I was invited to a fancy schmancy Whiskey tasting event last night and was amazed that so many high-end distillers and restaurants completely and utterly failed at their marketing. Why bother to spend the money to exhibit but not do it properly?
Here are the details:
- 750+ invitation-only attendees, the majority of which were whiskey aficionados
- 30+ top micro-distillers who paid to exhibit
- 6 high-end local restaurants who paid to exhibit
- 50% of exhibitors with no/minimal signage to make a brand impression
- Only 1 of 40 exhibitors with an electronic display who showed their social accounts
- Zero exhibitors who asked for my email address or to connect socially despite lengthy conversations with them
I was shocked that none of these luxury brands understood the need to continue engaging with attendees after the event.These weren't random taste-testers in the grocery store, these were aficionados who had paid quite a lot to attend the event and are highly influential in the segment of high-end whiskey consumers. I'm not surprised by poor marketing at many local businesses who are too busy to keep up, but surely folks who sell $100/bottle luxury whiskey should get the power of social media for developing and spreading their brands.
Here are four simple suggestions that cost very little but have big impact on the ROI of the event:
- Use well-branded signage to attract visitors to your booth -- and prominently display your URL and social accounts
- Use an iPad to show a video about your distillery and ask people to subscribe to your newsletter
- Use a table top sign with QR code that people could easily read via their phone to subscribe to your Facebook or Twitter account
- Put out business cards or SWAG with your URL, Facebook and Twitter accounts
Overall, the marketing lesson is simple. Go all out or don't go out. Events are great to reach consumers but you have to integrate online tactics in order to tell your story, develop fans, turn them into customers and then into advocates.