It’s Show Time! How to Make Your Next Event More Memorable

It's Show Time! How to Make Your Next Event More Memorable

What a start to the year! CCC kicked off 2020 on the road at client events, and we feel like we’ve been recovering ever since. Whether you’re hosting an event or exhibiting at one, we picked up some important tips to make sure attendees remember you—in a good way.

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Create an Immersive Experience

Experiential marketing is hot, because it invites your customers or attendees to become part of your brand experience. Instead of just telling attendees about your products or services, show how they can be used. Then, your customers or attendees will be able to picture themselves using your products or services—and understand why they need to buy. In today’s connected world, experiential spaces also provide a backdrop for selfies and Stories that will spread your brand’s message across social media.

The immersive experience you create will depend on your products and services, your budget and your brand’s story. What type of experience do customers expect from your brand? What benefits do your products and services deliver? How does your brand improve your customers’ lives?

Once you create a strategy, think about your budget. If budget isn’t an issue, go crazy! If you’re trying to operate on a smaller scale, think big in more creative ways. Instead of building a structure, create a space like basecamp did (pictured above) to showcase its outdoor and lifestyle products. Don’t be afraid to get creative! It’s amazing how you can transform a space when you think outside of the box (or booth or room).

3 Big (Affordable) Marketing Ideas for Your Small Business

Hosting an event? Seek sponsors to help with costs of experiential spaces. How can you incorporate the sponsor’s company or brand, so they see a return on their investment? Or partner with fellow companies or brands that make sense, so you can dream bigger together.

Always Be Educating

Explain how attendees can use your product or service in terms your audience understands. Perhaps you’ve come up with novel product applications someone wouldn’t think of from looking at your product, or there’s more than meets the eye. Demonstrations help showcase hidden or overlooked features, novel uses or complex services.

Can your products or services be bundled with others to create a more complete user experience? Show the finished kits or bundles to your attendees, so they can see it for themselves instead of trying to picture it. If your service is frequently used with other services, demo them together to show a more extensive solution to your guests. This is a wonderful opportunity to partner with companies that sell products and services that enhance yours to split costs and pursue larger opportunities.

Selling a complex solution to a business market where buyer’s journeys tend to be more complex? Events are the perfect opportunity to talk to buyers face-to-face or answer targeted follow-up questions after attendees watch a video or live demonstration. Drum up interest by scheduling appointments or meetings ahead of your event and offer incentives to do so. You’ll be assured a steady stream of prospective buyers instead of hoping that attendees will stop by. If possible, offer walk-in demos in order to take advantage of floor traffic. You could leave some time towards the end of the event for attendees who expressed interest onsite, even offering a last call group demonstration before answering questions one-on-one.

Welcome_Springhill Suites

Offer Unexpected Value

Make your event memorable by offering value at every turn. Set the tone by welcoming attendees with a special surprise in their room or an event survival kit when they check in. Set up a relaxation station or recharge zone with a coffee bar, free WiFi, quick massages, seating areas, phone chargers, nature scenes/sounds and/or animals to play with. It’s amazing how puppies or llamas can lower your stress level!

4 Ways to Add More Fun (& Productivity) To Your Events

Sound out of your budget? Talk to a local animal shelter about bringing adoptable dogs to your event. The dogs will receive some love and attention, and the shelter will be able to show some of its animals, pass out its information and possibly even find some forever homes for its furry guests. Can’t build a Starbucks? Rent some Keurig machines so attendees can brew their own coffee. Look for a local massage school to work your event. The students will gain experience while they’re working toward their certifications, and schools are typically less expensive to work with than experienced professionals.

End your event with a celebration to remember, and tie it into your event theme. Sure, first impressions are important, but make sure attendees leave your event (or booth) on a good note. When attendees are enjoying themselves, they’ll get more out of your event—and spread the word about the wonderful experience they had. After all, what happens in Vegas now ends up all over social media!

Looking for help planning your next event? We can create a plan that works for you.

Event Feedback

What feature or amenity have you loved at an event?
How have you created an immersive experience for your guests or customers?
What tips would you add to make your event experience more memorable?

On the road again,
Jaime

Let’s chat (about your event needs, marketing ideas or when spring is coming):

 

How to Connect with Customers in the Age of Assistance

We’re living in the age of assistance. What does that mean for marketers?

