February 07, 2016

Events

Have you ever attended the Internet Retailer conference? Or Shop.org?

You know, we read too much about pointless omnichannel tactics and strategies ... almost none of what we're told to do works. Nobody wants channel alignment, for if customers wanted channel alignment, Macy's would be posting +10% gains.

But trade organizations, these folks actually execute credible omnichannel tactics, don't they?

Internet Retailer has a series of publications they sell. They write stuff about online brands every day. All of their efforts integrate with their annual summer conference ... something nearly all of you reading this post have attended. Think about the conference. They get big time speakers ... many conferences even get speakers to pay to play, don't they? They have a vendor hall where you are hawked by folks who paid tens of thousands of dollars to be able to encourage you to pick up a free laser pointer in exchange for hearing about "programmatic". Trade journalists cover the conference and spread the word on behalf of Internet Retailer. Attendees tweet about the event, spreading the word for free.

All of this nonsense is designed to keep Internet Retailer in business. It's an actual, viable omnichannel strategy, isn't it? But the event is the heartbeat of the whole thing. Without the event, there is not nearly as much to get people (you) excited about during the year.

In e-commerce, retail, and catalog marketing, events are completely under-utilized. Think about Fashion Week. This is an extravaganza designed to get retailers to carry the merchandise that fashion brands want to sell. And it works! Free advertising everywhere, digital and analog.

The Men in Blazers hosted BlazerCon last November ... their podcasts and TV show and conference and merchandise and newsletter all work together, creating buzz and new customers (listeners) in the process. Both loyalty and acquisition are rewarded.

I know, I know, you sell widgets. Nobody wants to come to a two-day event to hear the latest in the world of 3D Widget printing.

Nonsense.

If you have 100,000 twelve-month buyers, you have 300 buyers who adore you and would attend your event. Bring in your vendor partners, make them stars in your industry during the course of a year or two, and then when you host your event, the names will be recognized and adored and will generate interest. You get all of this free advertising in the process, free advertising that generates new customers.

Go hire a brand response marketer, and get busy creating an annual event that your customer base cannot help but want to attend. You attend Internet Retailer and Shop.org, don't you? Do you love those organizations? No? And yet, you attend. Why wouldn't the concept work for you business.

Customer Acquisition is the biggest challenge we face in 2016. Do something different.