10 Creative Event Marketing Tactics You Can Learn From the World’s Biggest Brands


By David Epstein

When it comes marketing channels, you may think of email marketing, content marketing, or paid search marketing. You probably don’t think of doughnuts. But doughnuts are exactly what Google used to promote its Google Home product line. More generally speaking, Google used a unique event strategy, coupled with robust event software, to achieve its marketing goals.

In this post, we will take a look at leading brands that are implementing event marketing into their overall strategy, with a special focus on the unique tactics—from doughnuts to digital—that make these marketing campaigns so unforgettable.

1. Google: Pop-up doughnut shops

In October 2017, as an initiative to promote the Google Home Mini, the tech giant went the unconventional route of opening up pop-up doughnut shops across the country. Delectable doughnuts were served on large conveyor belts, and every so often, a Google Home Mini was given away instead.

The purpose was to create a memorable experience for consumers, while making a shareable moment for social media. This goes to show that an event marketing campaign does not have to directly reflect the product; it simply must evoke a positive reaction that can be remembered and shared.

Takeaway: There’s always a way to bring your business to the people. Google’s a tech company, not a bakery—yet it found a tasty way of putting the Google brand front and center.

2. HubSpot: INBOUND

With over 20,000 attendees, HubSpot’s INBOUND has grown from a software conference to a global movement. Ideas that are discussed during the event extend far beyond marketing automation, and that’s the very reason it’s become such a successful event. HubSpot was not afraid to create an event which was beyond its scope of software sales because the company knew that an event is most impactful, not when attendees recall what they have learned, but when they remember how they felt.

Takeaway: User conferences offer the perfect opportunity for customers to personally engage with your brand. In addition, an event is only as impactful as it is memorable.

3. YouTube: Fan festival

An event does not have to be a solo act. You can share the spotlight with others in order to leverage each other’s brands and audience reach; YouTube’s FanFest does just that. YouTube invites the most popular stars on its platform to promote their brands, while also bolstering the YouTube name in the process. Working in collaboration is a great way to make an event successful.

Takeaway: Sometimes the best way to highlight your brand is to feature someone else’s. Just like YouTube featured some of the biggest talent to delight its user base, there may be a way for your brand to feature another brand to drive an outcome.

4. Salesforce and Sales Hacker: Partner marketing

For its annual conference, Sales Hacker approached Salesforce, the industry leading sales CRM platform, to co-sponsor their event Sales Machine and the partnership was made. Executing an event alongside other partners is a great way to benefit from one another’s network and resources. When there is a clear vision of the event and alignment between partners, the collaborative opportunities are endless.

Takeaway: You don’t have to be a big brand to find event partners. In this case, Salesforce was approached by Sales Hacker, a much smaller organization. Work with other partners—big and small—to help you spread the word and drive more attendees to your next event.

5. Facebook: Roaring Twenties holiday party

As with all events, theme is a crucial factor for the entire experience. Having a unique theme makes the event more memorable and shareable. Facebook clearly knew this as it put together a dazzling Roaring Twenties themed holiday party that was shared heavily on social media.

Takeaway: Having a unique theme can elevate an event to a spectacle. Whether you are running a holiday party for your employees or an opening for a new store, consider getting thematic.

6. Adobe MAX: Projection mapping

An event should be a visual spectacle. Adobe went with projection mapping (the use of projectors to superimpose images onto objects/walls) to create a memorable setting in which Adobe MAX was taking place. By making this clear visual statement, attendees walked away with a lasting impression of the event.

Takeaway: Event if you are working with much less real estate than Adobe MAX had, projection mapping is possible on a smaller scale and still leaves a lasting impression on attendees.

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7. The Olympics: #PyeongChang2018

Though this is not your typical live event, there are plenty of takeaways from the 2018 Olympics that can be applied to your event marketing plan. Specifically, the Olympics’ use of the event hashtag was a great way to keep viewers engaged throughout the games and made it easy for them to share content. Having a consistent and memorable hashtag is a social media best practice

Takeaway: You don’t need to be an international organization to have an event hashtag. It’s a great way to promote and track conversations about your brand.

8. ToughMudder: Live video event promotion

Giving registrants a sneak peak into what to expect from an event via live video is a great promotional tactic as it helps build anticipation. The ToughMudder challenge has become a world-famous obstacle course, and in order to promote the event, the marketing team puts up live videos of training events. This a great opportunity for people to engage with the content as well as sign up for ToughMudder.

Takeaway: Live video can be a great channel for promoting your event and creating anticipation among those who are already registered to attend.

9. Brightcove: Ongoing content series

As a way to build up excitement for an event, a content series that sheds more light on the event is a great way to keep registrants engaged and keep your event top of mind. In order to promote its annual PLAY conference, Brightcove created a speaker series in which it recorded interviews of the speaker lineup.

Takeaway: Creating serial content leading up to the event is a great way to make sure the event stays top of mind for attendees and potential attendees.

10. Social media marketing world: Event wrap-up video

Just because an event is over doesn’t mean that the momentum has to be. An event wrap-up video serves as multi-purpose content that can be used as a thank-you video to attendees, as well as for promotional use for the following year’s event.

Takeaway: A lot goes on at your event. Take advantage of all of those brilliant moments by recording them and repurposing them for future event promotion.

Key takeaways

Some of the key takeaways to keep in mind are:

1. An event can be about meeting your audience where they are.There’s always a way to bring business to the people.

2. Create wonderfully memorable experiences that create customer satisfaction with events for customers.

3. Experiment with events that aren’t explicitly about your business offering to give your audience something unexpected.

4. A well-structured theme can turn an ordinary event into a stunning spectacle. Don’t be afraid to be bold.

5. Remember that an event is a content goldmine. Gather as much video, testimonials, and content as possible throughout the event for multipurpose use.

RELATED: 3 Simple Steps to Marketing Your Business Better

About the Author

Post by: David Epstein

David Epstein works at Bizzabo, the world’s #1 rated event software. Bizzabo is a fast-growing SaaS company that’s raised nearly $30M in funding. Customers like Vice, USAA, GitHub, and WeWork use Bizzabo to plan professional events. David leads Bizzabo’s customer acquisition strategy, and manages a team of six professionals across two offices. Prior to joining Bizzabo, David was a management consultant at Kantar Consulting. There, he worked exclusively with Fortune 100 companies to develop marketing strategies and to reorganize 100+ person marketing teams.

Company: Bizzabo
Website: www.bizzabo.com
Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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