Event Marketing For Sundogs Festival
In November 2016, Luctonians approached us to help them develop a strategy and implement an Event Marketing plan. This was for their summer 2017 Sundogs Festival . A beer, music, rugby sevens and women’s touch rugby and women’s hockey competitions.
We researched and put together an Event Marketing strategy. One that could be implemented and followed to achieve realistic figures.
In December we reviewed proposals in line with a budget and began work. Initially we started with a logo then branding followed this.
Once a brand for Sundogs was established, we moved on to offline marketing materials (banners and posters) then these designs were applied to Sundogs Festival social media platforms. As it was a new festival it was imperative that it was easily recognisable across all platforms.
Next up we had to develop a website as a central information hub which all other online and offline channel fed into. Our intention was to make the website warrant interest from potential sponsors due to presence and traffic. We made the website as user friendly as possible. Making all relevant information as accessible as possible and making team entry 3 clicks away at any point.
The countdown at the head of the page was an important factor for the Event Marketing. Giving the site and the event purpose. That every day we were getting closer to the event. Encouraging entrants, bands, breweries, attendees and sponsors to get involved and that the clock is ticking!
Again the branding was applied to the website in subtle ways. While not detracting from the site’s main purpose – information and entry.
Have a look at the website here: http://sundogsfestival.co.uk/
The turn of the year saw us and the team at Luctonians begin Event Marketing. The website was live, social media set up so we were ready to begin spreading the word. Buidling an audience and attracting people to the event. It started quietly, as we had no confirmed acts, teams, sponsors or breweries involved. We launched everything and discretely approached clubs, potential sponsors and breweries first. It was going to be difficult to attract people to the event if there was currently nothing at the event!
So January saw a lot of ‘behind the scenes’ development of the festival, with the intention that we would have generated enough interest to start shouting about it in February. We were successful in attracting a couple of teams and sponsors, so to go from nothing to something was half the battle of month one.
Having established a good online presence, especially in terms of social media, the ball was well and truly rolling for Event Marketing.
February saw us step up the social media campaign and with several music acts, sponsors, breweries and teams involving themselves with the event, we had something to shout about. This saw us take the next step and showcased what we had so far achieved via paid advertising, initially on Facebook to attract people to the event, while Twitter was used to directly approach bands, teams, breweries and sponsors. Twitter was a painstaking manual undertaking and it really was a numbers game.
The time was right to allocate some of the budget to run a social media competition.
Capitalising on events
Coinciding nicely with our Event Marketing strategy was the RBS 6 Nations, so jumping on the rugby bandwagon we ran a dual competition on both Facebook and Twitter – Facebook we ran a ‘Like, Share and Follow’ competition and the prize was an England Rugby Home Pro shirt, while Twitter’s competition, to add variety we ran a ‘Follow and Retweet’ competition for an England Rugby Alternate Pro shirt. Both were of significant monetary value but decent prizes up for grabs encouraged a good number of entrants.
The competition was to run for 4 weeks, we had coincided the draw to be made during the half time break of England’s penultimate 6 Nations fixture with Scotland so we could get the prizes mailed out to the winners in time for, what we believed to be, the crunch fixture against Ireland ion Dublin, the following week. Both the competition and paid advertising ran hand in hand to compliment efforts already on social media.
This organic and paid exposure allows us to concentrate now on encouraging more interest as we had generated interest. During this time, we were beginning to get approached by bands, teams and breweries rather than approaching them. The snowball effect was well and truly in motion. Though rather than sit back and bask in this initial success, it has only spurred us on. To make the event as big as we possibly could!
We designed an advert for a local publication ‘Hereford Hopvine’ http://herefordcamra.org.uk/newsletter.htm that is available in pubs to push the beer side of things as there are many facets to the event so we were directly targeting those who may have an interest in the beers and ales as opposed to the rugby or the music.
Now that things were falling into place and we’d successfully generated local and national interest in the event we shifted focus to some offline marketing materials – pop up banners that would be put up at Mortimer Park as additional advertising to the masses who’d come to Luctonians for the rugby, corporate events or just about anything else that might be going on at the club. You never know who may be walking past the banners!
As we had a ‘product’ to sell, with numerous bands, sponsors, teams and breweries confirming their involvement we designed and printed numbered tickets using www.ukticketprinting.co.uk – again branded and easily recognisable as the Sundogs Festival brand.
It was also time to start thinking of what is going where with regards to Mortimer Park’s grounds, so we began to develop a simple site plan graphic. Mainly to illustrate which pitches teams would be playing on as it was pretty obvious where the stages and beer tents would be on the day, but newcomers to the site would benefit from having a rough idea where things were as we were hoping to attract people outside of the county.
On Thursday 2nd March the festival was featured on the Herefordshire Live website http://herefordshirelive.co.uk/sport/put-a-date-in-your-diary-sundogs-rugby-7s-music-beer-festival
On Wednesday March the 8th following a discussion at the committee meeting the night before it was agreed that to push ticket pre-sales we were to launch a competition where upon purchase of the tickets, you have the option to write your name and contact details on the back, tear it off on the perforation and be put into a draw for free drinks at the festival, to be drawn nearer the time.
The draw for the shirts had been made and prizes mailed direct to winners.
As extra publicity for the Sundogs Festival we asked that the winners take a ‘selfie’. Wearing their prizes and tag the page on Facebook.
