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Taking Your Brand to the Streets

Joan Pisoni
  • Road show marketing allows brands to tailor product presentations and demonstrations to audiences that are most likely to be receptive, which also makes it a cost-effective option.
  • Creating a controlled environment and experience through road show marketing affords the opportunity to engage, excite and inspire visitors into action.

Consumer confidence is on the rise. In April 2010, the overall index rose 5.6 points to 57.9, the highest reading since September 2008. This gives brands a powerful opportunity to connect with consumers in the new economy. But how can brands grow and maintain loyalty? Face-to-face marketing is one proven solution. From trade shows and conventions to private corporate events and road show tours, face-to-face marketing offers unique advantages that cannot be delivered by other sales and marketing mediums such as television, radio, press, direct mail and the Internet.

Road show marketing is often employed by brands seeking to bring an interactive experience directly to a specific audience. These types of campaigns can be used in several ways, including as an adjunct to trade show programs to add impact and foster more personal interaction with a product. However, road show marketing programs are also robust enough to serve as a stand-alone marketing tactic.

Taking it to the Streets

So what constitutes a worthy reason to take your brand on the road? Pretty much anytime you’re looking to deliver a brand experience that engages, excites and educates visitors. Brand owners have had great success using road show marketing to launch new products, increase brand awareness, build a customer base and educate the market on specific products and services.

Road show marketing also offers the added benefit of a controlled environment, free of competitors and distractions in general, and allows brands to tailor product presentations and demonstrations to audiences that are most likely to be receptive. This targeted approach also makes road show marketing a cost-effective option, as brands can hone in on a specific audience to which they want to market their message. In addition, the trailers and technology used as part of the road show tour can often be repurposed for use at sales conferences and trade shows year-round.

Successful Execution

While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for road show programs, the following six tips will help marketers implement a successful program:

Tip 1: Chart Your Course
When it comes to ensuring success for any marketing program, the make it or break it point lies in the planning. This couldn’t be more true of road show marketing tours. With multi-city stops, road show tours require an in-depth analysis of front-end engaging activities and back-end logistical needs.

Tip 2: Identify Your Marketing Goals
Set specific metrics to measure program success against. That could mean setting a sales goal or focusing on something less tangible, such as relationship-building. How do you want to showcase your product—what’s the differentiator?

Tip 3: Assess Your Target Audience
Creating a controlled environment with few to no competitors allows you to target your promotions and focus on specific customer needs. Know the hot buttons of your audience to ensure your road show marketing message has the biggest impact.

Tip 4: Know Where to Find Your Audience
Combine face-to-face interactions with a memorable brand experience—one where customers live, work and play.

Tip 5: A Moving Solution Designed to Drive Sales
Create an experience that engages, excites and inspires visitors into action. The environment must engage your audience, involving them with the brand in new and unexpected ways. With careful planning, the experience will appeal to all five senses.

Tip 6: Work with the Right Partners
Road show marketing involves a significant amount of detail, so identifying an experienced production partner is essential to success. Brands should look for companies that have expertise in a number of areas including design, transport, staffing and promotional tools, as well the ability to look after the legal issues including permits and compliance with safety codes.

See You on the Road

Road show marketing campaigns are ideal for promoting a new brand directly to a target market or to increase awareness for an established brand or service. Whether implemented as a stand-alone promotion tool or used in conjunction with another event, road show marketing campaigns are high profile and memorable—two keys to making the sale.

Joan Pisoni has 24 years of experience in developing face-to-face marketing events, and is currently the division president of MC² St. Louis. The company is a nationally recognized leader in the exhibit and event marketing industry, specializing in design, production and management of integrated marketing programs—including events, exhibits, permanent and road show environments and executive briefing centers.

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