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To examine the current role of e-marketing within the event

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on 7 April 2014

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Transcript of To examine the current role of e-marketing within the event

1. Introduction
2. Current role of e-marketing
3. Digital marketing within events
4. Case study: Manchester’s Literature Festival.
5. Background on MLF and their digital marketing campaign objectives
6. MLF digital marketing campaign
7. MLF Digital marketing activity
8. Social media
9. Twitter
10. Facebook
11. Disadvantages of Social Media
12. Website
13. Blogging
14. Future 2014 for the MLF
14. Summary

Contents page
Internet marketing describes the process of developing, displaying, presenting or promoting a product, service, cause or event by the intended organisation. It’s the application of the internet and related digital technologies that organisations choose to achieve marketing objectives (Chaffrey et al, 2009). The promotion of these activities can be completed online and offline, and most recently the event industries have begun to realise how important the use of strategic digital marketing is (Chaston, 2000).

The interconnectivity that online marketing provides organisations is a global operation, estimating that we should expect to see six connected devices to every one person online by 2020 (UN report, 2011). This highlights the importance for organisations to understand how to successfully exploit the digital marketing tools and techniques to improve their customer value proposition and overall competitiveness (Rowe, 2014). The use of a wide range of inter-related procedures to drive online engagement and participants is key to ensure the business is successful within society and does not get left behind (R. Macdonald, 2013).

This report will discuss the benefits, weaknesses, impacts and future pathways for organisations optimising there online marketing techniques using social media platforms. In particularly, one case study will focus on the successful implementation of the use of digital marketing techniques at Manchester’s Literature festival (MLF) and how they plan to develop further. 72% of all internet users are active on a social media site (J. Bullas, 2014). This statistic highlights how large the social web demographic percentage is, and how these online users are all potential target markets for organisations. Application to the event industry shows how useful social media platforms are to event organisers, especially when there is a direct correlation between the amount and average age of social media users and the age group who attend the most events. 18-29 have an 89% usage of facebook, twitter, blogs and websites. (J.Bullas, 2014)

Using MLF case study the report will describe the digital marketing campaign the festival undertook during 2012-2013. Realising that if they spent more time, money and personnel on the development of their online marketing techniques, specifically their social media uses, the festival would be able to engage more customers and grow as a festival. Kate Feld, the digital engagement co-ordinator at Manchester’s Literature Festival described the underlying digital marketing techniques used throughout the two years and how successful they were.

Businesses are evidently using social media more and more. Noticing the marketing opportunities presented through Twitter, Facebook, blogs and websites. The statistics in the figure highlight this.
In May 2013 the University of South Wales hosted a joint event from the Chartered Management Institute and the Chartered Institute of Marketing at its Newport City Campus, which looked at the opportunities and challenges of the changing digital landscape. Presentations at the event focused on the increasingly interactive nature of digital marketing, and how rapidly the industry will continue to change, claiming that although people say 2013 is the year that ‘digital marketing’ will become simply marketing, he believes that this has already started to happen (University of South Wales, 2013)

Every internet user is a communicator, creating and delivering information to each other, purposefully or not. This includes identity (name and address), information about the person, about his or her previous online behaviour and information about recent purchases (C. Molenaar, 2012).

Companies who use the information effectively can adapt their marketing strategy around new developments or recent studies to make sure they are reaching their target markets in the best possible way. A necessary starting point for achieving successful e-marketing is a creation of a clearly defined strategic process that links the objectives of e-marketing through to the marketing communications and design tactics intended to achieve these objectives (Chaston, 2000).
To examine the current role of e-marketing within the event industry, specifically looking at the social media techniques used and the impacts they present.
The current role of e-marketing
Figure 1 – Paul Smith (1999) Generic Framework for e-Marketing
The figure developed by Paul Smith (1999) is a generic framework for e-marketing planning that summarizes the different stages that should be involved in a marketing strategy.
If we define strategy as “a plan of action designed to achieve a particular
outcome”, then the desired outcome from a digital marketing strategy point of view would be aligned with your organisation’s overall business objectives. (R. Stokes, 1998)

This is to ensure that both marketing and digital marketing strategies reflect the same objectives as the company’s overall business objectives. The e-marketing plan helps define specific objectives and strategies to ensure the resources are deployed to take advantage of the marketing opportunities provided by the internet. (Chaffrey et al, 2003)

These marketing opportunities are considerably present through Twitter, Facebook, blogs and websites shown through the statistics in the next slide.

