Category Archives: Marketing

Six Tips to Inspire Customer Created Content

Incorporating customers in your event marketing is a great way to add creative content to your event marketing plan. When a customer snaps a picture at your event and shares it on social media it gives your special event credibility and social proof, which is essentially the customer’s stamp of approval.  Like earned media, this is incredibly valuable. Customers can influence leads and future interactions, so embrace the content they create. This is especially important for attracting millennial customers since they value social proof more than most generations.

Human nature makes us social beings. Naturally people like being recognized, it is a powerful motivator. You can use this as motivation to encourage customers to create content to promote your special event. Why would they create content to help you? Because people are inherently good and want to be helpful, but you need to make it easy for them.  Customers are a great resource! Embrace the pictures and video they share on social media and try to incorporate the material into your marketing strategy.

Tips to Inspire Customer Created Content:

  1. Invite fans to create content. Ask them to take and post photos on social media accounts using a specific hashtag. Then you can search that hashtag and find customer created content to reshare on your social media channels. Make sure to thank the customer and give shout outs for their content. Ask fans of your special event to contribute pictures and images to your event social media platforms.

    5-23-16 brews & boos

    Photo Credit: Instagram

  2. Share the best of the best. Share what makes customers proud. Look for entertaining, educational, fun, enlighten and engaging content posted by your fans. Share anything that you think will make your other fans laugh or smile.

    5-23-16 - share

    Photo Credit: Twitter

  3. Tag them! Post customer content and then tag the customer with a thank you message. Encourage customers to tag themselves. Share content from influencers and make sure to show appreciation for their work. There are a few local photographers that have taken photos at the events I produce, I try to make sure to reshare their content and give them shout-outs for their work. They do a fabulous job capturing special moments at the event that should be shared.

    5-23-16 Tag

    Photo Credit: Facebook

  4. Produce contests that allow customers to pick their favorite posts from other customers. Offer prizes and keep the positive energy for your event flowing year-round. Encourage fans to enter contests by sharing their favorite features of the event and then see what kind of amazing content they come up with.
    5-23-16 - SSS Instagram
  5. Offer fun onsite photo opportunities. Whether it is a photo booth or something people just can’t help take their picture in front of, try to find fun onsite photo opportunities. A few years ago we added a new welcome sign to the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off. I thought it was a great welcome sign, but I was shocked by how many people took their picture in front of it and posted it on social media.

    5-23-16 - Ribs Sign

    Photo Credit: Instagram

  6. Share real time live content. If you have the manpower during your special event monitor social media and hashtags that relate to your event for customer content. Share customer content and engage customers in real time. It adds a fun element to special events, especially any event where there is a guest speaker.
5-23-16 Directions

Photo Credit: Twitter

It is easy to include fans in content creation marketing if you make it a priority. The benefits of customer created content are enormous. Use customer content to engage with fans and listen to what excites them about your special event. Practice these tips to prove to fans that their opinions count and to embrace customer created content to promote your special event.

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Factors to Consider when Pricing Event and Concert Tickets

Marketing Mix

Image Credit: Marketing91.com

I work in the Marketing Department. My coworker and I have a joke about everyone being a marketing expert. We get all sorts of unsolicited advice from people of all backgrounds and expertise. They have all been marketed to throughout their lives so they have now become marketing experts. After these experts give their advice and walk away we crack jokes about the 4 Ps marketing mix. If you don’t know the 4 Ps you don’t know diddly about marketing.

Neil Borden, the president of the American Marketing Association invented the term “marketing mix” back in 1953. The marketing mix is also known as the 4 Ps of Marketing, which stands for Product, Price, Place (think distribution), and Promotion. Decisions about these factors are made to develop and execute marketing plans. The approach has changed over time, and some modern day marketing professionals find this concept outdated, but I don’t! I find even today the 4 Ps are very helpful and that if you are good at marketing you can adapt them to the Internet Age and be successful.

I think of the 4 Ps as the foundation. If you don’t have the 4 Ps figured out, you don’t have a good basis for a marketing strategy. Today let’s focus on Price out of the 4 Ps. Pricing is one of the most important elements in the marketing mix. It is the only element that doesn’t have a cost associated, so essentially it holds up the other 3 Ps because they are associated with expenses. Pricing isn’t always easy to figure out. It must reflect supply and demand, and take into consideration the marketplace. If you choose the wrong price it could be catastrophic to your organization and cause a loss of sales.

Here are the main factors I consider when pricing my event and concert tickets:

1. Costs – Fixed and variable costs are important when determining a pricing strategy. I usually consider the breakeven formula and then think about margins I’d like to see. Concert tickets used to be considered “loss leaders” for most casinos, but we don’t consider it that way at my company.

