Every year for the past 5 years I have attended a medium-sized festival in Keswick, a small-sized town in the Lake District, where England keeps its big-sized mountains and lakes (though admittedly modest-sized by international standards). In this beautiful setting there is great music, fancy-dress fun and a huge range of craft beer. It has a lovely atmosphere and the sun always seems to shine, which is highly irregular for anyone who knows ‘The Lakes’. Yet, this idyllic and in many ways traditional scene is now dominated by digital, and in many ways, it’s all the better for it!
Nothing has been taken away from the festival, the scenery remains amazing, the atmosphere happy and fun and the entertainment, even if I do say so myself is terrific (my band have played there the last 5 years!). What has improved is the following. For a start, people can now buy tickets hassle-free online and if people have to drop out, they can share that on the Festival’s Facebook page and sell their tickets.
Yes, social media marketing has really enabled communities of people and in turn, those communities have really influenced organisations. For some years, the festival organisers seemed to look on, watching what was happening on these fan-inspired and managed Facebook pages, then, when they realised the power of the customer, the ability to better understand what they liked and didn’t about the festival and the ability to speak to them. They got involved. In truth, they got involved very cleverly by working with the fans and page owners rather than trying to take over.
And it works for sponsors too, sponsors now having access to an audience whose interests are pretty clear. Across the main festival website and the fan pages on Facebook, various sponsors can encourage festival goers to find them and ideally register their interest with them; which brings me to the one thing, or perhaps two things that really got me thinking.
The first was the fact that the main sponsor of the event was an outdoor clothing company called Regatta. Their logo has a stylised R in it and on the field next to the main marquee, they’d marked out a huge letter R, the plan being to fill it with people, who will then have their photo taken by a quad-copter camera drone far above. That image will then be used over and over for PR and again, through social, people can tag themselves and again, interact in communities and themes they care about. Simple and smart.
The second and perhaps more poignant moment was when, on entry, everyone got a wristband and a scratch card. I took a coin to mine and 5 seconds later learned I was the winner of a top of the range fleece jacket while my friend was entitled to 20% discount off purchases made! Off we went with a spring in our step to the Regatta tent and there, we found, no fleeces, in fact no products whatsoever; as far as we could tell. However, they said, “fill in this form and we’ll email you with your discount code (for my friend) and we’ll send you one asking what size, colour and style of fleece you’d like then post it to you”. Good old-fashioned data-capture.
The truth is, I was rather looking forward to the quick-hit winning feeling of getting a fleece in my hand but, I had to admire Regatta! They had made an effort, integrated their marketing, worked with other audiences/ communities, worked with the festival organisers, committed their sponsorship spend and, in me, they’d captured a potential customer and my data. And, not because of all of the above which as a marketer I can appreciate, but just because they did the simple things well, I was happy to give it. So I guess it’s over to them, now they have my data, I’m curious to see if they can turn a good start into a great relationship.