The event industry is unique in many ways and as a result there are important challenges and opportunity’s for both the marketing of events and the use of events as communication tools.
The recommendation is integrated communication strategies be designed to meet marketing objectives with communicating with a range of target audiences, and that this is best achieved through the use of digital marketing techniques, more specifically through social media platforms. (G. Masterman & E. H. Wood, 2011)

There is an important requirement for events in this digital age to use social platforms and to know how to leverage them strategically. Knowing how to effectively integrate and incorporate digital interaction in face-to-face gatherings as well as part of their on-going campaigns will result in success for any event. (C.A Preston, 2012)Marketing has developed from the traditional offline promotional activities and techniques and Manchester’s Literature festival highlights the development perfectly.
Digital marketing within events
figure 2: www.jeffbullas.com/22socialmediafactsyoushouldknowin2014
Case study: Manchester's Literature festival

Manchester’s Literature festival (MLF) is the city’s largest event and takes place every October 7th -20th since 2006. It consists of 80 events across various venues around the city and was developed from its successful predecessor, Manchester’s Poetry festival. The main objectives of the festivals are;

The main objectives for Manchester’s Literature Festival’s digital marketing campaign;
o Engage our loyal audience more meaningfully

o Expand our audience in new areas with the help of more social media activity

o Spread digital marketing resources across the calendar – start promoting events earlier, with more effort to link to ticket sales

o Update our website to improve user experience and create an online home for the festival that better fits our current needs.

The use of social media
Marketer's now have a much greater understanding of how social media can add significant value to their campaigns in terms of event awareness, audience generation, community development and pure buzz of interest. (S, Dann & S, Dann, 2011)

Optimizing the organisations use of the social media platform is proving to be one of the biggest roles within e-marketing as more people are interacting online prior, during and after the event. When the organisation objectives are clear, the primary social media objectives should be used to support the main goals alongside flexibility and improvisation. (D, Zarella, 2008)

Showing social media is an example of the change from a supply-driven to a demand-driven approach, involving a change from focusing on unidentified customers to a focus on identified and known customers. (C. Molenaar, 2012)

Twitter evidently became the main area of achievement for Manchester’s Literature Festival, as the benefits it’s succeeded were huge. @McrLitFest has currently 6,265 followers, growing from the recorded amount of 3,051 in 2012 just after the festival was held.

In 2013 there was a 87% rise of followers, highlighting the rapid speed of popularity in which twitter can gain an organisation or event. Greater investment of staff also contributed to the success as they found more time and attention spent on the social media site, customer interaction and engagement was happening. The digital marketing efforts using Twitter has been effective as the current 2014 amount of Twitter followers is 6,251.

The amount of relevant stakeholders and sponsors meant the digital marketing campaign benefited from their strong support. This was done through funding, a larger pool of similar target market could be reached and their promotional activity.

This cross promotional activity occurring meant that not only MLF were benefiting, but also other similar events were being promoted via the MFL website, blog and social media platforms. Manchester’s creative art community would benefit alongside the success of the festival.

The use of the e-newsletter proved greatly valuable as it resulted in the online presentation about the upcoming events or festival, as well as the stakeholders events would be presented online in an accessible e-newsletter.

In 2012, 3,943 people subscribed online and that number grew with a 12% increase of 4,916 subscriptions in 2013. 14 themed newsletters were sent out during 2013 leading up to the event in October.

Figure 3 – Manchester’s Literature Festival Twitter Homepage (2014)
‘The site has become a digital backchannel where both audience and MFL can sharing excitement, about and responses to our event’ – K.Feld, 2013 Digital Co-ordinator.

The site tweets information on up and coming events, how and where to get tickets, retweets and shares positive feedback from attendee’s, interactions with stakeholders and sponsors and posts pictures of the events being held and promotional material like posters and flyers.

The wider use of the hashtag has meant that queries about ticketing, events and the venues are being responded too instantly. It has also meant word about cancelled events, ticket availability and spur of the moment information can be posted, and followers can be notified.

Figure 5 – Manchester’s Literature Festival facebook homepage (2014)
The engagement noticeably improved during the events especially with the use of people tagging themselves and friends at the various different venues and events, liking and reposting statuses.

