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Lilac Festival 2011

As you can imagine from the photo above the 500 on site vendors at the Lilac Festival had a busy day. This year an estimated 125,000 people strolled 4th Street from 13th Ave to Mission. As a marketing event, Lilac Festival isn’t without it’s challenges. I suspect that the average interaction I had with a company was less than 2 minutes long.

As I strolled the street with my family, I was offered a few brochures, samples and asked to enter to win. Not one place that I stopped at invited me to connect on my personal multimedia machine, my phone. Come to think of it, I didn’t even bring my wallet with me, but I did bring my phone. Here are a few specific ideas to enhance the experience between your brand and a customer at a major event like that.

GO MOBILE

Using a mobile delivery for your marketing message is critical if you want to keep your business in front of consumers. According to a recent survey, approximately 40% of cell phone users on Bell, Telus or Rogers have a smartphone. These smartphones can do just about everything and consumers are using them regularly for researching product information. To take advantage of this mobile connectivity, your company could

1. Encourage customers to scan a QR code which will link them to your site, your Facebook Page, a review site about your products, a newsletter sign up form, nutritional information content, a map of your locations, a special offer etc. Waves Coffee House handed out 2 for 1 flyers which is a great idea. I put them in my back pocket and will use them when I can. By placing a QR code on their brochure, they could make it really easy for me to immediately get more information about their brand away from their booth where I’d had to fight the noise and the intimidating crowd of people . If you’d like to learn how to create a QR code, it’s easy and free and you can do it here

2. Create a video or photo contest from that day. Contest players can submit their entries on your Facebook page. There’s some great information about how to do that online. You can read more about the rules to consider here

3. Testimonials. Ask people if it’s ok to get a video reaction of them sampling your wares. I tried some great hot relish from Foo King. They had one girl standing in the middle of the road handing out samples (they posted a comment that they’d handed out 2500 that day!). With one additonal person standing beside the sampler girl, Foo King could have asked my permission to take video of my reaction which, I would’ve had no problem with it. If they got my name and email, they could also request to be my friend on facebook and share that video with me. These videos could then be used on their website and social media spaces to provide authentic testimonials for their product.

4. Follow up. I filled in a contest entry form at Calgary Travel and Tours. I honestly have no idea what I entered to win. I suspect that I’m not alone. All I know is that I have the chance to win a free trip. I didn’t even remember the name of the business where I entered to win. Just now I Googled to find a travel center was on 17th Ave near 4th Street which is how I came up with the name Calgary Travel and Tours. However, Calgary Travel and Tours has my email address. They could send me an email, let me know more about them, the prize I entered to win, send a promo video of the area where the trip is, ask if I’d like to sign up for their newsletter, ask where I’d like to travel to next, ask if they could send me information about my next destination. There’s a hundred things they could do to reach out and introduce their company to me.

  • http://twitter.com/marcbinkley Marc Binkley

    I just received a call from Sherry Brown the owner of Calgary Travel and Tours.  As it turns out, she informed me that they weren’t the company who was offering the free trip and collecting emails.  There was a booth positioned in front of their location, but it wasn’t their own.   For anyone reading this that was mislead or interested in booking travel, Sherry is willing to offer you a travel voucher when you book with her.  You can reach her at 403-228-3310

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