It’s an Event

“Get ’em while they’re hot.”

In theory, that’s part of the strength behind event-driven marketing. And it’s true. In its purest form, this type of promotion is about capitalizing on a good thing. It’s about getting people pumped up about something… Then catching them when they’re at their “peak.” They’re then primed and ready for you to hit them with a final close.

However, it’s not necessary to host a celebrity-studded showcase – or some other like-minded splashy affair – to create an “event.” All you really need are some solid marketing skills and a few skilled practitioners to learn from.

And, as far as event-driven marketing within email goes, there’s certainly a lot to be learned from others. It’s no wonder email is the perfect venue for it because of its reach and speed of delivery. Plus, the potential physical size of an email leaves you plenty of “space” to create quite a stir.

What follows are a few mini-examples of event marketing efforts of the recent past. And while not every marketer listed was ready to share hard numbers (such as clicks and conversions), you can certainly take away some ideas from their experiences.

Case in point: The National Football League’s Super Bowl promotion this past January… Right before the game, the NFL (with the help of e-Dialog) had two completely different emails ready to go to two different segments of its email database – its St. Louis fans and its Tennessee fans. (For the record, the NFL’s email database consists of hundreds of thousands of fans). As soon as the Rams completed their winning play and the game was over, St. Louis fans were sent a personalized email (in both full-color HTML and text) that began as follows…

Congratulations, [Name],
The St. Louis Rams are Super Bowl Champions!
Now you can re-live all of the excitement of the Rams Super Bowl Victory with these great items available now on NFLShop.com…

It then went on, of course, to promote the fan-inspired tchotchkes and other Super Bowl memorabilia.

The immediacy of the delivery took advantage of the fans’ highs at the very moment when they were at fever pitch. That’s one of the beauties of promoting in and around an “event.”

Of course, you can always create an event of your own. Two months ago, online jewelry and luxury gifts site Mondera held its first online webcast – a “Spring Preview Event” – that showcased its latest unique “finds” in the world of luxury jewelry. It was presented as “the world’s first Internet jewelry trunk show” and with that theme, Mondera created a streaming video catalogue of customized original programming.

It also offered a contest to win a jewelry piece from the Grammy Awards. Additionally, expert gemologists were on hand to answer any questions by live email, chat or phone. The event details were sent (in “special invitation” format) to Mondera’s house list of customers and newsletter subscribers with a specific date and time for the webcast. Recipients were also offered a discount if they decided to purchase anything; so besides creating a splash, the event boosted sales as well.

What other email marketers are capitalizing on or coming up with events?

The marketers at New Line Cinema, as I’ve mentioned before, are masters at the discipline. Whenever New Line has a film release that’s worthy of a unique email tie-in, they create some incredibly compelling promotions in and around the release. A few weeks back, I noted their captivating emailed “death postcards” that coincided with (and boosted ticket sales for) their “Final Destination” release.

And, no doubt, you read Heidi Anderson’s case study on Ticketmaster. This company managed to garner an overall 47 percent click-through-rate and a 20 percent conversion from its promotion to Bruce Springsteen concertgoers.

Of course, by its very nature, show business is a natch for event marketing. Back in April, MindArrow helped music group Hanson create quite a bit of online noise with its rich media emailed video that was sent to 15,000 Hanson fans to go along with the group’s new single release. The goal was to drive recipients back to one of the Hanson sites (HansonOnline.com and Hanson.net) to download the group’s new single and/or sign up for the newsletter or fan club. The campaign was such a success at a 37 percent click-through that plans call for the group to produce at least two more such efforts.

But, like I said earlier, you certainly don’t have to be a celebrity or in show biz to make event-driven marketing work for you. You just have to be a savvy marketer. And you have to be willing to learn from others. Just make the “event” worthwhile. Make it timely and content-rich. And come up with a unique and exciting way to present it.

Lessons learned.

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