Editor’s Letter - Live Opportunity

Looking for a hot market to target to diversify your business? Think live events.

Some of today’s biggest brands understand one inexorable truth about marketing: The closer you can get to customers, the better off you’ll be.

Just look at the recently completed Winter Olympics that took place in Sochi, Russia. Companies ranging from Procter & Gamble and McDonald’s to Coca-Cola, Visa and Samsung not only advertised on TV every night during the Games, but they also got as close as possible to the athletes and spectators on the streets of Russia.

Visa handed out items throughout the Olympic village promoting its credit and banking services. In addition to samples, Coca-Cola and McDonald’s both provided Olympics visitors with a variety of scarves, ear-muffs, jackets, and other cold-weather gear emblazoned with their logos. The Olympics, just like other major sporting events, are the height of live event marketing – and these brands know they need to do everything they can to leave a positive and lasting impression on the people they’re trying to reach with their marketing efforts.

In fact, they know that the live event medium – unlike most other traditional advertising vehicles – gives brands a unique opportunity to connect with an audience in a much more personal way. “The noise is deafening,” says David Rich, senior vice president of strategy and planning worldwide at George P. Johnson Experience Marketing, an event marketing agency. “Brands are realizing that awareness is no longer enough – it’s about brand experiences and creating brand relationships.”

With that realization, the breadth of the live event market is growing exponentially. Research from the Event Marketing Institute shows that marketers’ use of live events as part of their marketing mix has increased by more than 40% in the past five years. It’s an opportunity that ad specialty distributors should be discussing with their clients, because promotional products are often used by brands as they try to give attendees something they can easily remember them by.

“Reaching people isn’t the challenge – it’s connecting with people,” says Charlie Horsey of MKTG, a marketing services firm that specializes in event and experiential marketing for companies such as Nike and Google. “Tactile engagements where people can feel, touch, taste the product, rather than simply reading about it, deepen and enhance relationships.”

And, not only can live event marketing help your clients engage with their customers in a closer way than ever before, but it provides distributorships with a unique opportunity. It’s a chance to diversify your business which has become an absolute necessity for distributor companies today. “You want to diversify your customer base as much as you can to avoid that one customer who’s going to go away,” says Robert Holland, chairman and CEO of Vistage Michigan, an executive coaching firm based in Ann Arbor, MI.

Distributors are always looking for ways to gain new clients and reach new markets in an effort to spread out their revenues, and live events always consist of multiple marketers and sponsors that are promoting themselves. Getting in by selling promotional items to one of these companies at an event gives a distributor access to other companies, as well as new ideas to see how other companies are incorporating promotional products into their marketing.

Ultimately, diversification of your business – which we cover in our Hot Topic feature this month – depends on access and opportunity to new clients. Live events present that kind of access.

Live events, in conjunction with practical and memorable promotional products, create the perfect opportunity for your clients to connect with their audience and for your business to expand and diversify. It’s the advertising medium that’s growing the fastest today. Shouldn’t you be capitalizing on it?

Enjoy the issue!