Marketing Anatomy of A Failed Dance

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I’m not a fan of being negative, however when an event fails you learn from the mistakes made. Better to learn from others than be the one making them. I felt my commentary was worth sharing to help you avoid similar marketing blunders.

Time Line:

January: Decision made to hold formal dance. Facebook created for group. Ask much larger Facebook group in the same niche to join. Over 150 immediately say yes or maybe. Two head organizers picked.
*Mistakes were the lack of other social media. There was no website (even a free one) created, no twitter, no YouTube, and no instagram. A photo and design campaign would have worked wonders. This created a lack of information on what the event was.

February: Head organizers state they have organized other events similar to the formal dance before. The pick a date in winter due to competing niche events.
*Mistakes were confusing organizing an event with creating an event. The amount of work and promotion needed to create an event is far more than running an event that has past marketing. Instead of collaborating with an existing event, organizers choose to avoid the other events.

March: Location and time picked for event. Deposit needed. Organizers begin pressuring interested people to pay a deposit 9 months in advance for a dance.
*Mistakes were location was too far and pressure tactics do not work 9 months in advance. Organizers did not reach out to potential sponsors. In my opinion, initial deposit could have been paid by sponsors. Interested people are left with a bad taste. This is never addressed.

May: Event still happening. Hotel will to accept entire payment later. No marketing of the event outside of the Facebook. Many similar events are happening.
*Mistakes were believing pass success indicates future success and the lack of promotion during events targeting the niche group. Organizers could have gone to similar events and promoted the event using business cards, posters, and postcards. Asking for help is never a bad decision. These other events would have provided information and marketing content for promotion.

June: Similar events have been successful and concluded.
*Mistake was not collaborating with the people who ran the other events. Piggybacking off the success of another event is not something to be ashamed of. Organizers were in the mind set they had to wait for other events to conclude before promoting their event rather than constant promotion. Content and engagement levels were extremely low in Facebook group. Pictures, tutorials, etc are not being posted.

July: 300 people say they are interested in the event on Facebook.
*Mistake was believing Facebook interest means real interest. Facebook is a terrible platform for conversions. At this point, there was little to indicate why someone should go to the event.

August: Little activity or promotion.
*Mistake was being too confident Facebook interest would convert into real interest. At this point a minor “celebrity” in the niche should have been brought in to promote the event. Ideally the minor “celebrity” would have his or her own following. In this particular niche, this is a common collaboration.

September: DJ acquired. Hotel room package acquired.
*Mistake was not focusing on the actual event. Ideally, the DJ should be able to promote the event through his or her social media. Organizers focused on obtaining hotel rooms when it was not clear it was necessary. There was a lot of things going on including a food drive and several best dressed contests.

November: Added another contest. No marketing outside of Facebook group. Interested people still do not understand what the event is.
*Mistake was the lack of marketing resulted in interested people not understanding what the event was. A website would have solve this problem. The Facebook group was not updated regularly, and interested people lost interest.

December: Hotel payment due. 50 people need to pay full ticket by Midnight (1 hour after this blog is posted). 2 people paid so far…. only 48 left.
*Mistake was lack of marketing and engagement. Initially the idea was extremely popular in the niche. At one point over 300 people expressed real interest in attending. This interest was not nurtured and in many cases ignored. Outside of a rarely updated Facebook page, there was little else. No collaboration with other events or organizers in the niche. The end result was a complicated dance with multiple skews the target audience was not interested in: contests, donations, potluck, hotel rooms, etc. The main point is, to use social media for promotion you have to do it regularly. Sporadic updates means unengaged members who will not perform the action item you seek. I was looking forward to this formal dance. Oh well. There is always next year.