The event attracted about 150 attendees, a big success given the way in which it was marketed, Croson said. As a result, PMMI plans to ramp up its outreach to young, first-time attendees going forward.
“It was a little bit risky, but we knew the marketplace was on these social media sites,” Croson said. “Now what we're going to do is expand. We put more of a budget behind it. We're going to go out in a more traditional way, but we're going to continue the social media.”
PMMI had recently created a new position, social media specialist, which helped it significantly in planning the specialized event. Michael Hess, who holds that title, said: “Generally, with social media, it's a big community that's formed out of small niches. There are a handful of dedicated users who are 24-to-30-something. These are young executives and future leaders who are on there constantly. I communicate a lot with them.”
Over time, Croson said, the organization hopes to coalesce each of its packaging niches into a single proprietary social network that can target a younger audience. “Our goal from the get-go wasn't to be a billboard,” he said. “It was designed to be the honest information broker for using these tools, to share with the community that obviously engaged because they took the time to sign up.”
Additionally, Croson said, the staff was surprised by the sheer amount of Twitter activity that happened during the larger Pack Expo event.
“We benefited greatly from [our use of social networks],” he said. “We see it as something that's going to be a long-term part of our overall marketing strategy going forward. One of the biggest surprises was the amount of Twitter activity at our show. I went in a bit skeptical, but we had over 800 tweets at the three-day show. It was a large number. It was interesting to watch the community look out for itself.” M