Marketing tips in the age of assistance
Customers have more options than ever before today, thanks to technology. Therefore, each buyer’s journey is unique and customers are looking for valuable content to educate themselves before making a purchase.

“Focus on the user and all else will follow.”

Your marketing strategy needs to be focused on your customer or prospect. Where do they look for information? How do they like to shop? How do they like to interact with brands?

If people need help, they usually start with Google. (While the search giant reaches 93% of US consumers, note that your customer base or target audience may use Bing or another search engine. It’s important to know where your customers go.) We’re busy, distracted and always on the go, so people are searching on mobile, including reviews, for information to make decisions in the moment.

Consider this example… Jon is working at home when he hears water running. The problem is that he’s not running any water. After heading upstairs, he realizes that his toilet is overflowing. He lives in an older home, so there’s no shut-off for the toilet; he needs to turn off his water at the main shut-off. Quickly, he Googles shut off water main and finds a YouTube video showing him how to locate his main water valve and shut it off. Jon follows the directions and shuts off his water before suffering any damage. Who does he call to fix the toilet? The local plumbing company who provided the video, of course.

Note that this local company gave Jon the information he needed first. He didn’t have to dig through their website or sit through a sales pitch beforehand. Educating consumers before you ask for a purchase or deliver a call-to-action (CTA) drives business.

 

Meet People in the Moment

People are living in the moment today, so they rarely plan in advance. Jon probably should have known where his main water shut-off valve was, but he had recently moved in and hadn’t gotten around to finding it yet. He’s not alone.

Mobile searches for today, tomorrow or now are up 900%. Our phones are never out of reach, so it’s always convenient to find the information we need—in a traffic jam, at the doctor’s office or at your kid’s ballet recital.

How can you meet your customers or prospects in the moment?

Start where they start: Google yourself.

Google yourself, your category and your business. Do you like what you see?

 

Google yourself, your category and your business (in incognito mode, if you prefer). Do you like what you see? Are you providing valuable content to help your customers and prospects educate themselves and move along the buyer’s journey? Or are you only asking for the buy? Be a part of the conversation along the entire journey, so consumers can get to know your company and form an emotional connection with you. If you just show up at the end when consumers are ready to buy, they’re likely to go with another company who has been there all along the way.

While we’re on this subject, does your business have a Google My Business listing? If not, set one up. This free resource helps you connect with customers across Google Search and Maps, boosting your SEO efforts. Remember to include a phone number too. It allows people to quickly call you, which could be the difference between you getting an opportunity or your competitor.

While Google My Business is an important starting point, don’t stop there. Tracking how your customers first found you is important, but so is measuring every moment that matters to your business. Each buyer’s journey is unique today, so you need to track every interaction with your customer and map out their individual customer journey.

Your customer may have found your company through Google, but then she visited your website, read a few blog articles to learn more about a subject that interested her and connected with you on your Facebook Page. After those steps, she contacted you to discuss a project. If she hadn’t made all of those steps, she may not have ever contacted you to do business. That’s why it’s so important to measure every interaction or touch point with your customers, so you understand how they want to be communicated with and helped along their unique buyer’s journey.

 

Make an Emotional Connection

People are looking for more from brands and businesses today. They don’t want to just buy stuff; they want to support companies who have similar values to theirs and are good corporate citizens.

Tell your brand’s story: how you got started, why you’re in business and the faces behind the brand name. Talk about your charitable efforts and community involvement, so customers can see your values in action. They want to know where their hard-earned dollars are going and what kind of company they’re supporting. Tell your founder’s story and shine the spotlight on your employees with behind-the-scenes content, including how your product is made, a day in the life or following employees outside the office.

Creating an emotional connection with your audience is crucial to your marketing and sales efforts.

 

While customers want to get to know your business or brand, they also want to be entertained. Most people make decisions emotionally and then look for rational reasons to support their decisions—especially when we’re making so many decisions today in the moment.

So, your content needs to educate, entertain and connect with your customer on an emotional level. In fact, advertising campaigns are twice as likely to perform well if they contain emotional content instead of rational content. Buyers consuming your content want to feel a connection with your brand—not think about how your brand will help them.

