Saturday, June 5, 2010

How to Capitalize on Events and Happenings

Staying in the public mind is a mightily difficult thing to do. You need to constantly be thinking and upgrading your efforts. You always need to keep one step ahead of the others. Today I will show you an example of how a tiny country like Croatia does a job a hundred times better than many of her European competitors.

In this day and age, the Internet is the key to doing so. But many companies confuse the issues. As Brian Tracy writes in Focal Point:

Many Internet companies define themselves as providers for free information geared towards attracting as many eyeballs as possible. In reality, the Internet is a communication and distribution channel that must be focused on selling products or services and making a profit, like any other business.

Anyone who reads this blog with any regularity knows that I often harp upon the need to giveaway great free content to get readers... But how to reconcile that with the need to make money? That's what I'd like to blog about today; giving away great content online and offline and using that offline content to increase your online appeal by use of press releases and more.

Let me introduce you to a guy named Edouard Tripkovic Katayama. Edouard is in charge of the Croatian National Tourist Board in Japan and, since he set up the office here, three years ago, they've been a party to a 300% increase in sales and Japanese visitors to Croatia. That's incredible! (Disclaimer here: Before I go on too much, I must state that I know these things to be facts as I am proud to be a part of Edouard's promotional/marketing team and an advisor to such a cool service and wonderful country).

A 300% increase in Japanese visitors to Croatia? And in a down market? Are there any others who could make the same claim? I doubt it. Those are amazing results in any market, not to mention in a down one. I can't think of another organization that has shown such excellent results in Japan.

Of course there are many things that have all played a part in this success story, but let me give you a good example of one that we have coming up that is a marketing dream. The event will fulfill all the requirements that I always mention that are necessary: online and offline elements; news releases; promotion before, during and after; and mutually beneficial tie-ups to help defray costs amongst the partners.

Edouard had correctly decided that Croatian needs a URL that is Japan specific (I wrote the reasons for this here) so we are about to launch an Internet Funnel site for them. At about the same time that the Funnel site will be launched, a famous Croatian Classical Pianist named Kemal Gekic will be touring Japan...

Hear some of Kemal Gekic's fabulous music for free here!

Croatia is launching a new Japan specific Funnel site? A famous Croatian Classical Pianist is touring Japan?

I smell a great promotional opportunity!

Now, here we have an incredibly lucky convergence of events that we can use to promote Croatia Tourism, Kemal Gekic's tour, Croatian cuisine, and to increase awareness amongst the Japanese of just how cool and cultured Croatia is; and what a wonderful travel destination it is for the entire family. Not only that, since there are several parties with vested interests here, we can keep the costs way down. Anyone can spend massive amounts of money and run a good event. It takes imagination, planning and creativity to run a great event on a shoe-string budget!

What we are planning is to have a get-together with 30 - 40 of the most important writers for Tokyo's top Women's, Travel, Dining and Culture magazine's. The event will serve several purposes. It will be the announcement and unveiling of the new Internet Funnel site for Croatia as well as an opportunity to show off Croatian Culture with Mr. Gekic. We will also announce a secret (it's so secret that I can't announce it yet) promotional tie up with the most famous Pizza  delivery company in Japan...Also, we will use the event of create a buzz and to kick off our weekly newsletter that will come as part of joining our web community. (Concurrently running along at the same time as all these other goodies we have planned will be updates using our favorite Social Media like Twitter, Mixi, and photos (of course) with Pick).

The event will be held at the Croatian Embassy and we plan on featuring a short speech by the Croatian Ambassador as well as delicious food and refreshments from the top Croatian restaurant in all of Tokyo, Dobro. Throw this in with a few videos showing the striking beauty and history of the country and, there you have it, the seed of the buzz has been planted.  

Of course, as I said, this is a marketing dream. Everyone gets what they want; The magazines get exclusive information (as well as delicious free food and drink); Croatia Tourism (organizer) gets people to notice; the Embassy (provides the banquet hall) and makes themselves accessible; Kemal Gekic (performs) and his promoter gets people to see and hear his music and, perhaps, write about him; the restauranteur (provides food and drink) gets access to the magazine people who really matter and then he can invite them to write about his restaurant...

Dobro Croatian Cuisine in Kyobashi, Tokyo
〒104-0031 東京都中央区京橋2-6-14 日立第6ビル1F      03-5250-2055

This is a beautiful promotion that can cause nothing but smiles and handshakes (well, in Japan, lots of bowing)... And what does this cost Croatia Tourism? Almost nothing but the time it took to come up with this idea for a great opportunity and make the phone calls to bring in the partners.

So, perhaps, you might have guessed, even now, that this blog you are reading is, in fact, promotion for this event. It is the beginning of the creation of the buzz... I hope I have provided you with some ideas as to how you could steal my ideas and use it for yourselves.... If you can, by all means, please do!

But please don't forget to go back to the top of this blog and see what was written in the third paragraph;

"the Internet is a communication and distribution channel that must be focused on selling products or services and making a profit, like any other business."

So, I hope you get good ideas from this post that you can use to create your offline events and how to use them to benefit your online activities... I also hope that you've gotten some good ideas on how you can use your Social Media and blogs to sell your products/services without having to say, "BUY! BUY! BUY!"

Post-note: Of course, as I mentioned in a previous blog, weekly press releases are a must. The above gives us several weeks of press release material before, during and after the event... It also allows us to create a buzz whereby it is easier to get good partners for future events... Heck, who knows? If they go so well, we might even be able to sell sponsorships to these events and have the sponsor pay for everything. So, just remember, the ceiling is your imagination!

Keywords: business, press release, blog, smart marketing, catchy idea, weekly magazine, publisher, web page, promote,  U-Stream, Buzz, Tweet, Pick, George Williams,  advertising, Japan, marketing, Croatia, European, Internet, Social Media, blogs, 

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