Large crowd at a convention

Most marketing exists intangibly. Incorporeal invaders of your many screens. Distant rectangles floating above your commute to work. Abrupt aural intrusions to your favorite podcast. So it’s not to be taken lightly when a brand moves from drifting disembodied in that marketing aether to solidly existing in the real world — the world of your audience.

Whether your brand is coming to life through conferences, trade shows, expositions, seminars, pop-up shops, launch parties, celebrations, or any other way, here are three things to remember about in-person marketing.

Double-edged sword

Where commercial breaks might be minor inconveniences to a weekend of binge-watching, most in-person marketing requires you to take up significant space and time in people’s lives. In-person marketing is an incredibly powerful tool for your brand arsenal that if wielded incorrectly can leave a sour taste in the mouths of your audience. And yet, when properly executed, can build credibility and trust better than other forms of marketing.

Many instances of in-person marketing revolve around real people representing your brand in real life. So in order to get the most out of your in-person efforts, it is paramount that those brand representatives are educated and empowered.

An educated representative of your brand will have the answers your audience is seeking. And if they don’t have the answer on hand, they will be able to lead the audience to where the answer lies.

An empowered representative of your brand will have the authority to actually interact with a potential customer or lead beyond basic talking points. Empowered people will be more likely to talk passionately and authentically about your brand.

The bottom line is that you get out what you put in. It’s not a huge secret that a well-made game plan with well-trained staff will net you more success than a half-baked idea with half-assed execution.

People gathered in a room listening to a speaker give a presentation.

Eyes on the prize

But what does success look like in the world of in-person marketing? In-person marketing doesn’t come with the fancy dashboards pulling CPC, CPL, CPA, or any of the other magical metrics we have come to love (though it’s always smart to have someone on site who knows CPR). Because of that, success in this field is a bit more amorphous than in traditional or digital landscapes.

Fret not, number nerds! There is still hard data you can look at. Track how many people stopped by your booth. How many emails you collected. How many pamphlets you handed out.

And remember that in-person marketing gives you face-to-face access to your audience unlike any other form of marketing. You can just ask them. No, really. Instant feedback is a unique and often overlooked aspect of in-person marketing. Because really you’re running a sort of organic focus group. Prompt your audience to respond to your brand and record the basic sentiments you encounter. You might find a surprising trend that will inform your future endeavors.

Something bigger

Yes, in-person marketing is unique. But it’s not singular. It shouldn’t exist outside of your larger campaigns. At the very least, this means your in-person marketing should always, always, ALWAYS look and feel like it belongs to your brand. And while that may be an obvious point to belabor, its importance makes the three “alwayses” necessary.

But that’s just the bare minimum. Really your in-person marketing should be but a cog in a much larger marketing machine. Here’s a simple one for free: Before your event use your social channels for support. Then after your event use captured media for content. Et voilà! You’re already ahead of the game.

Too simple for you? How about this: Sure you’re present at a seminar, but there’s no way you can reach all of these attendees! Unless of course you run a geotargeted ad at the venue and suddenly everyone with a phone knows your brand is there.

In-person marketing isn’t an island. It’s an influential tool that is often overlooked. Do it right, get creative, and you can make the most of it.

If you’re looking for a full-service marketing agency that loves to get creative, we’re always keen to talk.