In 2019, we average a 3-second attention span online, so you need to grab a viewer’s attention quickly. Create joy or surprise right away to keep viewers engaged with your content. Consumers get distracted every 10 minutes, on average, and take three minutes to refocus, so you’ll need to keep them engaged the entire time they’re consuming your content. If you lose them, they may jump to something else and never come back.

3 Key Principles in the Age of Assistance

  1. Be There—Connect with the right people during key moments of intent.
  2. Be Valuable—Give consumers the information they need where they are.
  3. Be Quick—Automatically act on intent. Consumers expect quick responses today!

As marketing professionals, how can you deliver on these three key principles?

  1. Know Your Audience—Go beyond demographics to target consumers effectively. Detailed buyer personas are important!
  2. Know Your Brand’s Story—Tell your story, so your audience can understand your values and connect with your business on an emotional level.
  3. Conceptualize the Space—Understand the marketing domains your customers are operating in so well that you know the best ways to connect and communicate with them in those areas.
  4. Self-Educate—Marketing knowledge is constantly updating today, so you need to always be learning.

Understanding your customers (beyond simple demographics) is so important today, because you need to meet them where they are when they need you. What data do you have on your customers (that you’re protecting)? How can you leverage that data to better serve them (not to sell to them)?

Knowing how your customers first heard of you is no longer enough. Go beyond the first click to measure every interaction or touch point with your buyer. It will change your understanding of how each customer wants to be communicated with and helped along the way.

Follow your customers across social media platforms (however they use them) to email and messaging services to brick and mortar locations. We’re living in the age of assistance where micro-moments and individual interactions matter for your business. How are you making the most of every single one?

Questions? Comments? Leave your feedback We’d love to hear your thoughts!

Are you struggling to connect with your customers in the age of assistance? Let’s discuss how we can help you with your marketing efforts!

Let’s connect,
Jaime

Vlog: Showcase Your Event in a Show Daily

Last week, CCC was in Indianapolis creating content and getting social with over 34,000 firefighters from around the world at FDIC International 2018. In addition to impressive signage and booth displays, we picked up another cool idea — a Show Daily.

This tabloid-sized publication shared highlights from the previous day’s events. It’s also a great way to feature sponsors, hot/new products and actionable takeaways for attendees to follow up on during or after the show.

A practical piece that also serves as a memento from your event! How can you utilize a Show Daily?

Vlog: This Underutilized Idea Will Help Make Your Marketing Memorable 

What does memorable marketing look like? This piece from FedEx.

The shipping company utilizes its new eCom Label Solutions to promote the benefits of its new eCom Label Solutions. That may sound obvious, but it’s not.

Using your new product or service to promote your new product or service is an innovative and underutilized idea in the marketing world.

Watch our first vlog, and let us know what you think in the comments.

Cheers!

The CCC Team

4 Ways to Add More Fun (& Productivity) To Your Events

Are attendees excited to attend your company’s events? Or are your events just another stop on the circuit?

Promotional product ideas for meetings & events

Don’t forget the fun! Events shouldn’t be all work and no play.

Recently CCC had the opportunity to attend ASI Orlando, a leading promotional products show, and headed home with marketing ideas galore. Today, we’re going to focus on how to liven up your meetings and events.

 Add some fun with a photo booth (or selfie station)! Whether you’re hosting an evening party or a potentially awkward networking session/ice breaker, a photo booth adds some fun and helps attendees connect with each other. Instead of focusing on differences, visitors will find common ground while making fun memories. The best news? A photo booth doesn’t have to break your budget. Devote a corner, order some fun props (beard fun face, anyone?) and snap away! (Tip: Make sure you have good lighting in whatever area you choose.)

Roll out the red carpet and move registration to the rooms! We’ve all been there — standing in line at a registration booth way too early in order to officially check in to a conference. Why irritate attendees right off the bat? If everyone is staying at the host hotel, move registration to the rooms. Place welcome gifts in each room along with badges and registration materials. Attendees will feel special and be able to swap time standing in line at registration with activities they’d rather be doing, like relaxing, networking or enjoying some fresh air.

Event Planning: You Need to Have a Plan

Hold a scavenger hunt or set up an escape room experience. Encourage attendees to work together to resolve a situation while having a good time. Both experiences help improve communication and problem solving in a memorable way. Kick the experience up a notch by tying it into the local area or your line of work. Commemorate the experience by printing the scavenger hunt map on a scarf or t-shirts for a job well done (I escaped the 2017 CCC Expo!).

