Get Back to Basics (Direct Mail) and Come Together on Brands and Titles, Event Marketers Say

Paul McCartney just turned 80 on June 18. Ringo Starr just rang up 82 on July 7. Both still tour which is quite heart-stirring. While they don’t need too much marketing to boost their events, the rest of us certainly do. So with a little help from my friends, let’s see if we can work it out to offer a few event marketing tips.

Do you want to know a secret? With that, Jeff Lenard, vice president of industry advocacy for NACS (National Association of Convenience Stores), looked at the big audience before him at our recent AMPLIFY conference. “We all urge our speakers to send information about our event or podcast or webinar that they will be appearing on or at to their followers,” he said. “But that’s probably more of how a parent might encourage a child—and not always with the best results.” So when a podcast episode with Stephanie Stuckey, CEO of Stuckeys Corp., recently passed Mike Rowe to go into their top 10 for downloads, Lenard emailed to congratulate Stuckey. She wrote back: “You made my day—I’m going to post this on LinkedIn and Facebook.” “Find a way to celebrate something with your speakers,” Lenard advised, instead of just asking them to do something.

We can work it out. Lenard also discovered that changing the titles to their podcasts increased downloads significantly. Plain titles were turned into ones in question form or the proven mode of starting with “how.”: Is an Electric Vehicle Future Possible? How Retailers Support Local Heroes Around the Clock; How Stuckey’s Is Bringing Back the Road Trip; Is the Great Resignation Over? What’s the Tipping Point for Gas Prices? The more dedicated efforts at snappier, more descriptive titles have tripled downloads. “It wasn’t a huge content shift,” Lenard said. But moderator Blake Althen, co-owner and producer of Human Factor, who works with NACS on the podcast, said “It was everything around it [that changed].” The takeaway: little things matter.

I’ve just seen a face. “It’s time to stop thinking about your event or service as inanimate and start thinking about it as a persona, a character that would be a part of your desired community,” writes MCI in their Event Marketing Guide. “…Your brand’s voice is this character and should be strategically incorporated into every written aspect of your event’s brand across website, social media, graphics, ads, and even onsite signage. Personality and branding are everything for today’s consumers and will help create a vivid image and understanding of what your event is and who it’s for. This also adds humanization, which many brands strive for to better connect to an audience and draw them in, inspiring a community centered around your event.”

Got to get you into my life. Speaking of humanization, a recent subject line—“Catch up next month?”—from Ragan Communications CEO Diane Schwartz for their upcoming event caught my eye: “Hi – I noticed you are not yet registered for Ragan’s Workplace Wellness Conference on Aug. 16-17 in Chicago, and I’m writing to see if you’ll be attending. I’d love to catch up with you there.” The code for a discount is even Diane-centric. She’s sincere—“Send me an email if you’d like to set up a time to chat while in Chicago.”

Please Mr. Postman. “What were the last five things someone sent you in the mail?” Lauren Alt-Kishpaugh, VP of marketing at offline marketing automation platform Postal, asked in a recent Marketing Brew post. “I could name the last five brands that have sent me something in the mail. I can’t do it with people who email me.” While email inboxes are overflowing, a USPS study found that 62% of millennials tend to read through the advertising mail they receive, rather than discarding it without reading. “The younger marketing generation is now saying, ‘Oh, shoot, this is something kind of new,’ even though it’s not new,” Alt-Kishpaugh said. Like Schwartz’s warm and fuzzy email greeting, getting a handwritten note has become inviting and has helped to drive the success of recent campaigns, she said. Many of Postal’s clients choose to use an AI handwriting tool to approximate the look of an actual letter. Yesterday returns.

Twist and shout. In the middle of a long, hot summer and in the midst of two-plus years of Covid, plus rising inflation and climate craziness, some added enthusiasm in our marketing certainly can’t hurt.

I have more ideas but we’ll let it be for today.


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