How Online-Based Businesses Can Benefit from Offline Events
Written By: Elias Snyders
“How to Use Old Marketing Techniques in Modern Times. Offline Events Still Work!”
The world of marketing trends is ever-changing. Successful marketers often use fresh ideas from other marketers and put their own spin on it. The trick is to follow these trends before they become overused and ineffective. The most important marketing trends in the current business world have come from the global adoption of the internet and internet-based companies. Online marketing has become extremely popular due to the ease of online content creation, cheap promotion costs, and the ability to focus on hyper-focused target markets. With online marketing being the new trend, many businesses have forgotten about the timeless techniques that helped build massive organizations before the digital world existed. In this blog, we will discuss how a new organization (in this instance, a hypothetical mobile application) can use offline events to put their product in front of their target customers.
When thinking about driving customers to a startup online-based company, you would think offline events would be one of the last things considered. Why would an online-based business consider offline events? The answer is simply because most online-based startups are not doing this. This will make a company stand out to their target market right away. If done correctly, offline events put your startup in front of the perfect niche for your product or service. Using offline marketing to drive traffic to the business is a creative and fun way to build a customer base and generate conversations.
First, let’s establish an idea for this mobile-application we’re talking about. In one of my marketing classes, we have been using a hypothetical business to build a marketing plan for. This business is a mobile application called “Your Mom”, it is essentially a reminder app for college-aged kids just moving out of their parent's house. The app is shared by the young adult and their guardians, where the guardian can set reminders (“remember to do your laundry, take the trash to the curb, sign up for classes next semester, etc.). With this app in mind, let’s dive into some potential offline event ideas.
The benefit of participating in offline events is to reach the potential customer base who does not typically respond to online advertising. Typically this demographic would be not of the younger generations. With the target market of “Your Mom” being college students and their mothers, using offline events would be a creative and potentially extremely effective way to reach mothers with college-aged kids.
A few ideas came to mind after reading the “Offline Events” section of Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares’ book “Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth”. In this chapter of the book, they discussed three potential types of offline events for startups to consider in order to achieve organic customer growth. Conferences, meetups, and parties could all work in a beneficial way of driving traffic to “Your Mom”.
A conference is a formal meeting where people in a certain niche or profession meet to learn and think collaboratively with major players in their market. The reason a person would attend a conference is most likely that they want to learn from more experienced people in their field, or to network with people similar to themselves. Founders of “Your Mom” should consider attending conferences for mothers in order to put the product directly in front of their target customers with the goal of eventually being keynote speakers at these events.
Once the app started to be the topic or more conversations and draw more users, it would be much easier to have “Your Mom” reps speak at medium-sized conferences. The business could also sponsor events or portions of the event, imagine a “Your Mom” roundtable discussion with mothers who are successful business owners. Anything from startup conferences, Mom conferences, to tech conferences would do the trick at reaching our target market segment.
The next type of offline event “Your Mom” should consider working with to reach their target market segment is meetups. Meetups are informal meetings or gatherings of people with similar interests. “Your Mom” should consider sponsoring Mom’s Groups or even starting their own to drive attention from mothers toward the application. Our group should also consider sponsoring groups for students who are just moving away from home for the first time. Maybe organize a lecture series for freshman seminars where we talk about the app and how it can help students adapt to living away from their families.
Working with meetups could benefit “Your Mom” because it allows the reps from the application to interact directly and more personally with the target customer base. It is more of a one-on-one experience than conferences would be. Although both types of offline events we have discussed would be beneficial to “Your Mom”, I believe that in order to see the highest rate of growth “Your Mom” should work with both types of events.
The last type of offline event “Traction” recommended is parties. To elaborate, hosting a party for the target market. This would mean hosting parties sponsored by “Your Mom” for either college students, parents, or both. It is difficult to see how this type of event could benefit “Your Mom”. I believe parties should be the last of the three to be considered.
Offline events are a unique way for an online-based company to reach its target market and stand out from potential competitors. It puts the product right in front of the customer and helps to develop a brand image. Putting a face to a brand is extremely important if “Your Mom” wishes to stay relevant. Having representatives attend conferences, meetups, and parties is a great way to put a face on the brand. I believe this method of marketing could be very effective for “Your Mom”, not to mention it could also be quite fun for the reps attending these events. Offline events should be seriously considered as one of the initial marketing practices implemented into the growth strategy for “Your Mom”.