The world of events is vast and full of offers and opportunities, and the market for event marketing agencies is just as wide and varied. But let’s take a small step back and understand how exactly events fit into marketing strategies and why.
It may seem strange and almost impossible, but even today, with all the information available on the web, there is still a lot of confusion when it comes to marketing, advertising and events; let alone sports marketing.
But let’s take it one step at a time.
Marketing changes and adapts to the times, but when we talk about marketing-oriented companies we always start with the same principles.
Usually when people ask me what exactly event marketing and sports marketing are, and what a marketing-oriented company is, I answer with the classic definitions of historical marketing gurus such as Philip Kotler or Seth Godin, but today I would like to start with a simpler and more practical definition, more in step with modern times. I often go into bookshops and browse through books on marketing and communication, I like to see how this topic is treated over the years and then also proposed to the general public, not only to experts in the field.
This definition I found, perhaps more of an explanation really, I took from a very funny, simple, and with many interesting insights marketing book and says:
“Marketing is the most important thing you can do in business today, even if your job title doesn’t contain the word marketing. Marketing, in all its various forms, is all about attracting customers, getting them to buy your product/service and making sure they are satisfied enough with their purchase to come back for more”*.
Too simple, you might say, but in fact that’s exactly what it is, and it applies to everyone.
The basic goal that all businesses have is to attract customers/consumers and keep them coming back for more.
Whether it’s selling trainers or financial services, computers or a moisturizer to prevent wrinkles, multivitamins or cars, every company has one goal: to attract customers and keep them for as long as possible.
What strategy you use to do this, and what tools you choose to use to achieve it, varies from company to company, from brand to brand.
And this is where all the tools that marketing offers to promote one’s own product or tell about it come in, so that the target audience gets to know it, buys it and possibly repurchases it as often as possible over time.
Why consult an event marketing agency? Isn’t an advertising agency enough?
When it comes to promoting one’s truly unique brand identity , product or service, companies have various tools to use that they find under the famous umbrella of Promotions, as part of the marketing mix.
If we take Philip Kotler’s definition, “Promotion encompasses all the activities that a company undertakes to communicate and promote its products to its target market”.
Promotion is therefore all those activities that allow the company/brand to get in touch with the consumer to communicate something about our product that encourages him to choose it over another.
This is where advertising, promotions, PR (public relations), including the creation of events, and sponsorship come into play.
Events have become increasingly important because it is essential to make deep contact with the consumer to create a lasting memory.
Receiving thousands of messages every day, consumers find it hard to remember the brands with which the messages are associated.
We usually remember something we are interested in or that has struck us in a particular way.
Classic advertising (such as television, radio, internet, transport, etc.) alone is no longer enough to capture the consumer’s attention. Often, it has to be accompanied by a plan that includes events, so as to bring the consumer closer to the product in a more direct and deeper way.
We hear people talk about engagement all the time, and that is exactly what it is: creating moments, real or virtual, in which the brand and the target audience interact in an active way.
This is where event marketing and event marketing companies come in: their role is to help companies create moments in which to engage their target audience in an effective and memorable way. These moments or events or occasions ensure that the memory of the brand lingers and that it is remembered or preferred at the time of purchase.
Event marketing professionals offer a variety of event marketing services, including experiential marketing. By developing creative ideas and implementing them in real physical spaces, they create immersive live events where the audience can experience the brand first-hand.
Specialisation also exists in event marketing.
The world of events is so wide, that agencies have over time specialised in offering specific services to companies. Top event marketing agencies are known for their ability to deliver a personal service tailored to the unique needs of each client.
Depending on what the brand or product needs, the specific event marketing firm is contacted and selected to offer a tailor-made project for the individual client.
Let me give you a few examples:
There are companies that specialise in large events, trade shows, corporate conventions, and within this segment there are agencies that specialise in medical conventions, rather than political conventions or events; companies that specialise in product launches, those that deal with product samplig activities, those that organise travelling promotional tours, guerrilla marketing, companies that organise cultural events, or musical events, or companies that organise travel-related events, and then there are agencies for experiential events. Then also to all those digital event companies, influencers, brand ambassadors, celebrities.
The list is really long.
Think about all those activities that are organised in shopping centres or large supermarkets; there are event companies that have specific experience in that sector.
And how do sports events position themselves?
Sports events and sports marketing always find themselves somewhat caught in the middle, between events, promotions and advertising.
Sports marketing and sponsorship agencies are not event agencies, but consultancy firms that work alongside companies/brands that want to use sport as a marketing and communication tool.
They do not therefore deal with the conception and creation of a sports event, as is often thought, but define a mktg strategy that sees sport, and sponsorship, as the cornerstone on which to create all communication and promotion activities, including the famous activations.
An example to better understand: a computer brand decides to invest in sports sponsorship. The agency, as a consultant, helps them to understand in which area it is best to invest, based on the company’s objectives, values, target audience, budget, etc. The various opportunities are then assessed, and the sponsorships are evaluated.
They then assess the various opportunities and then proceed with the property that is closest to all the needs of the company/brand.
If, for example, it has been decided to sponsor a Formula 1 team, the marketing agency assists the client in defining the partner, supports him in evaluating the offers proposed, supports him in the contractual part, and proposes the various marketing activities that can be built on the sponsorship.
From communicating the sponsorship itself and the values underpinning the partnership (technology, innovation, competitiveness, team spirit, etc.) through the channels defined by the company, to defining a social media marketing strategy for creating and communicating the partnership content and interacting with the target audience, to all the activations, i.e. all the virtual or real activities that allow the company or brand to engage the target audience more directly by leveraging the common passion that binds them through sponsorship.
Think of all the promotional activities, events, competitions, incentive programmes, hospitality, and product launches that a company can organise by exploiting sponsorship.
All these activities serve to get in touch with their target audience by leveraging the common passion that binds the brand and the consumer: sport.
The sports marketing agency can also take care of organising an event linked to the sponsorship in which the company invests.
If, for example, there is an important annual convention or a product launch in a specific city or location, the agency can advise the company to organise a special event involving the sponsored team, or the driver, or the team manager, or the show car/show bike, to make the event unique. The consumer or customer is certainly more attracted and enticed to attend events where there is a chance to take a photo of an F1 or MotoGP car or to get a rider’s autograph or a team-related gadget.
The sports marketing agency has experience and knowledge of the sector and the opportunities it offers, which a generic event based marketing firm often does not have.
That is why even when it comes to event marketing, it would always be better to understand what kind of services the company is looking for so that the right agency can be selected.
If you have any curiosity about sports sponsorship, please do not hesitate to contact us.
* “Marketing for Dummiesby” – https://www.wob.com/en-gb/books/author/alexander-hiam