Amsterdam · Marketing Association Amsterdam · Trends

So many festivals, so little time: how to market for success

Right, festival season is officially in full swing. 12 hour food, music and other- and evening time events are popping up all over the Netherlands. It’s a nice change from the cold season we’ve just emerged from, when we are basically either hybernating, drinking hot chocolate and eating cheesy things on the couch, or dancing till dawn, only to loose the next day to our hangover. Coming home from a food-truck festival, like TREK or De Rollende Keukens, at 12 actually means you might still get a good night sleep and be productive the next day.

Despite the fact that we don’t actually always get the good spring weather that originally inspired the productions of these festivals, we, the tough Dutchmen, collectively attend them. Even when it rains, many of us still find the will to join the party. After all, we’re not made of sugar right?

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But, with more and more festivals becoming a part of the our pool of options, how can marketers make us choose THEIR event over others? To make matters even more complicated, most of these festivals only occur once a year, meaning that there is really only one physical touchpoint, and the fanbase for such an experiential product must be created almost solely through online marketing.

Andy Crestodina wrote 50 solid suggestions, but I will spare you the time and effort of reading them all, so I’ve composed a more concise set of tips for effectively marketing a festival.

On the events page:

1. Provide a compelling description, so people know what you do and who you are. Prospective attendees should get a feel for the kind of festival that you are, and the type of atmosphere that you’ll create. What food will you serve, what music will you play, who will be there? Let us know what the identity of your festival is.

2. Curate tangible content leading up to the event. We want pictures, videos, and updates about the fun elements of your festival as they develop! How else will anyone get excited?

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In the pre-event email:

(if you’ve got an address from last year’s attendants or through registration)

7. Pay attention to your tagline; use a quirky, sassy title to draw attention to the message (for example, with “10 things you’ll miss if you dont celebrate this summer with…”)

With pre-event social activity:

12. Create the hashtag. It should be short and unique to your festival, and link strongly to the description on your events page.

13. Post the event on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, and any other online world your market might find themselves in. Make sure people can find your festival any time, any place, so they know you’re serious!

In the search engines:

32-35. Choose a keyword, use it in your headers and event description so people can find you easily.

During the event:

37. Share pictures, of the people, the foods, the extraordinary things that are happening and use hashtags to create visbility! With constant connectivity on our smartphones this is super important!

After the event:

41. Compose a photo gallery for the festival. Give people something to look back on and smile about!

50. And then KEEP sharing those photos, along with related messages and content, in the days that follow! This is how you make sure people don’t forget you next year:)

Personally, I think the most important part is related to tip #1; you must tie everything together, to brand a consistent festival identity. You HAVE to hold a strong image, or there won’t be anything for us to connect with! Now, lets see what this summer has in store for us 🙂

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Written by Susanne ten Brink

Image credit: Paul Townsend, Andrea Cousino & FFEP

 

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