Marketing roadshows can be an incredible tool. When executed well they offer real-world interaction between brands and their audience. Nothing beats being fully immersed in a product, being able to speak to brand reps and having a live experience to remember. But, pulling off successful roadshows takes work, and if done badly they can swallow up money, resources and opportunities.
So how can you get it right and maximise your return?
Be clear about what you’re trying to achieve and the outcomes you're aiming for. Without clear objectives, it can be difficult to measure return, beyond a feeling that everyone had a great time and there was amazing feedback on the day.
Truly successful roadshow planners will create all their roadshow activity with their eyes on their objectives. They'll also ensure strategies are in place to analyse outcomes and measure success.
There’s a lot that you can learn about the success of an event on the day it happens. You’ll know how many people attended (including any VIPs), how much product was sampled and you'll have a sense of some of the questions that were asked. But once the excitement of a successful event has subsided you'll need a plan to turn all that positivity into meaningful engagement.
Included in the strategy, you'll want to make sure you have the capacity to hit follow-up actions even as the live events are still happening. In doing this you'll be able to generate real returns and avoid missing out on the opportunities your roadshow events have generated.
Whether you’re planning invitation-only or marketing your roadshow to a wider audience, you’ll want to be very targeted in your approach. Knowing your target audience will help you to make the right decisions as you plan event locations, timings and creative approach.
If you want to attract large numbers you’ll need an effective marketing and social media strategy. It's usually not enough to just publicise the event and hope people will arrive, even if your event is taking place in a highly visible location.
While the amount of lead time needed can vary considerably, we usually recommend you allow a few months, particularly if this is your first roadshow. You’ll learn a huge amount once you head on the road but it can be an expensive way to learn lessons that could have been avoided with advance planning.
We have clients that head out with very short lead times, but they have usually been doing roadshows for a while and have a winning formula. Starting more slowly can help to ensure your campaign is successful in the short-term and in the long-term give you a format that can be used again and again.
Wherever possible we recommend a dry run or tester event a couple of weeks before the roadshow starts. You can learn a huge amount from this type of event and iron out issues that may otherwise affect your first live events.
A dry run allows for a full set up to be trialled, including any technology. It also provides an opportunity for creative concepts to be tested and for the touring team to take questions and get used to answering in a live setting. Often a dry run with internal colleagues or trusted contacts can be a good way of getting valuable, honest feedback.
Roadshow planning and delivery can be complex and expensive. This becomes even more so if you're looking at a longer series of events or many locations. By choosing a partner that specialises in roadshows not only will things run more smoothly but you'll be able to draw on their whole network of knowledge and contacts.
A roadshow specialist will have access to venues, familiarity with licences and permits, logistics expertise and staff that are used to 'life on the road'.
A good roadshow partner will have ‘been there, done it’ hundreds of times and be able to offer insight into what does and doesn’t work. They'll be able to work alongside you bringing invaluable knowledge to the table and helping your campaign to be successful from the start.