Need to recharge? Head to the Relaxation Station. Set up a Relaxation Station where attendees can head to recharge their gadgets and themselves. Massages, refreshments, mobile chargers/outlets and WiFi are all welcome amenities to weary travelers. Other options for a relaxing space include a coffee bar, connection cafe or nature room. On a similar note, don’t feel the need to fill every minute with sessions and lectures. Unscheduled networking time can produce amazing connections, solutions and big business.

Remember, it’s OK for attendees to have fun and enjoy your events. They can still learn and be productive at the same time. Make your event an exciting destination rather than just another stop on the show circuit.

Category Archives: Event Planning

Meetings & Events Minutes

How do you add fun to your events?

What’s your favorite promotional product (or branded item) that you’ve given out or received at an event?

What activity or experience did you have at an event that was truly memorable?

p.s. Did you know that CCC offers event planning services? From big ideas to small details, we’d love to help you with your next event!

Cheers to a successful event!
Jaime

Let’s chat (about promotional products, your event planning needs or otherwise):
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Social Media Isn’t Free: 5 Ways To Maximize Your Time & Money

Social media isn’t free. There, we said it. It’s been said before, but no one seems to believe it. Even if you’re not advertising or boosting posts, someone (or multiple someones) is spending time strategizing, creating content, posting and engaging with community members. Or at least we hope they are.

How to become a SocialMedia Manager by Urs Steiner via CC BY 2.0

How to become a SocialMedia Manager by Urs Steiner via CC BY 2.0

Social Media Isn’t Free

Time is money, something that entrepreneurs and small business owners say often but don’t usually take to heart. We try to race full speed ahead doing everything ourselves, trying to fit 30 hours of activity into a 24-hour day. That’s a poor long-term strategy that leads to burnout and failure.

How can you maximize your time (i.e. money) on social media?

  • Think before you post. In other words, spend time putting together a strategy before you rush into creating a presence on a social platform. Think about the resources that you have (time, money, staffing), and factor that into your decision. Research your buyer personas to see which platforms prospective buyers are on, and talk to your current clients about which platforms they connect with brands on. Focus on platforms that fit your business niche the best.
  • Take advantage of holidays, special events and trends. We’re NOT telling you to use unrelated hashtags or run a special on an inappropriate holiday. However, you can reach new audiences by tapping into the marketing power of Small Business Saturday or jumping on the popularity of a trending hashtag. Just make sure that it’s applicable to what you do like the example below.

  • Get mileage out of your content. Repurpose content to fit other platforms, and continue to keep popular content in the rotation. It’s OK (and a good idea) to share a hot blog post multiple times, depending on the platform. For example, Twitter is a higher volume platform than Facebook, so it makes sense to share the same content at different times in different ways (i.e. a quote from the post vs. a picture tweet). Track your results, so you can see what works best with your audience.
  • Curate, don’t create. While original content targeted to your audience reigns supreme, it’s difficult to produce enough quality content to satisfy your audience all the time. That’s where content curation comes in. Find resources who are creating quality content that delivers value to your communities, and share it with them. There are a number of tools available to help with content curation, including Pocket, Buffer and Flipboard.

Related Reading: 11 Content Curation Tools Every Marketer Needs

  • Spend your advertising dollars wisely. If you decide to advertise, put together a strategy first and review your options. What are you trying to achieve? For example, it may make more sense to boost a specific post showcasing what you do than advertising your Facebook Page in general. A Twitter Card may work better for you than a Promoted Tweet, depending on your objectives.

Social media isn’t free, but it is worth doing if you do it right. Figuring out your objectives first will help you determine how to proceed in the social landscape. If you have questions, let us know. From strategy to management, we’d love to help your brand get social — and see the results.

Get Social on Social Media

What social platform have you seen the best results on?

What’s your favorite content curation or social media management tool?

What holiday, event or trending hashtag have you tapped into with success?

Feel free to leave your social handles and/or URLs in the comments below, so we can connect.

