When correctly put together, events can prove to be very powerful as a marketing tool. When we talk of marketing, we are referring to a set of activities that has been designed in such a manner that it will sell a product, an image or even a service. It entails each and every individual thing one does. Undeniably, all that an organization does has a measurable influence on how its customers perceive the same organization and this perception later on impacts on the customers’ buying decisions (The Financial Express, 2003). Events are regarded to be a farfetched way of getting an organization’s potential customers and at the same time as an avenue through which the company aligns itself. The event amphitheater denotes the place where the customers get to be emotionally implicated with the company’s product. A place, where the customers are in a position pick up the product and feel it then meet the company’s agents and talk in detail about how their (the customers) needs can be satisfactorily met. Event marketing comprises of an expansive range of activities stretching from trade shows, exhibitions, themed and created events, corporate entertainment and publicity stunts. Notably, events are hard times to make sales; rather they are focused on showing the customer that they can get helped by the company through its representatives, the sale then becomes a necessity (Ronallo, 2011).
Besides customers` interaction with the organization during events, they also get to communicate with other potential buyers as well as previous buyers. This, therefore, demands the hosting organization to take care of the event, since all these groups of people will have different stories. As a matter of fact, there are countable events, which could not be utilized for purposes of marketing, since all of them communicate something beneficial to a target audience (The Financial Express, 2003). Some of the marketing functions of the events may provide such functions as building relationships, communications, database compilation, loyalty building, personal selling, brand enhancement and targeting. Thus, it is evident that event marketing is not a mere form of promotion, but a new-fashioned marketing way, which fits well with demands of society in the current century. It actually has the ability of dealing with individuals and small groups to be customized, to gain interactivity, involvement and interest as well as to cut through other brands that an organization is in competition with (The Financial Express, 2003). Moreover, events are most times related to well-intentioned causes and social responsibility and, at the same time, take the targeted audience through their very initial purchasing attention and interest, use and post-experience appraisals to reward and loyalty. This is the reason why event marketing in its practical form is an experimental marketing. Special interest groups are a necessity in event marketing, since these groups are obliged to establish a team of professionals which are like-minded and would wish to raise the level of exposure as well as the academic debate in the arenas of event marketing. Besides, a team has a wish of setting a research agenda, and at the same time, establishing a collegiate network and potential partners for research purposes (The Financial Express, 2003).
Among the most traditional and well attended event marketing forums are the university-based signature events. These signature events are organized in almost all the universities of the United States. It is worth noting that, besides being organized by students in the respect universities, the signature events are obliged to attract or at least have the potential of attracting over a thousand student participants (Emory University, 2006). These programs aimed at enhancing social and community engagement and exposure, while at the same time broadening the states’ experiences for all the students. Additionally, the students’ masters bestowed with the responsibility of organizing such events are under obligation to take part in event planning training that is co-jointly coordinated. Notable different universities in the United States of America have different signature events. For example, University Housing uses a variety of activities of a yearly basis as an amplifier of its students’ on-campus experience. These activities include such as Songfest, Freshmen Semi-Formal, Hall Decorating Contest, Last Lecture Series, RHA Fall Fiesta, Superbowl Party, Crystal Apple Teaching Awards and Crime Prevention. Some of these activities can be briefly described as under activities. Songfest- usually held every first Friday following the commencement of classes which is known as a knockdown and drag-out competition between the freshman residence halls (Emory University, 2006). The sophomore supervisor of each individual hall teaches the respective hall a song and after many practice hours, the students do perform the same before a panel of judges. This panel is usually made up of individuals representing Emory students, staff and faculty. Notably, all students are supposed to wear their hall t-shirts. The winner in this event earns bragging rights lasting up to the end of their studies or even beyond. On the other hand, the Hall Decorating Contest takes place at the beginning of the year, where Residence Life Staff are the participants (Emory University, 2006). This contest normally takes place the Friday prior the commencement of student orientation. In this contest, each and every Residence Hall Staff makes an invention of a theme for their hall and at the same time, each floor is decorated with the chosen in-mind theme. The staff makes use of creativity, aesthetic appeal and originality in decorating their respective halls for both their residents as well as for their families. It is these beautiful exhibitions in every building which welcome the students. They make the students feel relieved and hopeful of winning before the judges. Judgments are passed based on the decorations of the halls. However, it is worth noting that there are various categories of the competition; some of which include the best welcome banner, individual floor, overall residence and the best theme throughout the building (Emory University, 2006).
The market benefits which events - including signature events - present are absolutely great. For instance, event marketing is not unidirectional process or activity; it initiates a dialogue, which is a two-way conversation. It can be taken to be the most perfect way of starting communication. Moreover, event marketing is a personal connection, which builds and strengthens trust. Meeting face-to-face with an organization’s agent, brand and message on display around, an individual avails a better understanding of what that company is offering. For the company, it gets to access an audience that is considerably receptive, especially through the road shows and such like events (Rinallo, 2011). The company also gets to learn about some of its industry’s emerging trends. Through event marketing, immediate fulfillment of prospect queries is realized since the staff avails answers to the questions of the customers of the company, provide them with relevant information as well as deliver catalogs to them. For the clients who have created interest, there is no need to wait for a returned call, a sales person to schedule a future meeting or for shipment of a sample for the process to kick off. As thus, it is clear that there is an establishment and/or reinforcement of the company’s brand awareness and the prominence of the industry.