Event Marketing Under the Influence: the London Wine Fair

What do you get when you cross a group of digital marketers with an endless supply of wine? This blog, apparently.
On the 22nd May, the Netleadz team descended upon London Olympia for this year’s London Wine Fair. Our visit was purely for research purposes… obviously.
We explored how brands in the drinks industry marketed themselves on social media for a B2B trade event of this magnitude. We also wanted to see what creative measures were taken to stand out from the crowd in both the physical and online space. Naturally, it would be rude of us not to sample a little vino on the way. Here, we delve into how a brand can maximise outcome from tradeshows through effective events marketing.

Hakuna Moscato – Effective Planning

Usually, plying people with alcohol at an industry event is a great way of making a positive impression. Unfortunately, this isn’t enough to really put your stamp on an event. The very purpose of the London Wine Fair was for potential buyers and industry experts to sample each company’s products. No matter how great the wine was, it wasn’t enough to stand out from the sheer number of competitors.

This applies to pretty much all of digital marketing. The quality of a product isn’t enough to ensure successful growth in a crowded sector. Brands need to do more, engage more and show genuine personality.

The first thing to do is understand your objective. Are you looking for potential partners, affiliates, sales or brand exposure? Once you know what you’re trying to achieve, you can draft a promotion plan which will get you this. Your promotion plan should include a content and social schedule which is specifically tailored for the event. This will include pre, during and post promotion activities to maximise outcome.

Let’s explain this step by step using the brands we met at the London Wine Fair as an example.

Netleadz Event Marketing at the London Wine Fair

Everything Happens for a Riesling - A Lesson in Digital Marketing from the London Wine Fair

So, let’s give you the lowdown on how to make a real impact with pre, during and post promotion.

You Had Me At Merlot - Pre-Stage Promotion Activities

So, you’ve decided to exhibit (or even visit) an event like the London Wine Fair. Now’s the time to start working.

In a case study by Deloitte & Touche, their pre-show marketing activities boosted the quality of audience attracted to their stall by 46%. The number of visitors converted to qualified leads increased by 50%.

The first thing you must do is research the event. See who is exhibiting and earmark any potential partners, affiliates or businesses you’d like to talk to. If you’re attending for purely business development purposes, it may be worthwhile sending a few outreach emails and booking a time slot where you can talk to key attendees.

If you’re exhibiting, you really should be creating a piece of content for the event. Do a little keyword research and see whether there are any relevant opportunities you could rank for – event guides, competitions or unique discounts can offer a real boost to your pre-stage activities. If you don’t see an opportunity to rank, it’s not the end of the world. Unique event specific content can be seeded into your social engagements.

All social communications should point to your content. Be sure to include numerous internal links and call to actions with a clear path to conversion.

Hint: Be aware that any event based content will not add evergreen value to your brand. The earlier you create this content, the more value it’s likely to deliver. Don’t forget to optimise your content for maximum exposure!

Netleadz London Wine Fair Tweet

Social media will play a huge role in your promotion activities before an event. This is all about building anticipation and social outreach. Don’t just share posts about your involvement at the event – be social! Speak to different exhibitors and engage in conversations.

If you’re using an event for business development purposes, outreaching to brands on social media will ensure you won’t be ‘going in cold’. Use this time to introduce yourself ahead of time and avoid any awkward small talk. Don’t wait for people to talk to you, make an effort to engage first.

During your pre-stage promotion activities, the relevant event hashtags are likely to be less crowded. This means you’ll have more chance of being seen by a highly relevant audience. Think about the image you’re portraying online. If you’re one of the top contributors to an events hashtag, you’ll be seen as an authoritative figure.

Hint: Build Twitter lists of key businesses and influencers who are attending the event. This will give you a mini feed of relevant accounts to help your social engagement activities.

If you’re just visiting the trade show, you may not see the value of creating content for the event. If this is the case, you could use existing relevant evergreen content in your social sharing. This is what we did for Eatapas prior to the London Wine Fair. There would be little value in creating specific content for the event beforehand, so we shared the brand’s food and wine pairings article. This piece is both relevant and interesting to the LWF audience.

So, how did the brands at the London Wine Fair go about promoting their attendance?

