Have a 'super' promotion

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The Super Bowl, like other big events such as the Oscars and Emmys, has always been more than just a fun diversion. They all have strong marketing opportunities. B-to-b companies such as, and Fedex recognize this and plunk big dollars into television spots. And in recent years, they’ve started tying those television buys to online and e-mail marketing efforts.

Dave Debbah, director of sales and marketing for e-mail technology and services provider Lyris Technologies, and Mik Shore , a partner in interactive agency Engine Interactive, provided these tips to help marketers—even those who aren’t buying TV—make the most of their own event-based advertising.

  • Leak a little. If you are buying a television spot, build buzz about your ad by sending out a link to a sneak peek to it. “This is a good way to take advantage of the viral nature of e-mail,” Debbah said. “If you’re not running a TV ad or your event isn’t a televised one, you can help inform people about it by ‘leaking’ information about the actual event.” Generally, you should start thinking about and mentioning event-based advertising at least three months prior to the actual date it will occur, he said.

  • Watch what you say. Last month, Lyris wanted to conduct a Super Bowl-themed webinar. However, since the NFL is very careful about its licensing, Debbah had to come up with an alternate plan. “You can still generate interest for your message by tying it to an outside event. You just have to be a little creative,” he said. Using the words ‘Super Sunday’ or ‘The Big Game’ in your message works just as well as using the words ‘Super Bowl’ but will keep you out of trademark court.

  • Use the event name in your subject line—and don’t give up on the connection too soon. You want people to know you’re doing something special, so you should put that information right up front in the subject line. You should also consider your promotion’s longevity. For example, there’s usually quite a bit of Monday morning quarterbacking and coverage that continues after the Super Bowl. Why not take advantage of it for as long as your prospects and clients are interested? Debbah asked.

  • Personalize it. Nothing makes you feel like an anonymous, unloved part of the masses as does a mass e-mail blast that isn’t personalized or customized,” Shore said. “This is especially important when supporting an event since event e-mails are generally a leadup to further communication. Make your e-mail part of the larger personalized campaign, culminating with the event.”

  • Mention your e-mail marketing program in your print, television or banner ads. People do it all the time with traditional ads but forget to include a signup link in event-centered advertising, which may be flashier and more appealing to prospects. “You want to use all of your advertising to push people from one medium to the next,” Debbah said.

  • Remember a call to action. “What is the No. 1 action you want the recipient to perform? RSVP? Download directions or maps? Invite other attendees? Whatever it is, know it and show it prominently,” Shore said.

  • Make it fun. The great thing about event-based marketing is that it generally relates back to something that happens in a person’s home life. That said, there’s nothing wrong with a little levity. Have fun with your promotions. Consider games or quizzes, and don’t rule out simple branding messages that contain little product-centric messaging. “This is the best way to turn ad dollars into a significant amount of buzz and revenue,” Debbah said.

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