The New Big Event Marketing Strategy: Planned Spontaneity

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jeremysteinbergThe Sell-Sider” is a column written by the sell side of the digital media community.

Today’s column is written by Jeremy Steinberg, senior vice president of digital ad sales for The Weather Company.

It is big event season and the marketplace is abuzz. The sheer number of big event opportunities in the first three months of the year is enough to make any marketer’s mouth water, including the Super Bowl, Olympics, Oscars, Grammys and the Golden Globes, to name a few. What great opportunities to harness these powerful moments with unique messaging that impacts paid, owned and earned media.

But there is a problem with this strategy: The results can be fleeting.

I am sure many people will tell you that these high-profile events move product and build key brand metrics better than any other event. They say the best way to accelerate earned media is to leverage the immediacy of a big moment with a relevant message.

So everyone becomes fixated on winning the big moment. The work involved in making it happen is staggering. But what about the other 364 days of the year?

Wouldn’t you want to win all the moments you can? Don’t you want to drive consistent increases in key brand metrics and product sales? You do this by planning to be spontaneous all the time. You leverage every key moment that matters so you do not miss a single opportunity to hit your metrics for success. Some moments may be bigger than others, like key promotional windows, but you can own them all nonetheless.

Here is how you do it.

Discover The What

The first order of business is to understand what moves your product. You need to find the key triggers that drive sales. If you don’t know, find partners who can help you answer the question or help you get closer to answering the question. This will help you uncover the key moments that will drive your metrics for success.

Develop An Always-On Strategy

Once you figure out the key triggers that move your business, you need to leverage platforms and products that allow you to be “always on” to seamlessly execute against your strategy. Knowing what to do but then needing to continuously plan for every campaign means you will miss key moments. Instead, develop business rules and key objectives in advance that can be operationalized. Create flexible assets, negotiate broad partner deals and obtain legal approval before you begin.

Focus On Automation

It is virtually impossible to be “always on” without heavy reliance on automation. So make sure you have key partners with a smart decisioning engine that can help you implement and continually optimize against your success metrics. Manual planning, tracking or operational inefficiencies will damn your strategy. Let your partners make it turnkey so you can focus on continuously improving your strategy as you learn.  Meanwhile, you will never miss a key moment.

Utilize Paid As The New Earned

Earned media can be beneficial and certainly pressworthy but it can also be forgotten the next day. Paid is your chance to execute a sustainable strategy that leverages every moment and never lets the moment fade. Paid is also very flexible as it can be served, tracked, optimized, scaled and targeted. Paid is sustainable at whatever level you deem successful.

Use Multiple Channels

We are in a world of endless screens so the best plans focus on more than just one channel. Plan across channels in advance and use key partners with the capabilities to optimize against them on a continual basis. You just never know what medium will drive the best results, so work with partners who can do that for you.

Do Not Blow Off Native

Native by nature is not scalable as it is developed uniquely to the medium. So find partners who can bridge social strategies and sync them with my above-mentioned points. This way you can coordinate all campaign objectives and harness ad-served strategies that can scale far faster than any one-off social initiative. And when the moment hits, you can have a far more integrated strategy across all channels with relevant and timely messaging.

So there you have it. Keep in mind that I am discounting the benefits of buying big events to drive key brand and sales metrics. But I do believe that leveraging a 365-day strategy seems to make great business sense as well.

Follow Jeremy Steinberg (@jeremysteinberg) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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