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Consumer Research


How events work for marketers

How events work for marketers

FaceTime, the newly launched marketing body for the multi-billion pound live events industry, today announced the findings from the industry’s first-ever psychological study of the power of live.

Using innovative new research techniques, the findings explain how live events work and reveal the unique attributes of going face-to-face with customers as part of a sales and marketing strategy.

The study, undertaken by Cog Research across four major events in Q4 09 and Q1 10 (Masterchef Live, The Boat Show, World Travel Market and BETT), involved British and international brands (including Sainsbury’s, Henri Lloyd, Best Western Hotels and BLI Education) and comprised 1160 pre and post interviews of people attending these events.

It analysed the state of mind of a visitor before and after a live event and the results reveal how attending has a positive uplift in people’s attitudes towards events, and brands exhibiting at events. Using an indirect research technique, the results also reveal how both the conscious mind (explicit) and sub-conscious mind (implicit) are positively affected by events.

The implicit results are particularly interesting as they prove how the multi-sensory experience of an event achieves a very strong emotional engagement with visitors. They reveal a large number of visitors thought that they already had positive attitudes to events and brands before the show, when in fact it was the feelings and memories of attending the show that made them sub-consciously think this.

These results are ultimately great news for businesses as the value of events can be planned into its sales and marketing activity. Key findings include: Live Is Best Form of Marketing: Before a show, 32% of visitors viewed events as the ‘best marketing as you can interact and compare to others’, but this rose dramatically to 74% post-show, including an uplift in positive sub-conscious feelings for one in five people. Live Fuels Sales Uplift:

After experiencing a brand at a trade event, 28% more visitors indicated ‘I would like to buy’ (16% implicitly), with 29% at a consumer event (19% implicitly).

Live Informs Customers In Detail About Purchasing Decisions: Before an event 36% of visitors say attendance ‘makes it easier to decide to buy’, but after an event this doubles to 76%, with one in five visitors showing an implicit/sub-conscious gain.

Meanwhile 50% of visitors expected the event to be the ‘best place to find out new things’, with this rising to 85% after an event. Live Turbo-Powers Brand Engagement For Consumers: After attending an event, almost three times as many people (74% compared to starting point of 27%) thought that events ‘let you be more open minded about what brands offer’.

There was a strong implicit gain of 23% on this statement. Interestingly, there was a one in five subconscious gain in people stating that brands at a show were ‘one I aspire to’ after attending and a third of visitors went on to believe a brand is ‘the best-known brand in its field’ after attending an event Live Builds And Strengthens Relationships with Corporate Customers.

An additional 37% of visitors to a trade event believed ‘experiencing a business first-hand makes it more memorable’, with one in five believing this implicitly post-event. Live Breeds Knowledge, Insight and Contacts: 37% of visitors believed a trade event would be the ‘best way to meet new contacts’, rising to 71% post-event.

Likewise, from an opening 38% of visitors believing they will ‘find out new things’, that number was more doubled to 80% post-event. Live Competes Hard Against TV: One in three people experience an uplift in positive attitudes after attending an event, versus only one in four people after watching a standard 30 second TV advert.

Austen Hawkins, CEO, FaceTime, said, “This research authenticates what we have always known and believed to be the multi-faceted power of live events. In these digital times, our research reinforces the power and relevance of a business going face-to-face with its customers, in whatever sectors you may operate in. This research provides all businesses a robust framework of how they can use live to drive sales, engage with customers and build brand loyalty.”

Hawkins added: “We’ve always known that going to have a cup of tea with Grandma is much better all-round than just giving her ring on the phone, pinging a text or dropping her an email. The exact same principle applies to any relationship between a business and its customer. Getting face-to-face will get you the best return.”

The research findings come as media agencies increasingly recognise the power of the live event. Jayne Stephens, Sponsorship Director at Starcom MediaVest Group, said,"The power of face to face engagement cannot be underestimated. This research reinforces our belief that experiential solutions should not be silo-ed as a stand-alone communication channel, but instead form an integral and valuable delivery component within a brand's broader communication plan. “

As such, face to face "live" contact needs to be considered alongside digital and all other above the line media routes to ensure all communication components are working together to deliver a brand's objectives." Ends FaceTime Research Methodology: A sample of 1,000 people represented visitors to four live events – two consumer, two trade.

They were researched pre and post the event to be able to quantify any shift in positive attitudes towards the event and a selection of exhibitors. The research was conducted online. Cog used an Implicit/Explicit Persuasion Test, which involved a series of three questionnaires each asking the person to respond to the same set of measures expressing ideas and feelings people might associate with the event.

Each questionnaire used a different expression of each idea or feeling, and the three versions were rotated across the survey.

Implicit refers to subconscious memories, explicit refers to those ideas and feelings a person can consciously recall being encouraged to think and feel. There must be at least eight hours between the pre and post research so the brain can store long-term subconscious memories.

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