual basis and that is that they have a habit of sneaking up on you.

By taking a planned approach to your involvement in a particular special event you are most likely to maximise the return by achieving the following:

  • Take advantage of ‘early bird’ discounts on exhibition stands, registration fees and other costs
  • Gain the best location possible for your marketing presence
  • Ensure that all of your required resources are available (i.e. the right staff and support team and/or display stand)
  • Time to consider the potential to invest in naming rights or other high-profile sponsorship positions
  • Ensure that you have a clever and well considered concept and/or tailoring of your messages for the event
  • Ensure that all of your marketing materials are prepared, printed and uploaded onto relevant websites and social media platforms
  • Ensure you avoid having to spend money on rushed print or production jobs
  • Numerous other advantages of being well planned and prepared in advance, including lower stress levels

Next Easter

So as I mentioned earlier, there are only 347 days to Good Friday.  So if you think there is more that you can do to delight your customers and build your business during the Easter period, then now is the time to start preparing.

Happy Easter from the team at Baker Marketing!

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