We’re sure you’ve noticed the hyper-customized suggestions that certain businesses and services are delivering to you online. For example, Amazon will show you your “Recently Viewed” items or “Customers Who Bought This Also Bought” ads; Facebook will display “Suggested Posts” in your News Feed that are based on your activity/interests; or retailers like Nordstrom will display ads for clothes that are similar to the item you are viewing. Yes, it can be a little creepy that these inhuman websites know you so well, but this increasing level of customization is working—it has proven to increase revenue because it is giving people a personalized, targeted experience.
One company in particular is doing some interesting customer “suggestions” that gave us a few good ideas. Spotify, a digital music service (and one of our favorite ways to stream hot tunes), not only makes suggestions for new music based on what you and your friends have listened to (it integrates with Facebook), but it also does three other things that event directors can learn from.
Here are three types of Spotify suggestions and how you can use them:
1. This song/album was popular when you were in high school
With this suggestion, Spotify flips your nostalgia switch. How many of us vividly remember the albums that got us through our teen angst? Or the songs that we danced to at prom? High school, whether you loved it or hated it, is a formative time and leaves an imprint on the memory.
Your event has the opportunity to be just as formative in your participants’ lives. It’s something people spend money on, look forward to, and plan for (if not train their butts off for). So how can you trigger those feelings of nostalgia?
Try promoting a “remember when” theme to both past and potential participants when marketing your event (all channels apply—emails, social media, direct mail, etc) . You can bring up notable or unusual happenings at a previous event. For example, “Remember the excitement from last year’s record-breaking race?” or “Did you miss the mascot doing cartwheels along the course last year?” Or you can do more general themes like “Wish you were in as good of shape as you were in high school? Register now” or “Get 10 friends together and join in on something fun…just like you used to,” etc. Bring up anything that was a crowd favorite at your event or would remind people of the times when they had the most fun in their lives, and then tie that theme to marketing campaign.
2. The band you just listened to is coming to town
We love when something we want to know pops up in front of us, instead of having to hunt it down. How about you? When Spotify tells us that a band we’ve been listening to will be playing in our area, we’re excited. And many times, we’ll buy tickets to that concert right after getting that notification. The lesson to learn here is that you have a great opportunity to cross-promote when participants register for or finish your event.
In your confirmation emails, you can include links to other events you manage. Or you can link to other events in your city that you’ve partnered with. (Note: Doing a trade with another event director to cross promote is a great way to extend your marketing reach.) In your confirmation emails, you can simply say something like “Thanks for registering! If you’re excited about this 10K, you might also be interested in this half marathon in 6 months!” or something similar.
You can also take this approach with post-event marketing. “Congratulations on finishing! Ready for your next challenge? Check out our upcoming event calendar.” Capitalize on post-race excitement and let participants know when their next race is coming to town.
3. Here’s how this band got its start
Spotify gives little blurbs on the origins of the bands you listened to. People love trivia—just ask the VH-1 show Pop-Up Video or game shows like Jeopardy or Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?. Try adding fun facts about your event to your website or to marketing emails and see if you get more clicks or responses.
You can include things like when and how the event was founded, personal details of the event organizers (previous jobs, quotes about why they love what they do, hobbies, etc), little known course highlights (blurbs on water station sponsors, finish line entertainment, etc), and more. Anything that could be categorized as fun, interesting trivia can be included in your marketing efforts to build a fun campaign.
Interested in more creative event marketing ideas? Try this: