I recently had lunch with an old friend I had not seen in quite some time. As we ordered, I listened as he bombarded our server with a number of requests all followed by “Does that cost extra?” or “Could I get…?” After the peppering of requests subsided and our server left, my friend informed me that he is watching his finances since losing his job. I felt bad and was planning on picking up the check until we started discussing what each one of us had been up to since we last saw each other.
I learned that my friend had gone on a number of excursions recently, and had a few more planned in the coming months. The look on my face must have given me away. Without being prompted, I was offered an explanation of how this is his opportunity to experience life and he’ll figure out how to pay for it later. After watching this same person haggle with our server over the inclusion of mayo, tomato and lettuce on his burger for $0.50, I was a little taken aback.
This got me thinking about the number of businesses that take a similar approach to their event marketing budget. Some companies will pay thousands of dollars to attend and participate in an event, but then skimp on the actual experience provided at the event to save a little money. No promotional items, a thrown together booth or display, and no constant messaging pieces. What message does this send to your potential customers? Unprofessional, uninterested, or even worse…
Let’s be honest, there are no participation ribbons in marketing. You either get the business, or you don’t. This may be your only opportunity to connect with a potential customer. Make sure you are presenting your company in the most positive light possible. Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish when it comes to your experiential marketing. Take the time to think your strategy through, and be sure you budget to create an experience your potential customers will remember.