1. Be Real for Gen Z
We all know it, Gen Z has become one of the most important target audiences for festivals. Yet, reaching them remains challenging. Gen Z has new and different needs that you should respond to. This generation has grown up entirely in the digital era and is primarily found online. Social media is a crucial communication channel for Gen Z. They are highly visually oriented, so you reach them with short and eye-catching videos. With an attention span of 8 seconds, speed is also a crucial focus point. The rise of fake news makes Gen Z critical and in search of transparency, authenticity, and sincerity. Build trust by sharing behind-the-scenes content and brand stories via WhatsApp and Instagram, as these channels truly rank first with this target audience.
2. Stay Top of Mind
After the whole coronavirus, there was a massive spike in ticket sales. Everything opened up again, and people wanted to do as much as possible, fearing new lockdowns. But things cooled down, and people started seeking other experiences beyond festivals. Now, with a lot of competition, fans are waiting longer to buy tickets. So, it's super important to keep them close, not just before your event, but all year round. Engage and boost brand loyalty. You can use email or social media, and Instagram Messaging is pretty impressive, with an 88% open rate and a 56% click-through rate.
Even cooler is using an event app to create year-round engagement with your fans. Expand your customer journey and build a community around your festival. Share relevant and exclusive content through the app all year, so you stay top-of-mind until the next ticket sale starts. Keep your app users engaged, interact with them, and reward loyalty to see higher conversion rates.
3. Teaming Up With Your Fans
Figuring out your unique offering doesn't have to be a solo endeavor. For festival-goers, meaning and purpose matter more and more. They're not just looking for some music in a tent; they want a festival or sport event that connects and resonates with them. With the rise of the purpose economy, the shift from quantity to quality applies to the festival scene too. The entire economy of meaning makes quality more important than quantity, even in the festival scene. Build a strong bond with your fans and make future events even better by sending out a survey after the event. This way, you discover what they truly want to experience at your (sports) event.
Don't work for your audience; work with them. Make it personal, ask for their input, and collaborate. This gives you inspiration and insight into their desires and needs. Ask, for example, who their favorite artists or players are, what they expect from an event, or why someone wasn't there for the last edition but was there the year before. What do you need to do to welcome fans again this year? Stand out by working together with your fans and offering a festival that is truly in demand.
4. Back to the Drawing Board
To stay effective, it's time to scrap all those existing plans and start fresh. Challenge yourself to see your event with new eyes. No more copy-pasting from the last edition – go back to basics. What are your goals? Who's your audience? What do they want? Design Thinking is how to design impactful events with experiences that truly resonate. From registration, matches and lineups to decor, communication, and follow-ups – make it all click. Find your unique offering to bring more visitors to your festival.
5. Own the Data & Reduce Advertising Costs
Engagement, community, personalization, and segmentation are key to making your (sports) event stand out. Data is crucial – we know that by now. But often, that data comes from third parties like Facebook or Google. Due to increasing privacy concerns, you're getting less information and can't target your marketing as effectively. The solution is transparently collecting your own data in a Customer Data Platform. Use smart tools, communicate openly with your fans, and own your data. Design specific campaigns for each audience segment, have impactful conversations with your fans and boost engagement and conversion. Think from your visitor's perspective and offer valuable communication.
An added perk is that you can mostly cut out advertising costs you spend on third parties. Facebook's costs have increased as more brands compete for ad space, and these advertisements must be more impactful. Rather than shooting in the dark, go for personalized messaging. Own your data and stop pouring money into third-party pits. That's how you take your marketing to the next level.
6. Activate New Revenue Streams
In a world where money can only be spent once, cutting back often follows inflation. Festival ticket costs and on-site food and beverage expenses are rising, so offering a unique and essential event is more crucial than ever. Check out these 11 tips to boost your event's ticket sales. But, it's also time to create new income streams through an event app. Give sponsors more room for brand activation around your event. If you've got a unique brand, you'll attract more sponsors, and some might even buy extra sponsor space in your event app. You can use strong data collected from past editions, like product sales and demographic information, to find fitting sponsors you can easily persuade with data.
7. Sustainability Is a Must
Where sustainability used to be a nice "feel-good" add-on to your event years ago, it's a must these days. The world is literally and figuratively on fire, and the effects of climate change are visible even in the Netherlands. Scarce resources and various challenges affect festivals too. The wishes of Gen Z and the growing importance of the purpose economy make sustainability even more important. Nowadays, 67% of event organizers say they consider sustainability a core part of their project plan. Solutions like cashless payments, digital tickets, and efficient system integration are ways to create a sustainable festival. It saves money and gives your visitors a better feeling.
Are You Ready for the Future?
If you want to stay relevant for five years, now's the time to catch the attention of festival-goers with a standout event. Build your authentic brand identity and stay top-of-mind. Use innovative tools to connect both online and offline experiences. Seize the opportunities of data, and make an impact with mobile marketing and your event app all year round. That's how you build a community in the crowded festival landscape and become the unique showstopper nobody wants to miss.