Don't Forget Your Off-line Event Marketing

Walmart Mattel Virtual Store at Go Station, TorontoWith the busy holiday season behind us, the quieter month of January is an ideal time for event planning firms to assess the effectiveness of their marketing strategies and fine-tune marketing tactics. 

With all the recent emphasis on online and social media marketing, it's easy to forget to include some off-line tactics in your marketing mix from time to time. It can be a powerful strategy to gain visibility and attract potential customers. Here are two examples:


Postcards can provide prospective clients with information about where to connect with you on-line. In fact, if the postcard is attractive, prospective clients will keep it and even post it in their offices.

Companies like Vistaprint, Send-Out Cards and Simply Postcards can create postcards with the images and messaging you provide. Send-Out Cards and Simply Postcards will also distribute them for you.

Gift Baskets and Boxes

When I worked on a project with marketing guru Jerry Goodis a few years ago, he stressed the fact that, while a letter or an email can be ignored, an attractive box or basket will never be ignored. 

There are gift baskets and boxes to fit every budget and you can slip your postcards into them. Streamline the process of selecting and distributing gift baskets through companies like Send-Out Cards, Gourmet Gift Baskets and Toronto-based Nutcracker Sweet.

Pop-up Stores

Pop-up virtual stores that use QR codes are popping up in more places. Building on last season's success with a pop-up store in a Union Station tunnel in Toronto,  Walmart had a huge presence at Toronto's Go Station this season. They also had pop-up stores at McGill Metro station and Central Station  in Montreal. When I was recently in New York City, I also noticed stores popping up at a couple of subway stations. 

Event planners can use this technology at conferences, large meetings and trades shows to increase their visibility and provide prospective clients with all of the information they need to connect with them on-line. Virtual stores can also capture contact information from interested potential customers.

Here is how pop-up stores come together:

Public Game Portals

Giant Video GameGaming has always been an effective strategy for creating a buzz and grabbing attention.There has been a virtual game portal at Toronto's Union Station for several months now. It changes regularly and is customized for the season.

Over the holidays, the game consisted of catching giant electronic gifts in a shopping cart with an opportunity to win the items. At the end of the game, players could select their top gift picks and enter their e-mail addresses to receive information. What an entertaining way to build brand awareness. Think hosted buyer lounges.

Off-line marketing does not replace online marketing but if skillfully used, it can reinforce on-line initiatives and drive prospective clients to online channels. To inspire you, tomorrow, I'll profile an innovative hotel marketing campaign that brought together online and off-line marketing with powerful results.

For more marketing tips, also check out What's New: Technology for Event Marketing InnovationCustom Postcards at Your Next Event and 9 Creative Marketing Events.


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