Let’s get social,
Jaime

Let’s chat (about social media, content marketing or otherwise):
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Think Outside of the Booth: Ideas to Promote Your Brand at Events

Last month, CCC traveled to Indianapolis to work an event for a client, and it was an amazing experience. In addition to fueling the conversation with 32,000 firefighters from around the world, we walked away with some creative branding ideas.

A turnout jacket cling on a bathroom mirror

Think outside of the booth when promoting your brand!

While your booth doesn’t have to (and shouldn’t) be boring, there are so many other opportunities to grab attendees’ attention at an event. Take the above static cling, for example. It was hard to miss this manufacturer’s ad of a turnout coat on full-length mirrors in bathrooms around the convention center. It’s crazy. You can almost see yourself in TECGEN® PPE’s gear, can’t you? You might as well go to the company’s booth and try some on.

TECGEN® PPE's unique hallway display shattered convention!

TECGEN® PPE shattered convention — and expectations — with this hallway display at a firefighter conference.

If you somehow missed TECGEN® in the bathroom, the company stopped attendees in their tracks elsewhere too. Instead of shattering glass (to remove a fire extinguisher), the manufacturer shattered convention with its newly redesigned turnout gear — and hallway display. In addition, the company’s unique display was in a high traffic area right outside of a doorway to one of the exhibit areas and a food court area.

Not to be outdone, MSA Safety’s booth was so hot it was smoking. Literally! This may be one of the coolest booth ideas we’ve ever seen.

And we haven’t even talked about the well-placed floor graphics (stairs, anyone?), ceiling danglers, electronic signs, individual event sponsorships, fire trucks in lobbies and so much more.

Remember, your event experience doesn’t begin or end at your booth. That’s just where the party’s at!

p.s. If you’re planning to exhibit at an event or planning an event itself, we’d love to help! Drop us a line so we can help you maximize your event experience!

Cheers,
Jaime

Let’s chat (on events or otherwise):
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4 Reasons #GivingTuesday Is Succeeding (And You Can Too!)

Together we give | GivingTuesday
#GivingTuesday

November 27, 2012 was the inaugural #GivingTuesday. It makes sense. While Black Friday and Cyber Monday dominate headlines, America has long been committed to giving, especially during the Holiday season. Finally, some generous minds came together and dedicated a day specifically to giving back, kicking off the giving season.

Here are four reasons why this powerful movement is succeeding that your business or brand can use to succeed too.

  • Find support The minds behind #GivingTuesday knew this idea would be much more successful with others dedicated to its success too, so they reached out to a slew of like-minded organizations, groups and companies. Over 2,000 companies responded to officially become #GivingTuesday™ partners! Plus, even more companies and donors have stepped forward to match donations to specific charities and causes, making even more of a difference. When so many people, organizations and companies are committed to an idea’s success, it’s more likely to happen.
  • Be genuine #GivingTuesday is all about helping others. You can donate money, volunteer your time or skills or share the news about this effort with your social networks. The folks who got together to put this idea into motion want to help people all over the world give back, no matter what they have to give. This movement is about working together for the common cause of helping those in need. Be transparent in your motives: today’s digital world and social media landscape make it difficult to hide alternative agendas, which helps those who are real.
  • Spread the word While jumping on Twitter this morning, one of the first things I saw was a tweet from Bill Gates about #GivingTuesday. That certainly got my attention, and with 8,908,437 followers, a few others noticed it too. A few others, as in 6,812 retweets and 729 favorites. You don’t have to be Bill Gates though. #GivingTuesday makes it easy to become a social media ambassador, share its news and get involved. Remember, a great idea isn’t much good if nobody knows about it.
  • Make it easy to participate Point #3 delves directly into this… it doesn’t do much good to spread the word if you don’t make it easy for people to participate. At givingtuesday.org, you can easily locate a cause to support, utilize your social networks for good or take some course of action. Those on Twitter can search the #GivingTuesday hash tag to locate opportunities, and participating companies are encouraging employees to get involved. While you’re busy drumming up support, don’t lose momentum by making it difficult for people to participate. Remember, make it easy and people (businesses and customers) are more likely to jump in!

Learn from this wonderful and successful movement by noting the four keys above and applying them to your brand or business. Also, get involved and support a cause close to your heart! We can all make a difference no matter who you are or what you have.

Image credits: #GivingTuesday website

Happy #GivingTuesday!
Jaime