Event marketing is a growing trend in Italy: in recent years, a variety of events of all sizes and kinds have been used for brand promotion and cultural promotion, with more or less constant success. This kind of marketing usually results in short-to-medium term projects, that aim to engage local communities or targeted groups and have a significant impact in the social and urban development of the cities in which they take place. The most successful examples manage to combine traditional marketing with authentic community work. Larger events can also result in a significant increase in either sales or reach, depending on the campaign’s focus and goals. How do you use events to market your brand in Italy? Check out our tips to engage Italian audiences effectively.
Be unique (according to your audience)
When using events to promote your brand in Italy, you should be aware that different cities are used to receiving different levels of attention from both brands and the media. The key to making any event effective is to wow your audience, but that might mean entirely different things in a small seaside village in Sicily or in central Milan. The residents of large metropolitan areas are used to being targeted by brands with flashy stunts and will mostly be miffed if your large event requires a few streets to be closed off. These audiences might respond better to guerrilla-like events, flash mobs and anything that stuns them out of scrolling through their Facebook feed during a commute. If you want to pull a stunt worth remembering in Rome or Milan, you might be better off organising a major rockstar’s concert in an underground station, rather than mounting a stage in a square that has seen countless major events. If you target smaller towns – for instance, by organising a promotional tour for your brand – the residents might actually be thrilled by a big public event, as it deviates significantly from their daily routine. That’s the time to invest in a large stage and guests that will leave your audiences star-struck.
Be accessible: don’t make the audience work to get to you
How do you gage a promotional event’s success? It all depends on the goal you set for your campaign. Are you aiming for sales? Website impressions? Brand awareness and social media shares? Leads? Make sure you set down a list of goals before you start planning your event and define one clear, specific and unequivocal CTA for your audiences. Then make it ridiculously easy to respond to it. For instance, if you are aiming for sales, make your product immediately available and visible in multiple corners of your venue and make sure the entertainment you provide won’t overshadow it. Don’t expect your audience to flock to your one selling booth on their way out because a celebrity on stage said so. If your ultimate goal is for your audience to download your app or visit your website, make sure they do it straight away, for instance by offering discounts on drinks, food or merchandise to those who perform certain actions on their smartphone. Don’t just give out leaflets with your website or a QR code to scan at home: they will end up in the trash quicker than you can hand them out. Through all this, try not to be too overbearing: Italian audiences don’t take kindly to the idea of being aggressively sold something, they don’t like to be pestered and they rarely appreciate excessively inquisitive sales personnel. Offer something in return for the actions you are expecting them to perform, but be ready to leave them some time to assess your product, service or brand before they decide to trust you.
Be respectful and clean up after yourself
Italians are extremely protective of their heritage, landmarks and art. If your event budget is big enough to get you a historically or artistically relevant venue, be respectful of the place you are occupying, don’t try to turn it into something else and avoid set-ups and stunts that may seem to make light of it. The fact that Pink Floyd got to play in Pompeii and Piazza San Marco in Venice doesn’t mean that all of Italy’s most iconic landmarks are up for grabs. If you are allowed to use as unique a venue as they did, show your appreciation for it, but don’t imply that your presence is enhancing it: it’s the other way round. Remember that as innocent a publicity stunt as Starbucks planting palm-trees in Piazza Duomo has been perceived as offensive to the history and gravitas of the square and resulted in the trees being vandalized and the general sentiment towards the brand shifting significantly towards hostility. Also, it goes without saying, you should never alter any public location in a permanent way, not leave it worse for wear after your event is gone. Make sure you clean up after yourself, because you will be judged on the impact your presence had on the local community.