2. Competition – What is my competition doing? Am I competing with other events and concerts at the same time for ticket buyers? Are we competing for customers with limited purchasing power?

3. Positioning – What is my position in the market place? Am I trying to be the best price? What will the market bear for the product and the quality I’m offering? Can I use price for differentiation? Is my quality so high I can charge more?

4. Customers – Are my customers willing to pay the price? If they pay the price will they still come and spend money at the casino or in the restaurants? If I price the tickets too high, they won’t buy tickets, or they will buy tickets and nothing else. We really want to encourage people to gamble and eat at our restaurants so we don’t want to price our customers out of the market.

5. Company – What is our company trying to do with this event? If it is an event for Casino VIPs and there are very few retail tickets I will consider that in my pricing decisions. When it comes to special events and concerts Casino VIPs are the most important factor. Are there other benefits that might encourage those customers to patronize our casino? For example, if they could use their player rewards card points to buy concert tickets, would that help the company? How many points equal a decent price that we could also charge retail?

It is important to look at all the factors. Price is a reflection of the value of your product, in my case special event and concert tickets. Next time you purchase a special event or concert ticket take a minute and think about the factors that may have gone into the price for the ticket. It will really open your eyes to a new level of marketing strategy.

Additional Reading:
Internet Age Approach: Rewrite the Ps of marketing – The five Ps of marketing


6 Rules I learned from The Zen of Social Media Marketing

Buy the book here!

Image Credit: The Zen of Social Media Marketing on Amazon.com

The number one reason people use social media is to showcase their own identity. The second reason is because they crave community. This is a great opportunity for special events and marketing professionals to use social media as a tool to build relationships with customers and potential customers. Special event producers should be aware of the reasons social media is so popular and try to use it as a tool to enhance their special events.

Social media is powerful because people are more likely to believe what they learn from their friends. This includes the simple action of sharing and liking social media posts. This in a sense makes your customers and social media contacts become your brand champions. For example, when your friend posts on Facebook about a new special event they are interested in attending, you instantly are open to the idea of attending the event or at least clicking through to learn more. This helps build brand followers and relationships, which is valuable because later you might need these champions to help you drown out the critics.

Here are a few rules I picked up from “The Zen of Social Media Marketing” by Shama Kabani:

1. Respect others online. Respect others everywhere…period. Since this is a blog post about social media we will stick with the online community. It is important to show respect to others online because you never know the consequences of your actions or who you are really interacting with. You also don’t know who all can see your message or how they will interpret your online posts. It is safest to respect others online and avoid trolls at all costs.

2. Don’t try to control or manipulate because it backfires. Sometimes you have to realize “it is what it is” and move on. If you try to control or manipulate it will backfire on you, maybe not every time, but eventually it will. A good example of this is when companies get busted shilling online review sites. When caught they get blocked and it ultimately hurts the business more than just having honest reviews from customers.

3. Don’t try to be all things to all people and don’t chase everything under the sun. When it comes to social media you should focus on the tools that will give you the best return. It is best to use those tools and do a good job, rather than use all social media tools and be average. I use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Instagram. I am finding Instagram is my new shiny toy for special event social media. It is a really fun platform. The people on Instagram are very positive. It doesn’t have the same political and commercial influence experienced on other social media platforms.

4. Traffic is nice but not the only goal. Yes traffic is measurable and that is great, but what if that traffic never transforms into a customer and they are only passing through. I’d much rather have smaller amounts of traffic but build real customer relationships and build brand recognition. I like to use social media to share stories and build relationships with my business partners, customers, and potential customers.

5. Use your real name. This was new to me, in the past I’ve had accounts on Twitter and Instagram that used names no one would recognize because I thought it was a way to keep some privacy. Looking back that is one of the silliest ideas I’ve ever had. There is no privacy these days on social media. So you need to embrace that fact, be a real person, but also be aware that you are out there and make sure to behave yourself. If it won’t make Mom and Dad proud, or your boss, don’t do it!

6. Be proactive. Don’t go out there and be a pushy marketer. Try to have conversations online and interact with people. Make sure you are providing legitimate content and that you are being genuine. The positive results will follow.

If you are new to the social media marketing field I highly recommend “The Zen of Social Media Marketing” by Shama Kabani. The book has a lot of valuable lessons and reminds you of common sense that you may forget when dabbling in the virtual and social media world.

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Don’t Underestimate the Value of Local Media

Today we had a funny discussion about marketing in my office. Our Millennial Financial Analyst was asking why we buy so many 5 second ID spots on our local TV news programing. I said “Duh, that is where our clients are!” He looked at me like I was crazy. So my coworker and I told him why we are big fans of local media.