The approach to writing updates on the page has changed. Content is focussed more on sharing promotional material such as links to engage the audience. Recently ‘liking’ like-minded organisations has proven beneficial as it can be used a cross promotional tool so both pages can easily see and share updates. They also have the similar target audience interest, where related posts will show up on homepages.

Many businesses fail to establish a connection between formulated business plans and their social media strategy, as it should be integrated as a whole.

Defining a strategy from the start with a clear amount of instruction and resources plays a key role for the organisations success. (S, Dann & S, Dann, 2011 pp347) Evidently MLF has outlined a successful approach to their social media strategy. They are bridging the communication between consumers and stakeholders offering a platform of online interaction, promotion and company position.

The dis-advantages of social media
Social media is all about online interaction with your target audience. To get the maximised benefits, the company must proactively participate in the interaction with its audience (P. Sharma, 2013) This means tweeting back, posting replies to questions and responding to queries quickly which can propose some disadvantages. The three main areas of concern are how time consuming the process can be, risk of negative comments and threat of hacking.

The direct use of interaction on sites like Twitter and Facebook requires the organisation to have personnel on board at all times in order to keep the interaction flowing. Making sure everyone who contacts the social media sites are replied too within a timely fashion is extremely important. The reputation of the organisation and the audiences' happiness is at stake, therefore interaction is a timely but necessary process for success. (R. Macdonald, 2013).

Secondly the risk of negative comments is as equal as positive ones on social media sites, as people can get direct access to anyone's posts or tweets. If these negative posts are viewed, they can have negative impacts for new or returning customers. (P. Sharma, 2013). Although you can reduce the amount of negative comments being posted by responding quickly, it cannot stop it happening altogether.

Thirdly, the threat of hacking can prove to be huge problem for companies as its impacts have the potential to be severe.

Recently, following a false tweet from the twitter account of The Associated Press, accepted their account had been hacked. The tweet read 'Breaking: Two explosions in The White House and Barack Obama is injured'. The hacking of a re-nowned company indicates that any company could be hacked, relying wrong information and having negative impacts.
figure 6: on www.bbc.uk/world/news-usa-canada-21508660
The website should reflect the objectives of the business, using communication to build a direct relationship with customers. (Berthon, P.,Pitt, L & Watson, R.T. 1996) The MLF website was launched and developed by PagePlay in 2012. Its purpose was to make purchasing online tickets easier and offer contact information about the dates, times, who was there and new blog updates. In 2013 78,273 people visited Manchester’s Literature Festival website in 2013, showing a 17% increase from the previous year with a total of 65,273 in 2012 (K. Feld, 2014).
Figure 6 – Manchester’s Literature Festival Website (2014)
Results showed people were spending more time on each visit and were viewing more pages for a longer period of time since the 2013 festival.

This meant the festivals online engagement with customers is evidently expanding and reaching more and more people through the use of their website. It also meant record numbers of attendee’s could be tracked and evaluated, according to how popular each event or site was.

Event listings and brochures downloaded pages could be assessed on how many people were downloading what type of document. Popular events were selling out online much quicker than paper tickets sold in local shops or box offices as online ticketing proves to be a much quicker way of selling.

Blogging fits neatly into entertainment, sales, behavioural changes and information dis-semination objectives with a business orientation. (S. Dann & S. Dann, 2011) Blogging for Manchester’s Literature Festival has been marked the new approach for 2013. Giving itself a new blog identity called ‘Chapter & Verse’.

Its purpose was to make it an ‘all round destination’ for all good content about the up and coming literature activity happening in the area so there was one place where all the information would be stored.
In the past, the blog focussed on commissioned and edited audience reviews about the event written by volunteers.

The strategy changed in 2013, as the amount volunteer bloggers were reduced to free up enough time for creative blog content to be uploaded. ‘Meet the Team’ blog topics were being uploaded prior to the event, concentrating less on review style writing. This reflected well on the social media sites as content could be shared and posted through Facebook and Twitter.

The effective use of digital marketing tools and techniques has reflected positively on Manchester’s Literature Festival in many ways. In 2012 since the campaign started the positive outcomes were;

• Audience numbers rose 20%, including 48% of the total 38 events were sell outs. This highlights the rising popularity and development of the festival.

