It can be incredibly challenging to connect with your audience in the modern digital landscape.
Despite having fans connected through social media, email lists, and more, there are a lot of ways your message can get disrupted before it’s even distributed to your fans. Social media algorithms can make it so your posts get buried. Spam filters can inadvertently block your emails. It can feel like technology is out to get you.
It’s not all doom and gloom, though. It’s now easier than ever for those same consumers to connect on a personal level with brands that they truly care about. In fact, audiences seek out content and connect with brands that they identify with.
Those fans that feel a genuine affinity toward a brand — superfans — are the ultimate consumer. They’re brand evangelists who will go to bat for you and market to their friends and family for you, simply because they believe in your brand.
One of the best ways to connect with superfans is by marketing to them at an event they’re attending. After all, if someone is taking the time to buy tickets and block out time in their schedules, they’re likely very engaged with the subject of the event. By associating your brand with a popular event, you can get exposed to an audience of very engaged superfans — and they can become your superfans.
Let’s dig deeper into why event marketing is so effective.
We consume all sorts of media every day, but there’s no substitute for the experience of an event.
“Events have this ability to draw massively loyal, engaged fans together in a way that other forms of media can’t,” says Tim Skibbe, general sales manager for WTRC-FM, WTRC-AM and WAOR for Federated Media. “They offer a chance for businesses to authentically show support for the event and connect with fans, whether that’s at a concert, a convention, or something in between.”
Not only are superfans loyal, they self-identify with their heroes (musicians, talking heads, actors, etc.), and they have a deep desire to connect with their tribe of like-minded people.
They’re willing to wait — and pay — for an opportunity to meet with the people they admire. They’re a captive audience who wants to be a part of something and share the experience.
Skibbe points to 95.3 MNC’s event Noise as an example.
“We’ve never had anything like Noise before, where it’s like a concert setting where listeners come and interact in a different way,” he says. “When people come to Noise there’s camaraderie there. It’s like hanging out with family for them. It’s like: ‘These are all my people.’”
The connections that superfans make among one another can be more powerful than the panelists or the guests alone. It becomes about building a community around a shared passion.
Event marketing is a great way to deepen your relationship with an audience
“If you’re a business that’s already a client on MNC and you’re coming to Noise, you’re already reaching listeners consistently, through radio spots, endorsements, or a sponsorship of the news,” Skibbe says. “Coming to Noise is a chance to put a face to a name, because people have heard you week-in and week-out, and now they can see you having a booth and interact with you.”
To truly be successful at marketing at an event, a business has to understand the subculture and connect with the superfans. It requires an authentic connection between the businesses involved and the nature of the event. Fans will spot it immediately if they suspect you’re just there for a cash grab.
“If you’re just trying to convert someone and you don’t have any trust — they don’t have any idea who you are — it’s hard,” Skibbe says. “Superfans have a fierce loyalty for businesses they think speak the same language. Fans connect with those businesses that they see as having the same values and ideas as them.”
Events offer an opportunity for businesses to move audiences further along the consumer journey. It’s an advanced part of the process, which takes customers from total strangers to paying customers to a brand advocate.
“It’s almost like they’re stopping at your store, but you’re there at this event with them and sharing an experience,” Skibbe says. “It’s an opportunity to engage with superfans and have conversations to network. You’re there to do business, sure, but you also want to help someone have a good experience to get them to become an advocate. That’s where the camaraderie of an event can really help.”
The benefit of turning superfans into advocates is the potential for the organic marketing they’ll do for your business.
“It’s like sports fans. It’s a mindset that: ‘Here’s these people who have the same beliefs as me, and they use their microphone to share those beliefs with others who have the same beliefs as me,’” Skibbe says. “When a listener sees a business that shares those beliefs, it makes them want to support that company by doing business with them and to tell others about it.”
It’s not just about having a booth at an event. Skibbe explains that many events have opportunities for business to get more involved with it.
Presenting sponsorships get your name connected directly with the promotion of events. That can be huge, in connecting your name with nature and ideals of the event in the minds of superfans.
Some businesses even choose to get directly involved and are able to take a more interactive role in an event.
“We’ve had businesses — major sponsors — get up on stage at Noise and introduce the on-air talent, like Katie Pavlich, Brian Kilmeade, and Casey Hendrickson,” Skibbe says. “It’s an honor for these business owners to get on stage and introduce these folks, because in their minds these people do a service for the community.”
Opportunities like that give businesses the chance to get in front of 500 or more dedicated superfan attendees. Afterwards, it’s not uncommon to see attendees shaking the hands of those business owners and stopping by their booths, according to Skibbe.
That community is forged in the mind of the attendees, and businesses are rewarded by that shared experience.
“Someone may have a problem with their home and think: ‘I know I’m calling First Response because they always run ads on MNC. They’re at Noise, I see them. They introduced Brian Kilmeade. That’s who I want to do business with,’” Skibbe says. “That trust and commitment doesn’t happen overnight. These listeners are involved, and they’re invested.”
If you’re ready to start targeting a superfan base, Federated Media can help. Contact us today to find out how we can help you reach a dedicated, loyal fan base that shares interests with your business.