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May 23, 2006

On the road

One of Britain's leading roadshow organisers, Event Marketing Solutions (EMS), has announced  an unprecedented year's trading with revenues up 26% over 2005 and a busy launch programme in full swing.

Commenting on this success, Keith Austin, managing director of EMS, told Events Review:  "Exhibitions are struggling in the face of shrinking marketing budgets. Yet companies are striving to find new ways to reach their core audiences. This has made face-to-face marketing a massive growth area, from pure sampling campaigns through to seven-figure integrated brand experiences. Companies like EMS take brands direct to the audience in a meaningful way."

Jack Kerouac became an icon of the Beat Generation in the 1960s with his stream of consciousness classic On The Road. Now, in an attempt to engage the consciousness of consumers, companies like EMS are embracing Kerouac's traveling philosophy by taking their events to the people in the form of roadshows.

But how should a company go about deciding if a roadshow is right for them? "This largely depends on the company's campaign objectives," explains Austin. "If they want to put their products or brand directly into the hands of their target market, then a roadshow can provide a relatively cost-effective solution. Roadshows are one of the only few marketing disciplines that can take a brand directly to the desired consumers on a face-to-face basis."

And how much should companies expect to pay? "Since EMS's inception in 2000, we have worked on projects with budgets from 15,000 (for pilot roadshow events) to 5 million (for year-on-year campaigns)," recalls Austin. "We can work to any budget within this range, by tailoring a suitable programme, and in most cases, we can offer a full service package."

Planning, preparing, delivering and evaluating a cost-effective and innovative roadshow is a challenging task for any organisation. Austin highlights five essentials to take into account to help ensure your event is a success:

  • Research
    Analyse your objectives and outline the key destinations or specific events you want to take your roadshow to. Make sure your prospective targets will attract the appropriate audience size and demographics to maximise visitor interest and exposure.
  • Effective route planning
    Meandering across the country will drive up fuel and crew costs, so take your key destinations or events, and try to branch out geographically from there.
  • Mileage equals time
    The more you drive the less time you're spending in front of your audience. Plan your schedule so that the places you are visiting are within a day or so's drive time apart.
  • Make time to set-up
    Allowing for adequate set-up time is crucial to the event's success, not only for your vehicle, but for your roadshow crew as well. Leave room for error. Driving can be unpredictable, so never rely on the fact that you will be on time.
  • Peak event days
    The biggest days for events and festivals are Friday through Sunday. Avoid driving during these peak event days as much as possible.
(Next week we'll look at companies that successfully took their shows on the road)

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