Sunny with a Chance of Event Marketing
Event marketing season (spring and summer) is approaching, which means there's no better time to brush up on your outdoor event skills than right now. From 5ks and fun runs to tailgating and branded beach incentives, we've got the tips you need to keep your clients having fun in the sun.
1. Be Distinctive
With outdoor products, the more different they are from what an end-user could find in a retail setting, the better. You need your product offerings to stand out from big-box outdoorsman stores; a comparison your suppliers are trying to avoid, and one you should be too. "We don't try to compete with the products that you'd find at a Dick's Sporting Goods," said Kelly Borre, Midwest sales manager for AAA Innovations (formerly AAA Umbrella), Norwood, N.J. "Dick's Sporting Goods, they're selling outdoor chairs for $10. That's not who we are. We're selling the coolest outdoor chairs, and the coolest outdoor market umbrellas, so your clients are comparing them to those $10 products." She mentioned a new item the company is offering, a 9′ market umbrella with built-in Bluetooth capabilities, as a distinctive item that stands out from the competition.
2. Be Mindful of Multiple Uses
There are some outdoor products that are "one-and-done" in terms of marketing uses, and while there isn't anything wrong with that per se, it also doesn't have to be the case by default. There are lots of outdoor items that can be used again and again, extending your client's marketing reach a great deal. "The majority of the items that we manufacture are all high-quality and at affordable prices, but the great thing about them is they can be used over and over again," Borre said. She explained that these reuses give the products a longevity of branding that will exceed the actual event.
3. Consider Incentives
Given their associations with fun and luxury, higher price-point outdoor products can be a great choice for incentive and rewards programs. Suppliers like AAA Innovations offer services that make setting up or adding to a client's incentives program easy. "We also do fulfillment, so if a customer wanted to put one of our items into one of their programs and wanted to do what we call 'on-demand' shipping, they don't have to commit to a minimum quantity," said Borre. "We'll put together a grouping of five items we suggest they can offer [in the program]. We'll do the artwork, so all they need to do is upload it to their site or however they're marketing it, and they can go ahead and purchase one piece at a time," she said. She also explained that the company offers special pricing.
When adding products like coolers, chairs and other higher-end outdoor items to an incentives program, Borre recommended labeling the category as something like "lifestyle" rather than "tailgating," since the latter can have too much of a hard-partying connotation. "The corporate customer might not like that," she said.
4. Bright Is Best
Brock Taylor, director of content marketing for Woodbridge, Virginia-based BamBams, mentioned that bright colors were useful for outdoor marketing, citing the example of silicone bracelets used as a way to quickly identify event attendees or to separate people into different groups.
5. Plan for the Weather
Sometimes, weather doesn't always work in your favor, so you need to make sure whatever items you provide for the event can handle what the elements have in store. Taylor recommended the company's silicone bracelets as an outdoor item that can handle hot or cold weather just fine. He also gave some suggestions for specific seasons. "For spring, we love the FanFan which acts as a multi-function banner, which can be a noisemaker or a fan (perfect for warm days)," he said. "For fall or winter, there is nothing better than a knitted scarf. It keeps you warm and they look great."
6. Try Direct Mail
Mailing someone an item as a way to hook them into attending an event has always been an interesting way to approach direct marketing. Any small, mailable item is a good choice, from sunscreen to soccer balls, but Taylor suggested an idea based around BamBams' Banner Pen. "Sporting a full color, retractable banner that is pulled out from the barrel of the pen, the ideas are endless, but one idea we really like is sending out a banner pen before a college orientation with a map of the campus and a schedule of events," he said. "This is super-helpful to the students who feel a little lost upon arriving."