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N OT YOUR AVE R AGE COL UM N

THREE TIPS FOR HOSTING A SUCCESSFUL PROMOTIONAL EVENT

By Tim Spicer

I’m a strong believer in promotional events — so much so that I’ve led two NAMM University sessions and wrote a previous column for the Music & Sound Retailer on different types of store events. Promotional events not only bring in immediate cash flow and create inventory turns, but they help to build excitement and momentum for your brand. Customers love attending engaging events, so give them what they want! There are three main things to focus on when planning and hosting a successful promotional event: Be creative. Open mic nights are great events to host regularly, but you shouldn’t stop there. Think outside the box when it comes to promotional events. We just completed our annual Acoustic Week. During this event, we spent an entire week focusing on acoustic guitars and accessories. We held nightly workshops that covered topics ranging from the characteristics of tone woods and body shapes, to home recording an acoustic instrument, to free group guitar lessons. We included vendors to raffle giveaways, run sales and help push inventory. To help build excitement, you can plan a fun and engaging activity with your customers during the event. This year we had a customer restring competition. The person with the fastest time received a free guitar and a year’s worth of guitar strings, both donated by vendors. We also paired with some local families affected by the tornados that hit our county in early March. We ran a marketing campaign where we used social media to highlight the fundraising competition. We filmed a series of “Rocky”-themed videos and photo shoots pairing our staff against each other to promote the competition and build excitement among customers. (Note 44

the picture at the top of this page.) Not only were we able to have a weeklong event that significantly boosted our gross profit, but additionally, we were able to positively impact the lives of some local families. With a little creativity, you can host a promotional event that boosts your bottom line and keeps your customers talking about your business for months to come. Spend some time with your team focusing on creativity prior to planning your next big event. Involve your team. This should be a no-brainer, but I’m surprised at how many business owners/managers are the sole event planners and coordinators. Many of our successful promotional events have been an employee’s idea and vision. It’s important to share the overall direction you want your business to move in and empower your employees to help get you there. Use planning meetings as an opportunity to strengthen your core team, while giving opportunities for your fringe employees to become core team members. Remember: good leaders include, train and inspire their employees. Once you decide on an event, involve your team from the beginning to the end of the planning and execution. Give your key players the authority they need to plan, promote and host a successful event. This includes defining a budget, marketing strategy and coordination details. You will need to walk beside your team with clear objectives, to make sure they stay on track during the planning process. An important step during the event is to make your team members the focal point of attention. Give them the praise that is due for successfully executing a sensational event. This will continue to build their confidence and leadership skills, which

can directly affect store growth, and their future with the company. Take detailed records. Promotional events can be tricky to get just right. You could run an identical event two years in a row and have substantially different outcomes, which we have seen directly. There are a lot of factors that come into play when you attempt to bring customers into your store to purchase items. It’s important to remember, just because an event may not be as heavily attended as you’d like the first time you attempt it, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t attempt the event again. It could be a result of the time of year or the time of day. It could be a result of your marketing strategy. It could also simply need to build steam, and the following year could be much stronger. However your event turns out, make sure to document it thoroughly. Record every detail necessary to review and strategize for the next event. It’s important to take a step back after a promotional event concludes and review all details from top to bottom. Using this information wisely can give you the knowledge you need to make necessary adjustments so that your next event breaks your records! Hosting powerful events is an oftenoverlooked strategy that can boost customer loyalty. Check out other businesses that host successful events like Sweetwater’s GearFest and study their methods. Lastly, focus on creating emotion through your events. Give customers a reason to shop with you instead of your competition. The important thing is that you are building excitement in your community! I’d love to hear your thoughts on any events you’re thinking of trying: tim@spicersmusic. com. I look forward to hearing from you! JUNE 2019

Profile for Music & Sound Retailer

Music & Sound Retailer June 2019, Vol 36 No 6  

In June’s Summer NAMM Preview issue, we recap the RPMDA Annual Convention, give insight into what’s in store for Summer NAMM attendees next...

Music & Sound Retailer June 2019, Vol 36 No 6  

In June’s Summer NAMM Preview issue, we recap the RPMDA Annual Convention, give insight into what’s in store for Summer NAMM attendees next...