opinion

How to Use Event Marketing to Drum Up Profits

Brian Sofer

Successful retailers are always looking for cost-effective ways to find new customers for their store or website. Sales and specials are great, but are they the most effective method of ensuring long-term, repeat clientele? Event marketing is an extremely cost-effective method of creating your own memorable, branded experience for new customers.

The term “event marketing” is a fancy way of saying “doing stuff” with the customer. Put simply, any sort of direct engagement, activity or interaction with a customer or prospect is what’s involved. That can range from the spectacular to the simple – but the objective is always the same: create a positive brand experience for your potential or existing customer. You want to create a memory for this customer, something that makes your business stand out from your competition to make sure the next time this person needs something they’ll come back to you. It’s hard to create those on Amazon. If you want to lock down those anticipated new customers coming from the Fifty Shades of Grey premiere, now is the time to start using brick and mortar to your advantage.

Put simply, any sort of direct engagement, activity or interaction with a customer or prospect is what’s involved. That can range from the spectacular to the simple – but the objective is always the same: create a positive brand experience for your potential or existing customer.

You’ve got a store, essentially a venue – use it. Several retailers have successfully integrated holidays or pop culture events into their stores / showrooms to create unique and different shopping experiences. A game, a couples workshop, a treasure hunt, a themed costume event, a strip-off, an Instagram race, etc, etc. Take a look at the calendar, what’s coming up?

You don’t have to necessarily be married to calendar holidays to build event your marketing themes around – make up your own. Steamy Saturdays? Maybe after closing there’s a VIP invite-only, Steamy Saturday “after hours” event. It’s a workshop, lecture, or VIP sales event that teaches X, Y and Z and features brands A, B and C. Participants get a video/link of the event, and are given a “You go girl!” bag, packed with samples from vendor sponsors along with a VIP Steamy Saturday card entitling them to earn rewards and discounts on future purchases.

Event marketing promotions are not revolutionary, difficult or costly – they just require the time and planning to do them and to do them often. Since they are relatively inexpensive, you can keep tweaking them to see what’s most effective in generating new long-term customers – not just quick-hit sale spikes. The one thing we can all agree to as the business begins to shift, is that adaptability will likely be key for everyone’s retail survival – so having the ability to experiment and implement new marketing tactics as they are needed will only put you in a better position.

Brian Sofer is the digital marketing director for Pipedream Products. A marketer for over 20 years, Sofer has implemented effective integrated marketing strategies for a diverse range of clients in the adult, music, action sports and smoke industries.

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