From a marketer’s perspective, one of the most critical decisions when it comes to launching an event marketing campaign is whether to organize and orchestrate the entire event oneself, or to take part in an established event as a participant. Jerry Campagna says that the driving force behind such a decision should be the sponsor’s long term intention toward the market segment. “If it is long term commitment, then going it alone is crucial. You own that event, and it is a marquis event to build upon for years to come. However, if the sponsor just wants to test the waters with a pilot initiative, it makes more sense to participate in a pre-arranged affair such as a regional festival. It costs less money and is therefore less risky; it requires much less logistical wrangling, and can still deliver the goods in connecting to the Latino target.”
Financial institutions are often attracted to these sorts of events for two reasons, says Campagna. First, they help build the business base. Second, they demonstrate that the company is reaching out to a diverse client base, which is federally mandated. “When they are asked what they are doing in the way of genuine outreach, this is a very tangible example that can be cited,” he says.
An Affair to Remember…
Marco Lopez, senior director of Hispanic marketing at Relay Worldwide, says that taking part in larger events can deliver a good ROI, but in order to do so, the advertiser must be vigilant about not getting lost among a sea of sponsors. “The key here is to deliver the consumer an experience that will stay with them and that they will identify with your brand.” He points to the recent China/Mexico soccer game that took place in Seattle and drew over 60,000 people, most of them Mexican. For the event, Relay was charged with crafting an experiential platform that would be memorable: “It’s a fact that about 30% of Mexicans are as passionate about wrestling as they are about soccer. So what we did was install wrestling wrings and matches outside the stadium as part of the larger festival.” While other sponsors had mini soccer pitches, Lopez says the wrestling event truly stood out and had the desired effect of creating an exciting experience for the participants and spectators—which is ultimately what event marketing is all about. If there is one thing that every experiential marketer can agree upon, it’s this: If you’re going to hold an event, make it eventful.
Event Marketing: Major Corporations Interested in Expanding their Presence (February, ’07)