First of all, you have to ask who the customers are. I work in Gaming, my customers are usually 45+ and they tend to watch the local morning and evening news. Of course the Millennial didn’t get it, he was born into a different generation of technology than our average customer. He probably doesn’t know when the news is on even if he wants to watch it. The Millennial doesn’t listen to local radio or watch local TV, but you know what else, he doesn’t gamble! Most in the Millennial generation don’t gamble, at least not yet. So he isn’t our target market.

We buy advertising with local media as much as our budget allows. We have been very successful in marketing our entertainment and special events with traditional media advertising. We also buy online advertising and participate in social media, but it is much easier to get feedback from the traditional avenues of advertising.

In addition, we need local media. They are a great resource and the only media that truly cares what is going on in the Biggest Little City. The reporters are our neighbors, and they cover our special events and are customers at our businesses. We need local media to make our community a great place to live.

KOLOGoodMorningReno

Image Credit: KOLO 8 Good Morning Reno

Local media is fantastic for promoting special events. They have been good to me over the years as an event producer. Every time I do an interview on a local TV station or even local radio I get feedback from friends and family that they saw or heard my interview. Last time I was on KOLO Channel 8’s Good Morning Reno show at 5:45am to promote an event my phone starting ringing instantly with friends calling and texting to tell me they saw my interview. Disclosure: Link is not to my interview but another event they covered recently at the Nugget.

Also keep in mind how important local media is when you are buying advertising. We support local media and they support us. New media is great, but if you are an event planner or a small business don’t forget about traditional local media. I’m thankful for local media and the opportunities they provide for us to promote special events.

Like what you’ve seen? Subscribe to Mad About Events Blog by adding your email address to the form on the right. You’ll be the first to read about local events and get behind-scenes-stories from event professionals.

Related Posts:
Brew HaHa Interview Mashup


10 Tips for Using Facebook Event Pages

Facebook event pages still get the job done. I’m a fan of Facebook event pages for smaller events that attract 5,000 or less people. Just this year I’ve used Facebook event pages to promote Reno Mardi Gras, the Rotary Club of Reno Fundraiser, and Brew HaHa the fundraiser for Sierra Arts. Both pages were very successful and helped spread the word about the event without spending too much money on advertising.

The event page offers some great benefits including giving invitees a link to see all of the other events you’ve created, a link to your page, a link to your personal profile or company profile, and the ability to directly message and invite your personal profile contacts to the event.

Here are 10 tips for using a Facebook Event Page:

1. Make it easy for attendees to find the key information. The first form Facebook has you fill in when you create an event page is the most important to make your event successful. Make sure to fill out the form, be concise and supply all the important information.

2. Make it easy for attendees to buy tickets. Highlight the link and make it easy to find.

3. Title the event appropriately. Make it easy for the Facebook search tool to find your event. If the event is an annual event make sure to make it easy for attendees to see that in the title.

Image Credit: Rotary Club of Reno Facebook Page

4. Photos are important! Make sure to post a cover photo that is the appropriate size. I also like to post event advertisements and other photos to engage invitees. For Reno Mardi Gras we post a lot of pictures from Pinterest to encourage guests to dress up, and it works!

5. Try to use Facebook recognized locations for your event location rather than just the address. Usually the venue pops up when you type the name slowly. Make sure the map is working because that is really helpful to your event attendees.

6. Allow anyone to post on your event page, encourage attendees to post before and after the event. This is the best place to add content and interact with event attendees. This also helps invited guests communicate with you if they have questions about the event.

7. Encourage invitees to invite their friends. Ask them to share it on their page or to use the “invite all your friends” to the event. Be careful though not to become a spammer.

8. Keep adding content up to the day of the event by making new posts on the event page. Also post after the event to continue to add more content to keep people engaged. If it is an annual event make sure to post a “Save the Date” message for the event the following year on the event page.

9. Promote your event on other social media. Don’t forget to add the event invite to your Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Yelp.com, Blog sites and other social media sites.

10. Advertising – Buy Facebook advertisements if you can afford them. I personally like to promote the posts for events on Facebook Event pages, for example, Reno Mardi Gras and Brew HaHa because the pictures get a lot of attention, our guests like to share them, and they have a more viral response. It is hard to prove if the ads actually add attendees but I know I’ve seen them have an effect on attendee behavior. We’ve had social media contests and encouraged people to dress up in the ads. We had great results!

Facebook Event pages aren’t for all events, but if you are planning a local charity event or something that has a niche market, an event page will help you promote the event and increase attendance at the event.

Do you use Facebook Event pages to promote your special events? Feel free to brag about your success using Facebook Event invites in the comments!


Communication – It Isn’t About You!

