Rethinking the Events Budget: How UGC is the Most Effective Tool for Audience Engagement and Growth

TL;DR Reconsider traditional events spending; create a buzz that increases brand awareness and introduces people to your brand by getting people to share about you online; engage hundreds, even thousands, of ambassadors to walk the metaverse promoting your brand!

User generated content (UGC) is the next evolution of digital marketing. And as with any new concept, marketing has to answer these questions: What is the goal? What outcome can be expected? And where is the budget for this? 

Consider the purpose of most marketing strategies, including traditional in-person events: brand awareness and product discovery. In-person interaction is invaluable, especially at high-attendance events that bring together like-minded people. With the amount of time people are spending on digital combined with the changes to in-person events, brands need to consider augmenting in-person efforts or even replacing them with digital methods to achieve the same goals.

Compared to other marketing strategies, UGC has similar goals to events – get in front of the largest audience possible to build greater awareness and engage new audiences. What happens when marketing combines the two and uses this budget for UGC?

Let’s Set the Stage…

Historically, sponsoring high-impact events has been one of the most efficient ways to make a big impact with a large audience. From building an experience at SXSW to sponsoring the main stage at Coachella, events are always part of the marketing budget. 

If we break down the various pieces of events – a pop-up shop at a conference or landing the main stage sponsorship – the goal is the same: engage as many people as possible in a short amount of time. Sponsorship expectations tend to be tangibles from banners or various logo placement to attracting people to a branded experience or getting swag in hands. All feed short-term goals, or worse yet, get bucketed into elusive ‘brand awareness’ expenses with no way to measure ROI.

But what if we started to think about brand awareness differently – in a way that can be measured and grown? The attentive audience has gone digital and marketing needs to shift budget and strategy to reflect this change. 

In-person Goes Digital

What if, instead of the usual event expenditures, we considered how much greater the impact if in attendance were hundreds of your fans and customers walking around talking about your product. What kind of impact could this have on event ROI? People absorb word-of-mouth recommendations 5x more than any advertisement or logo placement. And they trust their friends immensely more than traditional ads. Seeing like-minded people with a product, apparel, or food item, especially over and over again, is the most effective way to attract new audiences. This is what’s happening on social platforms every day. This is UGC.

So, unless you can get this kind of guerilla marketing crowd to take over the event, let’s shift the thinking of those budget dollars…imagine the high-impact event in digital marketing terms. Instead of tangible banners and logo placement, you now have digital ads or promoted posts. The pop-up shop or branded stage becomes your Instagram or TikTok page. And just like the event, you’re looking to attract people to your page or experience but don’t want to lose impact when they leave. 

The Traditional Events Strategy is Dead

The traditional events strategy is a well-known playbook that hasn’t changed much in decades – until the past few years when everyone went digital or canceled altogether. This significant change in format had to make even the most traditional marketer take pause and wonder how to have more control. This is why UGC is growing as a new marketing strategy. With UGC programs, marketing keeps ownership of spend and controls who and how to engage the brand’s target persona. The impact is the most effective reach across the widest audience. 

Consider this: instead of launching your product at an event, launch it with your customer base across social media platforms. Through UGC growth programs, you can offer rewards for mentions; discounts, or early product access, to build more interest; or even simply reposting your customer can garner up to 70% more content from them. The goal: grow your brand’s reach exponentially by engaging an authentic audience customers can trust.

All Roads {Can} Lead to Revenue

Investing budget into UGC has a direct impact on revenue. Though brand awareness is still an investment, not an expense, it is still important to understand new ways to measure – and subsequently grow – this revenue-impacting marketing strategy. UGC is the quantitative way to tie brand awareness to revenue. Engaging customers on social media and rewarding them for brand mentions has a direct impact on audience reach. Turn this into product discovery and repeat sales, and marketing has another way to directly correlate strategy to bottom-line impact.

Marketing evolves as people, preferences, and technology evolve. There is no one strategy that is safe from change; which is where marketing thrives. As performance marketing grows, so does the appetite for analytics and tracking. With The LoudCrowd free-trial offering, get an organized view of your brand’s UGC and kick off your revenue-based brand awareness strategy!

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