In the ongoing challenge to find more effective approaches to marketing your business, it helps to keep an eye and an ear on current events. If you think about it, the whole idea behind a marketing campaign is to get noticed, and if people’s attention is already being grabbed by some hot trending topic, it makes sense to somehow work that popular subject into your own campaign. There’s nothing wrong with riding on the coattails of a hot topic.
For a classic example of this, consider sports events, as can be seen in the article “Mass Text Messaging Plus the NFL Playoffs Equals Sports Bar Success”. The story highlights how a sports bar can use mass texting for things like promotions, team stats, and game times in order to grab those important eyeballs, hopefully converting them into customers. It’s a natural fit.
Here are four points to keep in mind when hitching your marketing wagon to current events and crazes.
Stay Tuned In
You can’t tie your marketing campaign in with a current trend if you don’t know what’s trending. Make sure you stay current on social media as well as regular news (including sports, entertainment, arts). This is important not only to know what’s hot, but also to know when something has jumped the shark and has fallen out of favor. Nothing is more pathetic than trying to tie in your latest advertising campaign with something that’s so last year.
Make It Relevant
For instance, if a massive, newsworthy snowstorm has struck a third of the country, that’s a good hook, especially if you sell cold-weather gear, own a bar or restaurant, or specialize in something designed to beat the cold (like a travel agency that books cruises, for instance). The idea is to have a natural progression between the news story and the product or service being offered, and the cleverer you can make it, the better.
Take the NFL’s latest kerfluffle with the New England Patriots and charges of under-inflating footballs, annoyingly referred to as “deflategate”. As much as the subject has been beaten into the ground, it’s a newsworthy hook that a clever business can use to their advantage. A business that deals in delivering balloon-grams, for instance, would have a field day with the whole inflated angle, for example. On the other hand, a pet-grooming service may have a slightly tougher time finding relevance with deflated footballs.
But How To Do It?
In terms of practical application, your choices are limited only by your business’ capabilities and presence on social media. First of all, decide what media you intend to use. Is it a Twitter campaign, a mass email blitz, or an SMS text push? Maybe it’s all of them!
But whatever the medium, you will need the following:
- A reference to the event/trend
- The product/service offered
- A call to action
So, referencing the balloon-delivery service with the deflated football incident, the event reference could be “Hey NFL, our balloons are never under-inflated!”, the promotion might be “Save 30% on all deliveries”, and the call to action finishes up with “Expires 3/1/15, order here”, including a link that the user can click on in order to get the ball rolling, so to speak.
Not Every News Story Or Trend Is Good
A successful tie-in marketing campaign hinges not only on what events and trends a business should capitalize on, but also which ones to stay the Hell away from. Trending stories involving, say, natural disasters (especially ones where lives are lost), accidents, shootings, terrorism, or animal cruelty should be completely avoided. You would think such advice would be a no-brainer, but you wouldn’t know that judging by the recent actions of domain host site GoDaddy, which experienced a huge, well-deserved backlash against their Super Bowl commercial. The ad in question was meant to be a parody of Budweiser’s puppy ad from last year’s Super Bowl, and gave it a mean-spirited punchline where the puppy ended up getting sold online.
There’s an old expression that says “There’s no such thing as bad publicity”. That saying is full of crap. If you alienate enough people, you will fail, simple as that.
Run any current event-based tie-in through the good taste filter, and walk the fine line between the two extremes of excessive political correctness and crass, mean-spirited messages.
Current events and trends can be a very valuable asset in getting the word out there. Strike while the iron is hot, make a good connection, tell people why they should care, and by all means, keep it tasteful.