• Average attendances at each of the events were 79% it’s capacity meaning each venue…

• Overall it expanded its 2013 audience by 59% of first time attendees

• 23% of the audience had not previously attended any other literature event in the past 12 months. Showing how successful the promotional activity is as it’s reaching new people who are not the immediate target market.

An audience satisfaction survey in 2013 after the festival was taken by the digital engagement co-ordinator of MLF. Its evaluation of the audience showed 98% rated the overall experience of the festival either good (19%) of very good (79%).

Digital marketing outcomes
Future digital marketing plans for Manchester’s Literature Festival are being undertaken in time for the 2014 festival in October.

• Tracking and overall performance is scheduled to improve the Chapter & Verse blog as it moves to a WordPress site fully integrated within the MFL website.

• This will be better suited to the blog being in a content management system has before it has limited functionality as people could not comment or share posts.

• Joining the website and blog together will increase the amount of people engaging with both sights, and MFL will be able to track how many people are going on each site, how long their spending on it and if they return.

• This knowledge will benefit the staff as the results will help make decisions about how and where to allocate staff.

• Decisions have been made to retain more staff to create a bigger blogging team, involving guest bloggers of authors and publishers.

o Activity engaging the audience by publishing interviews with festival-goers and stakeholders in a new series called ‘My Festival’. In order to make the blog more of a social and personal touch.

• Producing short films and audio segments to promote the festival for publication.

Future plans for 2014
Cathy Bolton, Director of Manchester Literature Festival described the digital marketing campaign and its success. “Our increasing investment in digital marketing is really starting to reap benefits, enabling us to reach new audiences and engage more effectively with our loyal supporters.

Using social media to deepen our conversations with literature lovers informs all aspects of the festival, from programming and production values to marketing and box office, helping us to make the best use of our limited resources.”

The role and effective use of digital marketing within the event industry is becoming more apparent as the online environment gets more and more competitive as companies try to survive in the digital era (R. Macdonald, 2013).

In conclusion the use of social media has proven to be the most successful element to the digital marketing campaign, as it offers tools to attract a larger more diverse audience that’s more engaged and responsive. One of the key aspects of social media is the way it crosses channel boundaries.

Customer service is the reason why most companies first enter the social space,to see who’s complaining about their brand and to do something about it (M. Nutley, 2010) . MLF as a case study now have the control on how their festival is being presented, talked about and promoted on the different social media platforms.

Summary - Conclusion
Chaston, 2000 ‘E-marketing strategy’ Mcgraw Hill.

C.A Preston, 2012 'Event marketing: How to successfully promote events, festivals, conventions and expositions.' pp6-7 John Wiley & Sons. The Wiley event management series.

Chaffrey et al, 2009 ‘ Internet Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice’, Pearson Education.

Cor Molenaar, 2012 ‘e-Marketing – Applications of information technology and the internet within markerting’ pp221-222 Routledge , New York

D. Zarella , ‘the social media marketing book’ "O'Reilly Media, Inc.", 13 Nov 2009 - Computers - 244 page online e-book

G.Masterman & E.H. Wood, 2011 'Innovative marketing communications' pp26-27 Routledge, Butterworth Heinemann,Oxford.

J, Bullas, 2014 '22 social media facts you should know in 2014' The search journal engine -

K.Feld, 2014 ‘Manchester Literature Festival’s 2013 Digital Marketing Campaign’ Online Case Study, Arts Marketing Association, Culture Hive

M. Nutley, (2010) ‘Social Media is changing everything’ Marketing week, 25 November.

P, Sharma, 2013 'Disadvantages to social media marketing' online blog. accessed 23/03/14

R.Macdonald, 2013 'The new age of marketing: how social media has changed the marketing landscape.' GrinVerlag

R. Stokes, 1998 ‘e-Marketing – The essential guide to marketing’ fourth
edition http://resources.quirk.biz/ebookv4/Think/Part1_Chapter1_Digital_Marketing_Strategy.pdf

S. Dann & S. Dann, 2011 ‘e-Marketing – theory and application’ pp365-6 Palgrave Macmillan, New York

T. Rowe, 2014 ‘Introduction into Digital marketing’ The Chartered Institute of Marketing, London.

University of South Wales, 2013 ‘Digital marketing event examines industry trends and changes’ published may 10th 2013

Reference List
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