Are pop-up promotional events the industry all rounder?

Promotional event, experiential marketing, PR stunt…whatever you want to call it, more businesses and organisations seem to be opting for these personal interactions as an alternative to traditional marketing. Although often event-centric, they don’t tend to fall into the usual event types (conference, festival, sporting) and instead put the focus on creative and ‘out of the box’ brand interactions.

As Event Managers we always keep an eye on what’s hot in the events world. Some people watch cat videos online, we watch marketing campaigns (I’ve included links to some of our favourites below) and we loved the fact that these events seemed to follow the rule, the crazier the better. One thing that did stand out however, was that it would seem only the Google’s of this world, with multi-million pound budgets, could pull off these ‘stunts’.


So do you need a marketing budget with 6+ zeros and a massive team to successfully execute this type of event? The good news is no. We experience pop up promotions more often than you might realise. Ok they’re often on a smaller scale than the examples above, but if they’re held in the right location and provide the right content, they can still have a big impact.

Last year we organised a comic con and we decided that instead of just telling people about the event, we would give them a live preview. In the run up to the main event we held several promotional events in shopping centres with fun photo opportunities, superheros, rare comic books and even the bat pod. By giving passers by a taster of what they could experience at the actual event we managed to sell the event out in just a few days. We’re a small team but by collaborating with key stakeholders (and thanks to the help of a few enthusiastic cosplayers!) we were able to successfully deliver these fun marketing experiences.

We’re also currently working on a series of pop up promotional events for Age Better in Sheffield. After some research we’ve found an event format that appeals to the target audience and in turn connects them to the organisation. Travelling in our Age better in Sheffield ‘Welcome Wagon’ we park up in locations, where we know the target audience will be and offer them a cupper and a natter, the occasional game of bingo or even a dance class. The budget may not be the same as the big brands, but the formula for a successful marketing event certainly is. Where will we reach as many people from our target audience as possible? How can we communicate what our brand is about? What will capture their attention and get them talking? We might have to get creative to tick these boxes in a cost effective way, but that’s part of the fun of being an Event Planner!

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