Promoting an event in the social media age is an extremely complex and creative endeavor largely relevant to the specific category of event being produced, but there are some common elements to any successful event marketing strategy which apply nearly universally. The effective and powerful marketing departments of major brands engaged in sports events have been among the leaders in forging new paradigms in event promotions and the strategies they have applied can, with a little tweaking, be applied to whatever type of event you’re producing. Baylor University Rewards Program. Baylor University encourages students and other sports fans to engage with the program through social media by providing a sequence of motivations to share Baylor Athletics content. Valuable points can be gathered by fans through specific retweets and hashtag usage, video and image sharing, and various check-ins. When Baylor says “valuable” they really mean it, as accumulated points can be redeemed for merchandise such as Baylor Athletics tickets and gear, as well as lunch with a coach and the opportunity to lead the Baylor Bears football team out of the tunnel at the home opener. Are you still offering the same old boring incentives for your attendees or are you thinking outside the box like the smart marketers at Baylor? Michigan Wolverines Pre-Sale Strategy. One of the primary keys to engaging your event’s social media following is to provide exclusive advantages which they could receive in no other way. The University of Michigan sports department marketers understood this aspect very well when it came to setting up a 24 hour period prior to the opening up of ticket sales to the public which was exclusively restricted to the team’s social media followers. Not only did they sell thousands of tickets during that day but many were from new fans which had never attended a Wolverine game before. Are you providing a variety of completely exclusive ways that your prospects can interact with your event and derive that very special VIP feeling? Arizona State Fan Content. ASU was dedicated to improving the experiences of fans at the stadium during Sun Devil games, so they solicited content directly from them and aggregated it from across various social networks in order to select the best to feature on the stadium videoboard. Are you encouraging and rewarding your attendees to provide content to your event? New Jersey Devils Mission Control. The New Jersey NHL team is a leader in sports social media efficacy and they have excelled at least in part due to the overwhelming zeal of their fans who staff their “Mission Control” to monitor any discussions dealing with the team on various social media platforms for up to twelve hours every game day, rotate in efficient shifts, and do so on a completely volunteer basis. Now that’s fandom! By allowing their fans to “act like sportscasters” the NJ Devils team management has rewarded their enthusiastic followers and empowered them to become brand celebs. Are you treating your prospective attendees as nothing more than a seat number or are you providing them with personal input and the opportunity to become a visible aspect of your event’s branding? Vancouver Canucks In-Game Voting. Another NHL team, this one on the opposite side of the continent, has also implemented highly effective social media strategies. The Canucks implemented a three-star voting facility which their fans can access not only from the team app but also from their website and Facebook page. As the fans are watching the game they can vote for a variety of recognitions, including the favorite player of the match. Are you designing your apps and social media presences only as thinly disguised ways to sell tickets to your event and missing out on the benefits to be gained by offering your attendees a way to actually shape or award your event? The successful strategies being utilized by sports marketers everywhere are well worth analyzing by any event promoter. Although these examples are drawn from NCAA and NHL teams, phenomenal techniques worth duplicating are being implemented by sports marketers around the country and the world!
No matter what type of event you are marketing there are extremely valid lessons you can learn from the way that professional sports teams leverage the power of mobile promotion. With half of all Americans in the critical 18 to 35 year old age group following at least one sports team, and over a third of all active in social media commenting about their team, mobile devices and sports events have forged a marriage made in marketing heaven. Some of the most innovative and powerful mobile marketing strategies are being developed by sports organizations and the basic tenets which they harness are applicable to just about any event. Facilitate community interactions One of the primary strategies utilized by sports teams is the establishment of a custom-branded mobile app which functions as a social engagement platform in order to reach out to the fans and connect them more profoundly to both the team and the individual athletes. A number of these apps work as interactive dashboard functions which allow the user to continuously monitor the live stats of the team as well as each individual player, integrate the primary social media feeds, and facilitate community interactions so that the continual conversation knows no bounds. Attendance is highly rewarded However, the sports marketer does not stop at simply facilitating the interaction of the fans with the team and with each other as they combine an active strategy of providing ample rewards for shares as well as a variety of other activities, with attendance being the most highly rewarded activity of them all. Opt-in processes are widely applied in sports marketing as we have all seen the various ways that these marketing masters are able to integrate into every imaginable aspect of their campaigns from brochures to bus side ads to billboards to TV commercials the encouragement to “Text TEAMFAN to 080808 to enter into the VIP playoff ticket draw!” The fan response acts as an opt-in that allows the marketer to provide future offers and information about the team. The subsequent permission step is rarely an obstacle There is a somewhat linear response mechanism where the more of these special event and ticket offers these sports teams launch, the faster their marketing list burgeons. Of course there is always the legal requirement to obtain formal and conventional permission prior to entering any name into an email subscription list, but once the attendee has participated to the extent of sending a text or similar action, the subsequent permission step rarely presents much of an obstacle. Sports team marketers never forget that the bottom line is to get the attendee to the event and that is a business element which is shared by all event marketers, whether you’re promoting a concert, a trade show, a quilt expo, or a World Series game. Single click ticketing is critical The merchandising aspect of the mobile sports marketing strategy is one of the best developed of all the various factors as the apps of major teams invariably provide a wealth of apps developed in-house as well as third party customizable variants which provide the team extremely lucrative access to audience data which can be utilized to get that box office ringing. One of the most important provisions in these types of box office driven event strategies is the creation of a mobile environment where the user is at ease with the various functions as they are streamlined to the ultimate degree. You will rarely find a team app which requires more than a single click to engage in the ticketing process as wise sports team marketers are well aware that the more actions you require your audience to perform in order to convert to a sale, the fewer tickets you will sell. Sport team mobile marketers are experts in keeping their fans informed on the latest schedules, details, and announcements about their events in a fully interactive manner. Their ability to keep this bilateral communication system active at a high degree of efficiency allows them to build a widespread audience which translates into a powerful revenue stream for their events, as it can for yours!