Please give a Likeable welcome to guest blogger Henry Walker. Henry works with NDL Group, a specialist marketing agency providing a range of marketing services for companies looking to engage more with customers, clients and employees through prize promotions, events and digital and social media.
Marketing techniques have become more diverse with modern technology. Does the classic corporate event still have a place in a promotional strategy with so many more affordable methods available?
Personal, direct contact is now largely achieved with potential and existing customers via conference calls and online webinars. Whilst effective, these communications still lack the personal touch that a meeting or event can create.
This is where corporate events come into their own. Gathering clients or employees into one event can be the ideal occasion for face-to-face interaction on a large scale. If the event goes well and everyone feels welcomed, satisfied and impressed – and your potential clients come away feeling you are trustworthy, creative and approachable – it lays the foundation for further relationship-building interactions and conversations on a smaller scale. It can be easier to persuade and negotiate with someone you already have a shared experience with since you are already familiar with each other and they will be more prepared to listen to you.
However, these technological techniques need not be separate from the ‘real thing’. Social media is one of the most effective methods of communication between an organization and its stakeholders, reaching audiences at a more personal and direct level and requiring relatively little investment. Before the event is due to happen, details can be telegraphed through a number of different channels, all of which encourage interaction from the intended audience, for example promotion on Facebook through a wall post, messaging within relevant groups on LinkedIn and tweeted to followers on Twitter.
It doesn’t have to stop there; events can be live-tweeted to those who could not attend and those who are there can let friends and colleagues know through location based apps like Foursquare or by live blogging. Awards presentations and other key ceremonies can even be broadcast live on the internet and streamed online. Other free online listings can be ideal too, such as the websites of local papers, TV and radio stations.
All kinds of businesses spend vast sums on trade expositions, exhibitions, seminars, charity events, parties and other client entertainment. It can be difficult to effectively measure the value of an event for a marketing campaign. Whilst the spending for an event is highly objective, the end result – positive feelings about the corporate host – is highly subjective. Seeking feedback from attendees and observing the follow-up relationship developments can be effective methods, which online techniques can once again assist with.
Afterwards, the pictures, videos and stories can be shared and promoted to increase the visibility of your business through social media channels. Specific people can be tagged in photos which will trickle through their stream of friends on Facebook.
Events can also be an advantage for internal business practices. Motivating the employees with charity events or congratulating them with parties can increase staff retention, morale and productivity. It can be both more difficult and also, paradoxically, easier to track the effectiveness of these internal gatherings. Although your staff might distort the event’s worth in official feedback, the real results will be felt in the corporate culture when the staff start to feel important and valued.
Whilst technology is changing marketing strategies in unpredictable, exciting ways, corporate events are still a valuable core component. A single, well-publicised, memorable event can be a very strong backbone for a highly successful integrated campaign.