A quote from Bryan Boettger’s recent blog post on Social Media Insider captivated me: “A handshake still means something.” Boettger believes that social marketers should also be event marketers to create “real, non-digital engagement.” I couldn’t agree more.

Last weekend, I helped promote my family’s meat business — conducting a sampling event at a local butcher shop.  One consumer, a seventy-five year old man, decided to sit next to me at my sampling table while his wife placed their order with the butcher.  He told me about his passion for the Reds and asked me where I am from (Iowa). We shared stories about our common love for baseball, our Midwest roots and other various topics.  As he and his wife began to leave, he walked back to the butcher counter and ordered a package of our product, stating to the owner, “I’d like to support this young woman’s business because she was so darn nice to talk to me for so long.”

Not only did my conversation make an impact on this man’s purchasing behavior, it reminded me of the relevance of our PHF Experiential point of view: This type of marketing humanizes brands and gets them closer to consumers than any other medium. It is so important for event marketers to remember the three key elements of a successful one-on-one engagement.

1.       The Right People

Do your brand ambassadors or representatives really know your brand?  Are they passionate about the product or the category?   Can they tell potential consumers that your husband’s great-great-grandfather started the farm our meat comes from and that his family takes great pride in the cleanliness of their facilities? It might cost more or take more time to find these types of ambassadors, but without them, your message won’t mean as much.  

2.       The Right Story

Who are you as a brand? Why did you go into business, or why are you in business now?  Can you articulate the reasons why you provide your product or service to your consumers? People care about your reason for selling. They care to know that, although you may not have a career in agriculture, you want to honor your family’s hard work through the past five generations, which is why you sell meat products on their behalf. Your story can create a relatable feeling and entice sales even more than the product offering itself (hence, the seventy-five-year-old man who didn’t even taste the product).

 3.       The Right Place

Who are your potential customers and where do they live, work, shop and play? Knowing where your audience lives is essential to making your product a natural fit in their lives. As the butcher told me last weekend, it only made sense for us to bring our meat product to him because — let’s face it — we’re not going to sell meat to a vegetarian.

These three elements may seem so easy; however it appears they are often missed by marketers when creating an experiential campaign. When a brand takes the time to thoroughly process each of these steps, the true one-on-one engagements occur that create lasting memories and positive impact on brand perception.  And remember, “A handshake still means something.”

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