Event marketing represents big businesses in the UK, particularly as businesses grow to recognise the importance of in-person communication and connectivity in the digital age.
This is borne out by the figures too, with 95% of marketers in agreement that live events provide all parties to forge valuable relationships in a digitally-oriented world. A further 80% of successful firms have also increased their live event budgets in 2019, in order to capitalise on the trend for in-person interaction.
From a purely marketing perspective, it’s also fair to say that out-of-home (OOH) advertising represents one of the most effective ways of promoting events. In this post, we’ll ask why this is the case, whilst offering advice on how to create a winning OOH advertising campaign for your event!
Why is OOH Advertising so Effective when Promoting Events?
At a glance, the UK events industry is worth an impressive £42.3 billion, which means that businesses are increasingly willing to invest heavily in the promotion of individual events.
But why exactly do outdoor advertising channels like billboards offer such value to event marketers? One of the primary reasons is the relatively competitive cost of billboard advertisements (particularly traditional platforms), which enable marketers to create integrated campaigns that deliver an optimal ROI.
Beyond the bottom-line cost and ROI associated with billboards and OOH media as a whole, it’s also important to note that these channels are entirely non-intrusive. This affords them a critical advantage over digital channels, which bombards customers with anywhere between 4,000 and 10,000 online adverts on a daily basis on average.
Not only can these adverts simply be ignored or closed with relative ease, but there’s also evidence to suggest that some consumer demographics (particularly Millennials and even younger shoppers) are becoming increasingly resistant to the lure of online marketing.
This is borne out by a significant rise in the number of ad-blockers used across desktop and mobile devices during the last decade, with 43% of individuals aged between 18 and 24 now using this type of software.
Given the time-restricted nature of event marketing, companies and organisers can ill-afford to create costly ads that are easy to either block, ignore or close out with the single click of a button. The online advertising space is also incredibly saturated with promotional messaging, so it’s becoming increasingly difficult to target and engage potential attendees.
Conversely, billboards meld seamlessly with their natural environments and are capable of targeting individuals at a time when they’re most likely to engage with messages.
Whether this includes people commuting to work by car or train or those who are out shopping at the weekend, OOH media is capable of successfully engaging a target market within a limited time period.
Not only are billboards nonintrusive, but they also enable event marketers to present and promote their proposition in a genuinely creative way. This is particularly true when using larger-form 48 and 96-billboards, which can leverage eye-catching imagery, striking brand colours and concise messaging to excellent effect.
Of course, this principle can also be applied to posters and smaller OOH ads, but the vast canvas provided by larger-form billboards offers the ideal platform from which to effectively engage your target audience and passing footfall simultaneously.
On the subject of creativity, OOH media also enables you to realise the full potential of local advertising spaces. This can include roadside locations and buildings that don’t already have billboard messaging, so long as you’ve identified strategically important locations that are accessible to a specific niche or audience.
This is particularly important when attempting to promote an in-person event, as there’s a limit to have far individuals will travel to participate and interact with others.
So, you’ll need to optimise your exposure and the number of individuals that you’re able to reach in locations which are in close proximity to the event. Otherwise, you’ll run the considerable risk of investing an outdoor event marketing campaign that’s largely ineffective and incapable of delivering an ROI on your spend.
How Can I Leverage OOH Advertising to Promote my Event?
In truth, these are just some of the reasons why the benefits of OOH media and billboards naturally lend themselves to event marketing, but they also happen to be amongst the most compelling.
With this in mind, the question that remains is how can you leverage OOH media to realise the full potential of its unique channels? Here are some ideas to keep in mind?
Make Location Your Key Watchword
We’ve already touched on the importance of location, but it can be hard to create a winning strategy that really optimises your exposure.
The key is to consider a number of key factors when targeting locations in which to promote your event, including the following:
- What’s the Radius for your Event Advertising? As we’ve already said, it’s important that you identify a viable radius for your event, as this ensures that you target a local audience that’s likely to engage with the message and attend.
- What’s Your Budget? Whilst OOH media (and particularly traditional billboards) may deliver a superior ROI on your spend, it’s important to note that some locations may be more expensive than others. So, you’ll need to strategically identify core locations and ensure that you spend within your marketing means.
- How Concentrated do you Want Your Billboards? If you’re promoting a slightly smaller event in a single location, you may want to secure numerous billboards within a relatively compact space. In this instance, you’ll need to consider the concentration of your messaging and the ideal distance that you’d like between each ad.
These considerations will undoubtedly help you to make more informed strategic decisions, as you look to identify locations that enable you to make the most of your marketing campaign.
Don’t be afraid to use different OOH mediums and variably-sized billboards either, as the combination of posters and 96-sheet roadside billboards enable you to increase your exposure in specific locations.
Choose Multiple Billboards
On a similar note, it’s definitely worth using multiple billboards as a way of promoting your local event.
After all, we spend more than 70% of our time outside of the home on average, whether we’re commuting to and from work, shopping or simply socialising with friends and loved ones.
As a result, having the ability to target individuals at different stages during the day can prove crucial, as it reinforces your message and helps to convert casual interest into genuine engagement and further interaction.
Once again, this reinforces the need to use variably-sized adverts, from smaller posters that can be placed at train stations and bus stops to large billboards at busy shopping centres.
This creates numerous opportunities for potential attendees to engage with your event and interact further with its core messaging, as undertake perfunctory tasks such as commuting to work and spending their hard-earned cash.
This type of approach works particularly well when you allow yourself a little more time to market your event, as you can really strive to engage your target audience and generate a sense of anticipation around it.
If you do decide to invest in multiple billboards, you may also want to consider focusing primarily on traditional ads. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with digital billboards, the fact remains that these ads are markedly more expensive and will place a far greater strain on your budget.
At the same time, digital ads simply don’t afford you the same level of exposure as traditional billboards.
More specifically, digital adverts tend to rotate up to six individual marketing messages within a 60-second period, minimising the amount of time that attendees have to notice and engage with your event.
Conversely, traditional billboards feature a single marketing message over the course of a two-week booking or longer, so you can maximise your exposure and the return that you secure on your overall investment.
Don’t Forget the Call to Action!
Last, but by no means least, we come to the call-to-action (CTA), which is arguably the single most important of any marketing channel or campaign.
This refers to an advert’s ability to solicit further action from your audience, whether this involves them interacting further with a brand or making a direct purchase either in-store or offline.
In the case of event marketing, it’s important to create content that engages your audience enough to either confirm their attendance or learn more about the event and the organiser.
At the same time, you’ll need to ensure that your advert features the practical information that makes this objective achievable, including the time and date of the event, the location the contact information that enables individuals to make contact with organisers.
On a similar note, you’ll also need to ensure that this information is included prominently on the advert, whether you’re publishing a bus stop poster or a 48-sheet roadside billboard.
This information should definitely pop and stand out on the advert, whether you use a particular font or colour combination to achieve this. Whilst you may also use striking imagery or clever messaging to hook potential attendees in the first place, you should ensure that this doesn’t distract from your contact information or impede the performance of your ad.
The Last Word
Event marketing and OOH advertising both represent growing marketplaces in the UK, but these distinct entities have far more in common than initially meets the eye.
Make no mistake; OOH media and channels like billboards offer numerous advantages that really lend themselves to event marketers, from their affordable and engaging nature to their ability to target specific audiences in strategic locations!