Image Credit: Toronto MBA Journal

I recently learned a valuable lesson from Chris Howard, the Value Creation professor for the University of Nevada MBA program. He taught me a new way of looking at communication styles. The biggest lesson that he really drove home was that communication isn’t about your style of communication; it is about the other person’s style of communication. Let me repeat that in a very direct way…Communication-it isn’t about you! It should be about the person you are trying to communicate with, not your style of communication.

There are four types of communication styles:
1. Driver
2. Analytical
3. Expressive
4. Amiable

Lisa Jansen Quiz Results

Image Credit: GoToQuiz.com results

There is no style better than another, they are just different. Since learning about these communication styles I have changed some of my communication techniques. I took a test to determine my style. At the end of this post are links to two different quizzes to help you determine your style. There are dozens of quizzes online to help you determine your style. The two highest scores I received were 76% expressive and 64% driver. I wasn’t surprised by the results because as the instructor explained the characteristics in class I knew I was either an expressive or a driver.

I’m using this information as I plan special events and when I develop marketing plans. Now I’m analyzing my business contacts, my coworkers, and my customers based on their communication styles. My boss is a driver so I’m trying to be more direct with him, less small-talk, and always be on time or a few minutes early. I think it has helped us communicate better. One of my coworkers is amiable so I make sure to be extra warm and friendly to them, and realize that they appreciate small talk and genuinely getting to know their coworkers. Once I started adapting to their communication styles, I started developing better working relationships.

Knowing my communication style has also helped me see where there is a weakness in my communication methods. If I’m dealing with an analytical person I need to tone down my expressive side. I need to do whatever I can to speak in the analytical person’s preferred communication style to be successful. It makes everything so much easier when you think about communication based on the other persons preferred style.

It isn’t hard to adapt to this mindset, it just takes practice. The first step should be determining your communication style. Then learn the characteristics for all four styles. Once you know the basics you will start to see signs on how to communicate more effectively. You can see signs everywhere! I’ve noticed them in emails, body language, choice of clothing, office decorations, listening skills, in the way people handle change, and risk management. There have been studies that show some people with certain styles tend to drive a certain type of vehicle or buy a certain color of car. I’m not that much of an expert so I won’t go that far, but if you do a quick Google search you can find several lists of these characteristics.

So what is your communication style? Take one of these free non-scientific quizzes online and find out!

Quiz 1: GoToQuiz.com

Quiz 2: NewLineIdeas.com

Want to read more? Check out this blog: Keep Yourself Relevant


Matt Weaver’s Brew HaHa Interview

BrewHaHaI’ve always thought my job would be perfect for a reality show, as long as I could remain anonymous and they would somehow protect the guilty parties that make my job insane.

I have a fascinating job! I kick-off the year with a big New Year’s party on the casino floor, then host one of the biggest beer events on the west coast, plan a country concert music series in June, set off fireworks over the 4th of July, celebrate classic cars in August, and then I’m in charge of the biggest rib festival in the country over Labor Day weekend.

The craziest things happen when you produce events. When I interview potential interns I ask them how well they handle random people and situations, because that is the life of an event producer. For the last few years I’ve been trying to figure out a way to capture some of the fun and document the craziness, without making a deal with Bravo TV of course, so I decided to buy an iPad and find a way to document my life as an event manager on my own. If I get enough video views I might just have to upgrade to a real camcorder.

This was the first interview I’ve taken since I bought the iPad. The interview was taken at Brew HaHa, the annual Sierra Arts Foundation Fundraiser that was held this year on Friday, February 13 at the Nugget Casino Resort. My friend Matt Weaver from Morrey Distributing was a good sport and let me interview him.

Here are a few lessons I learned from my first interview…

1. I need to buy microphones. Sorry the audio levels are awful. We tested several locations at the event for the interview and it was just too loud. Finally we decided the entrance hallway would be best. We had to yell at each other the whole time, which was a little awkward and made me want to end the interview after two questions.

2. Try not to watch what is going on behind you and act natural. Watch out for those girls having too much fun around the 40 second mark.

3. I wanted to capture the essence of why the distributors and the brewers support this event, but I wasn’t able to do it justice because it was so loud and hard to host the interview in those conditions. I’ll have to try again next year.

4. If you are going to do interviews after working 15 hours you must add lots of eye makeup to hide the dark circles under your eyes better.

5. I need to learn how to edit video. I am using iMovie and I’m clueless! I look forward to developing iMovie skills as I develop Mad About Events Blog. Until I develop more skills I better try to do one take interviews. Editing may not be an option for a while.

If you enjoyed this video make sure to follow Lisa Jansen’s YouTube Channel. I will be uploading more interviews and video taken at events.

Special thanks to the lovely Bre Reinhardt for being the iPad camera operator.
Image Credit


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