A special mention goes to Vermouth Padró & Co and Backsberg for their enticing pre event tweets:

Backsberg London Wine Fair Tweet

Others, like freelance wine expert Matt Wills, opted for a more socially interactive approach:

Matt Wills London Wine Fair Tweet

Chardonnay or Should I Go? Promotion Activities for During the Event

Of course your attention should be focused on making the most of the event while you’re there, though this isn’t necessarily enough in its own right. At an event like the London Wine Fair, attendees visit so many exhibitors that it’s easy to miss you (or worse, forget who you are altogether). You need to do everything possible to attract people.

If you’re active on social media during the event, you’ll be seen as a must-see exhibitor. Attendees will seek you out to talk about your business. Don’t overlook the importance of a personal touch. Share images of your team and stand, this will make you appear approachable and open to discussions.

Hint: There will be plenty of people who can’t attend the event but still follow the hashtag. Seeding content for this audience can be a secret weapon in your arsenal. Just because a user couldn’t make the event, it doesn’t mean they have to miss out. If the hashtag is trending, the sheer volume of visitors to the feed can have a major impact on your brand perception. Give non-attending users a reason to follow and engage with you.

If you have a paid media budget, consider sponsoring a post to guarantee you show up on the even hashtag (or for specific keywords). You can also target who sees the post too, this will help you get your brand in front of the people you need to notice you.

Prosecco Earth London Wine Fair Tweet

So, you know how to stand out on social media, but how can you make an impact at the show itself?

Due to the very nature of a trade show, you’re likely to see a high number of competitors. This means you need to stand above the noise. Think creatively, the more unique and interesting your stall, the more likely people will gravitate towards it.

Beverage Trade Network London Wine Fair Tweet

There are plenty of exciting examples of this from the London Wine Fair. Here are some of our favourites.

i heart Wines

For us, i heart Wines’ stall was the most enticing and creative. The brand showed off their selections of tasty wines from a converted open-top camper van painted with the brand’s signature heart graphics. It was impossible not to find yourself caught in the throngs of visitors wanting to taste their ‘fun-loving, accessible wines.

i heart wines London Wine Fair Tweet

19 Crimes Wine

If you’ve ever spoken to anyone from Netleadz before, you know we’re fiends for new tech. When we heard 19 Crimes were showing off their augmented reality wines at the London Wine Fair, we had to pay them a visit.

The company believe that every bottle of wine tells a story, so they brought this to life through tech. Featured on the wine bottles are images of real men from history. These are criminals sent to Australia for the 19 crimes ‘punishable by transportation’.

After downloading the Living Wine Labels app, you can scan the bottle to bring the label to life. The video below depicts the story of a poet who lived in squalor before successfully managing to escape.

Que Syrah Syrah! Post-Stage Promotion Activities

The event may be over but that doesn’t mean you can forget about it just yet. Before our hangovers had subsided, we were already drafting up our post-promotion content.

Now is the time to follow up on the leads you gained from the event. Social sharing is important but now it’s about getting down to business. You should have a wad of business cards sitting on your desk just waiting for an email.

Sweep up all accounts who have used the hashtag, follow, engage and add them to relevant lists. Find the highest engagers and make sure you’ve spoken to them – if you haven’t, now’s your time to follow and engage.

Invest some time in creating post-event content and use this to reach out to your new contacts. Offer something of value to their brand and open the floodgates for discussions. Your post-event promotions shouldn’t be over until every email, business card or conversation is followed up on. This stage is all about developing relationships with the influencers, businesses and potential partners you met.

Don’t forget to distribute this content on social media too, use the relevant event hashtags to get in front of anyone still lingering on the feed. Use paid media promotion to get this content on the newsfeeds of your target audience.

Paid Media for the London Wine Fair

What’s All the Wine-ing About?

Event marketing is hugely important to any brand exhibiting or attending a tradeshow. A day out of the office at the London Wine Fair may sound fun but it should offer value too. If you don’t market your attendance properly, you’ve missed an array of potential business opportunities.

At Netleadz, we know what it takes to make a difference in the event marketing space. Whether tradeshows are an annual event for your company or a key revenue earner, there’s a knack to standing out from the crowd. We offer the full range of digital marketing services, including search, social, content and reputation marketing. Find out how we can help your brand here.

Netleadz Team at the London Wine Fair - Event Marketing

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