Monday, June 18, 2007

Event marketing 2.0

I've just read a very interesting story in the May/June issue of The Hub (a Reveries.com publication) authored by Charlie Tarzian, who is CEO of CoActive Marketing Group. The story appears under the headline/subheading of "Pencils and Towels: Put the marketing into event marketing and help make CMOs brand heroes again." This story makes it very clear that there are very different kinds of "marketers." As for Mr. Tarzian, he has worked in direct marketing, and he also formerly ran the publicly traded interactive agency Euro RSCG Worldwide New York. Suffice to say, giving his clients solid returns on their marketing investments is, by now, tightly laced into his DNA.

NASCAR's Bill Lester making real connections with consumers.

So imagine his surprise when he took a client meeting with business development agents representing NASCAR's Nextel Cup, Busch Series and Craftsman race circuits, and being told that somewhere in the vicinity of 33% of sponsoring a vehicle went toward brand "activation" -- which reportedly amounted to little more than "putting up a tent and giving away pencils and towels!" In my opinion, the reason to check-out this article is to see what steps Mr. Tarzian recommends for integrating events into a company's overall marketing plans, and for making sure that the targeted interactions with a brand's end-users result in real knowledge and returns. My personal takeaway: If you're just giving things away and not leveraging interactions to learn more about your consumers, or creating an ongoing dialogue with them, or moving them toward a purchase, or empowering them to spread the word about your brand -- you may as well throw in the towel (and pencil).