[Beginner - 101] What is EBM? A Helpful Guide to Event Based Marketing

Direct marketing, where businesses reach out to customers and potential customers through emails, ads, promotional letters, commercials, and other means that allow direct communication with the customer, is very different from event-based marketing. Event-based marketing, often referred to as EBM, bases marketing strategies directly off of event in a customer’s life. An event can be something basic and predicted, like an end-of-contract, or something more detailed and personal, like a marriage.

Event-based marketing is a more personalized form of marketing, and can help to form personal connections with the customers. Not only that, but a great event-based marketing strategy allows you to respond to your customers’ needs at precisely the right moment. For tips on how to make event-based marketing work well for your company, check out the following:

Types of Events to Consider in your EBM Strategy

There are a lot of events that happen in a customer’s life; however, despite the many events that marketers could take advantage of, most marketers stick to holidays alone. Christmas promotions? New Year’s sales? Both are forms of event-based marketing.

If you really want to be effective though, it’s time to think outside of the box and step beyond the realm of holiday-only events. Instead, start thinking about defining an event on a broader scale. An event could be a purchase of a product, a blog share, a birthday, an address change, a large withdrawal from a bank account, a marriage, a pregnancy, a change in season, a news story, or even a social trend. Depending upon your customer base, the events that you’ll use as triggers – or reasons to reach out to your customer base – will vary greatly.

Responding Effectively to Events

Once you’ve thought about the multitude of events that may be part of your event-based marketing strategy, you’ll have to start formulating a plan as to how you can respond effectively to these events.

Think About Your Customer

It should be pretty straightforward – the first thing you should think about when planning which events to respond to and how to respond appropriately to chosen events is your customer. If you’re not already using analytics to gather data about your customer base, it’s time to start. By analyzing when your customers are most likely to buy, what events trigger a purchase, and what the demographics of your customer base are, you’ll have a better idea of how (and when) to respond.

Timing is Everything

When it comes to event-based marketing, an effective response is dependent upon great timing. Depending upon the event, the length of time that will be required to yield positive buyer behavior will vary greatly. For example, if the event is a new company merger, consumer purchasing might not occur for weeks – or even months – later. If the event is a holiday, though, buyer response might be instantaneous, and occur within hours. As such, you need to be patient, flexible, and well planned. By constantly watching the market and searching for event-triggers, you’ll be able to respond appropriately when necessary.

Know How You’ll Respond

The way that you respond to an event is another big thing to consider. When an event occurs that triggers buyer response, what will your marketing approach be? A blog post? A contest? A sale? An email? A Facebook status update? A commercial or video? Often times, designing a marketing strategy response on the fly is difficult, if not impossible. Knowing exactly how you’re going to respond for a given event in advance is highly recommended. Using data about your customer base, you can market to customers in the way that they respond to best, whether that be in the form of videos, sales, promotions, contests, blogs, or something else entirely.

Aim for Inventiveness

Most big companies, and many small businesses, are already using event-based marketing. For example, there aren’t many businesses out there that don’t offer some sort of back-to-school or holiday sale. Because everyone’s already doing it, it’s important that you do it differently – or better – than your competitors. When designing and implementing an event-based marketing strategy, make sure you think out of the box, and aim for inventiveness. If your competitor is offering 10 percent off during the holidays, how can you improve your strategy to attract more customers? Just offering discounts and promotions isn’t always the most effective means of retaining customers or drawing in new ones.

Promote Yourself

If you have a great idea of a fantastic marketing strategy that’s event-based, make sure you don’t keep it to yourself. One of the biggest components of marketing is self-promotion, so make sure you use as many tools as possible to get your company name and idea(s) out there. Social media tools, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube are all essential when it comes to event-based marketing. Additionally, make sure you’re updating your own website and blog often, consider paid ads, and engage in link sharing with a variety of other businesses. Also, make sure that all your content is shareable – each piece of content on your website should have buttons for sharing on Facebook, Tweeting, or emailing. And, each piece of content should have a call to action that encourages a reader to share.

Keep Track

Once you’ve implemented an event-based marketing strategy, constantly analyzing its effectiveness and making adjustments where necessary is important. By accessing data about the effectiveness of your event-based marketing campaign, you can eliminate the guesswork in the future, and further develop the most advantageous means of reaching your customers.

The Importance of Event-based Marketing

Event-based marketing can improve brand recognition and drive profits quickly and efficiently. Take Pizza Hut, for example, which implanted a great event-based marketing campaign during the Super Bowl.  Every time that a customer checked into Foursquare with the Super Bowl mentioned, the customer unlocked a badge. The badge provided users with a coupon that gave them $5 for every $10 spent. The result? A huge upsurge in profits for the pizza chain.

Another example of a great event-based marketing strategy that also used Foursquare was Walgreens’ SoLoMo (Social, Local, Mobile) Foursquare Program. Anytime a customer checked into a Walgreen’s using Foursquare, the customer was rewarded with a coupon for a special offer. In this case, the event was based on a social trend – the use of smartphones and Foursquare check-ins.

The two above are great example of different events that companies effectively responded to. When designing your own event-based marketing campaign, remember that the whole point of event-based marketing is to use consumer behavior and events to identify marketing and profit-making opportunities. Great content marketing before, during, and after an event can exponentially increase the reach, influence, and conversion opportunities of your business.

Drive Engaged visitors to your content

Promote your content on premium websites like CNN, ESPN and thousands more

Show me how