Everyone looks forward to summer’s classic events: the fairs, the food festivals, the outdoor concerts, the community ice cream socials, the antique car drive-ins that bring yesterday along for a ride, and of course, the fireworks.
Smart businesses look forward to these events, too. Not just because they’re great ways to get out of the office for a while, but for their potential for low-cost marketing. While everyone’s out on the streets, these companies find a way to cash in on the summer fun.
Here are some ideas for marketing a business at outdoor events.
Food and Beverage Events
Many food-related businesses have booths at these events. For example, if a town holds a July Zucchini festival, a baker might want to sell her zucchini bread a Turkish restaurant their trademark mucver, an egg-and dill-laden zucchini pancake, and an Italian restaurant its fresh fried zucchini dipped in its famous marinara. Other businesses, too, can get in on the act. The local garden supply store could sponsor a prize zucchini contest, giving away some of its nature-sourced fertilizer to the winner. If a business can figure out an angle to get involved, its customers will associate its name with the fun times at the annual event.
Outdoor Sports Events
Stock car races, horse shows, baseball games, and marathons are all popular summer sports events. Sports gear stores, bottled water distributors, and health food stores can all capitalize on event sponsorship. A company’s name on a competitor’s uniform, number, or t-shirt, free bottles of water bearing the company’s logo handed out to competitors, all can get a company’s name out there, showing local residents its community pride. Even if a company’s business has nothing to do with sports, becoming a sponsor for an event can go a long way to demonstrate the company’s commitment to the local economy.
County and Community Fairs
Whether a company wants to walk around handing out free merchandise or sit in a booth demonstrating its new air conditioner, fairs present promotional opportunities galore. Imagine how effective an air conditioner company could be—demonstrating how its product cools the passersby as they head underneath the grandstand in search of relief from the sun. How many icemakers could a company sell simply by handing out ice-filled glasses of lemonade at its booth? Other businesses who sell services often sell raffle tickets to win a day at their spa, a free pass at their swimming pool, an interior design consultation, or a week-long vacation in the mountains at their resort.
Market the Company’s Presence at the Event
It’s not good enough just to show up, swag in hand. Businesses who succeed in summer event marketing publicize their participation long before the event begins. A small ad in the local paper, plenty of hype on the company’s social media page, and a special banner on the company website can clue potential customers in that they’ll miss out if they don’t look you up at the event.
Finally, Choose the Right People to Staff the Event
Summer festivals demand fun-loving, outgoing personnel to staff their giveaways or display booths. An employee who melts in the sun like a popsicle won’t do the company any favors if s/he won’t be as enthusiastic at closing time as s/he is in the morning. Just because an employee has an extensive knowledge of a product means little if his or her product demos cause customers to think of the Grinch.
Keep an upbeat presence at summer events, market the product with enthusiasm, and support the community. The business will gain new customers, and you’ll get out of the office and have a great time. Isn’t that what summer’s for, anyway?