Things are Getting Eventful

In a recent review of the past election, Nate Silver from 538 mentioned in passing a little discussed fact – during the key home stretch, the Trump campaign conducted 50% more public events with their candidate than the Clinton campaign.

It’s one of few areas during the contest where Trump resources outmatched Clinton resources. Rather than parse the many factors that combine to produce a presidential election result, the data highlights an area that we’ve found increasingly important: crafting smart events. In an era of ubiquitous social information, we are finding that events and event-based strategies are increasingly important. So much so that we’ve launched a sister experiential agency – Driven – to ensure that we can lend tight event execution to every campaign we support.

Events Build Bridges

The list of potential benefits from including events in the outreach toolkit is long, but a few stand out given recent discussions about emerging problems in the social landscape:

  • Brands and issues can’t get trolled at events;
  • Key endorsers and influencers have a chance to provide direct feedback and relate their personal experience during events;
  • Events give people time to directly experience new things and ideas in a safe setting; and
  • Extending that idea, while my social stream might simply reinforce my worldview or harden my feelings towards anything beyond it, smart event approaches can help me broaden my horizons in surprising and insightful ways.

The data from the Experiential Marketing Institute on the impact of well-structured events are overwhelming. Their 2015 survey found that in the consumer product category, for event participants:

  • 98% said seeing a product or service marketed through an experiential marketing campaign would make them more inclined to purchase it.
  • 98% of consumers exposed to a positive experience will talk it up (bridge to social)  
  • 80% report that of all forms of communication, experiential marketing is the most likely to provide the information needed to make informed purchases

SOURCE: EventTrack 2015, Experiential Marketing Institute, Event Marketing Institute, The Viral impact of Events

Creating Cause Awareness

This thinking and these findings could certainly be extended to the cause universe, where direct experience might be even more important for helping people learn about and become comfortable with new ideas.

We’ve found that events make the most sense when married to a comprehensive approach. For a campaign where traditional media and social tools are well thought out and messages and messengers are on point and available, targeted experiential elements can provide a crucial additional ingredient to bring the campaign elements together.

Moreover, campaigns that have not thought to include an event strategy may have an unrecognized hole that could be reducing the impact of the other components.

Events matter. Are they in your mix?