Bands, breweries and sponsors were mentioned on Twitter along with an associated image in the hope that more will come on board. To keep things ticking over we designed some ‘confirmed so far’ graphics to collate all confirmed breweries, musical acts and featured beers and ales. With a number confirmed to be at the Sundogs Festival we are able to produce a worthwhile line up graphic – with the intention people will be encouraged to get on board as things are really happening with the festival!
A continual push to secure breweries keen to showcase their beer, ale this month, to cater for the cider lovers, featured ciders were added to Facebook as and when they confirmed. Emma took care of all this, we take no credit for what was at the event, whether it’s drink, teams or bands. Our role was to advertise the event as best we could limited only by time and expense. It was halfway through this month that we reached 500 page ‘Likes’. We created graphics as and when we could to advertise developments, for example the band line-up confirmed.
We also launched another rugby themed giveaway to reach audiences nationwide who could potentially want to come to the Sundogs Festival. We launched 2 British and Irish Lions themed competitions, a different prize on Twitter and Facebook (to encourage an audience crossover) and timing was designed so that we would draw a winner for each and have the prizes sent out ready for the start of the British and Irish Lions 2017 Tour.
Hobsons held a competition to give a lucky winner a weekend pass with beer vouchers to the Sundogs Festival. We designed the graphics for this in line with the branding of the event while giving Hobsons exposure themselves.
We created a Facebook Event for the festival 4 weeks before it was due to take place and boosted it in order to get some idea of numbers, whether they be going, interested or not attending. In the end, the figures on the event were as follows:
At the absolute minimum we had these figures. We assumed if 221 went they would bring 1 or 2 with them. If half the interested people went with a friend or 2, we’d be looking at an attendance of 800. Which wouldn’t be bad. On the day over 1400 people went through the gate. For a first time event, the organisers were very happy with this. Why create an event when the Facebook page itself is an event? Exposure!
If you use Facebook you get an option pop up for pages you may like. Based on what your friends as a whole are ‘liking’. If your friends express even so much as interest in an event, it’ll pop up on their newsfeed. Saying they are interested (which more will see). If you don’t see it – Facebook likes to tell you that your friends are interested / going to an event near you. Again more exposure and ultimately more reach.
The final week before the event proved taxing. In terms of last minute hitches beyond our control but were soon sorted by Emma. All we could do now was promote the event everywhere we could. Mentioning local events and people on Twitter. Posting the event onto Facebook pages of local authorities and entities. In the hope that anyone who may be yet to hear about the event would. This would be given enough notice to maybe attend. A number did not seem very receptive to helping advertise the event so very little credit can be given. With the subsequent success of the event it was almost a missed opportunity. To have been associated with the event both now and potentially in the future. The Sundogs Festival is set to return in 2018 because of the success of this year’s.
ON THE DAY
The hard work for Event Marketing had not stopped for us in the run up to the event, neither did it on the day! Not knowing whether the event would be annual festival, we had to hold our breath and jump in. See what happens. The clubhouse had opened early for a ‘Lions Breakfast’, where overnight campers were able to enjoy a hearty breakfast and watch the British & Irish Lions first Test Match against the All Blacks.
We arrived at halftime and the excitement for the day ahead was slowly building, despite the disappointing result. Our aim was to soak in the atmosphere and document, as best we could with the equipment we had, as much as we could to potentially be used as marketing material for next year’s event, should it happen. On the day there were in excess of 500 photos taken by ourselves and over 30 minutes of recorded footage.
Time had to be divvied out evenly so we had a series of clips rather than extensive footage. Coupled with the images taken by the club’s photographer Nigel Mee and visiting photographer (like Mick Lort) between us we really encapsulated the day through media. An important element for Event Marketing.
Immediately following the event
In the days following the event we drip fed out a series of photos and teasers. To keep the buzz going. All pictures were watermarked. In the hope that when shared people could easily identify where it was taken (at the Sundogs Festival). Therefore give us a little more reach and appeal, hopefully, for next year’s event!
We created an infographic which we added to visual.ly to illustrate the successes of the festival and our Event Marketing. Facts, figures with a bit of fun thrown in as well. With so much going on at the festival is was worth shouting about!
Here is a link to the infographic: https://visual.ly/community/Infographics/sports/sundogs-festival
We tried to do as much as we could to document the day’s events unfolding. Photos, live Tweets and where we could we went Live on Facebook. Especially as the competitions were drawing to a conclusion. It was a great but long and exhausting day, but at least we know what to expect for next years’ festival and how to be even more prepared for it!
AFTER THE EVENT
We continued to upload as much media as we could following the Sundogs Festival – the difficult part was not doing it all at once, but spacing it out enough to keep the buzz going for as long as we could after the event. We put together this cool video montage to encapsulate the day. Our intentions are to make people want to be a part of it now that we have media to show what the day was all about.
As other festival goers, players and bands uploaded their own media and promotional material we were able to share these on our Sundogs Festival Facebook page, this also helped to keep the buzz ticking over plus giving extra exposure to both the festival and whoever posted and published the media! You can never be short of help with Event Marketing!
The events team held a debrief meeting on Tuesday 27th June while it was still fresh in our minds about how to make next years’ event even bigger and even better, now that we had contacts, structure and most importantly first-hand experience of holding a festival of both this size and type. A date was also set for next years’ event – Saturday June 23rd 2018 so we have something to aim and prepare for!
All in all, the Sundogs Festival was a brilliant success and The DM Lab are so grateful that we could be a part of it, yes, a tiny cog in a big machine but you know what they say – ‘teamwork makes the dream work!’ Everything points to a success in our Event Marketing.
We can’t wait for next year’s event – as we publish this case study – only 320 days to go!