Night Time Rainbows and Marketing

Today is the 4th of July, also known as Independence Day. It’s a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the Declaration of Independence of the United States on July 4, 1776 and the fact that the thirteen American colonies were no longer subject to the monarch of Britain. This meant that the United States was now united, free, and had independent states. So it’s our birthday! Celebrate our freedoms and remember the many have sacrificed everything so we could enjoy all the festivities that will abound today and everyday. We have so much to be thankful for!

One of the festivities that many of us look forward to every 4th of July are the fireworks displays. Fireworks have quite the history, you know. So how did they get to be a staple of the 4th of July holiday celebrations? Well, early fireworks can be traced to China, with people roasting bamboo stalks until they began to sizzle and then the air inside the hollow stalk would explode. Thus was born the firecracker. At some point, many centuries later, the Chinese added gunpowder to the bamboo stalks and threw them into a fire pit. Apparently, bits of steel dust were added to make them sparkle and explode, more in-line with the fireworks of today. Today, fireworks are now an integral part of our July 4th tradition and they amaze and delight the young and old.

As I practice my “ooooo’s” and “aaaaah’s” and prepare to be delighted as the sky lights up with beautiful colors creating night time rainbows, I’m pondering … do fireworks and marketing share commonalities? Well, I think so.

Krackle or KABOOM!
As you probably know, you can buy many varieties of fireworks. There are fireworks for every budget and every need. This is very similar to marketing investments for your event or exhibit program. A smaller investment vs. a larger investment still requires a well thought out plan. One may be a more targeted message to certain individuals and one may be a message that blankets the entire convention center. Just like fireworks … sparklers vs. fireworks. Neither is better, but the correct application is critical for success.

Let’s get this one done with. Yep. The duds. The one you light and then you wait for it to go off … but all you hear is the sizzle and a few pops but not much is happening. But you’re kind of afraid to go look at it just in case it does catch fire and go off. Let’s face it, this can be similar to an occasional marketing campaign. Results might get off to a slow start … just ask Pepsi or Nike. We don’t like the duds and a well-planned marketing campaign will include a plan to jump start slow results and turn your marketing efforts around.

Yes, those lovely little handheld mobile devices called sparklers. They are manageable and beautiful and appropriate for certain circumstances. Sometimes you just don’t need the huge, splashy, loud and over-the-top displays. There are times when subtle and tasteful is more appropriate. Knowing the difference and when to use each is key to successful marketing, as well.

Catherine Wheels
So are you familiar with these? Catherine Wheels are those beautiful spinning wheels placed in the ground that shoot off lots of color and neat patterns. Unfortunately, you have to be nearby to actually see the display and enjoy the beauty. So, while they are beautiful, their effectiveness is limited, which makes knowing your audience very important. Just like marketing. Know your audience and use tactics that will resonate and impress them is vital. For instance, having a beautiful exhibit booth without visible branding, is just not effective. It can’t be seen throughout the exhibit hall, just like many in a large crowd if a Catherine Wheel is used.

Crosette Fireworks
These types of fireworks have sub-fireworks. They typically explode with a large bang, then a big flower like burst of color, followed by more loud bangs and smaller bursts. Well, this to me is similar to marketing channels that need to work together but at different times, for different results, for a collective and successful marketing campaign. This is the type of marketing that should be implemented at conventions … multi-channel marketing, just like the Crosette Fireworks!

Mix It Up
Have you ever noticed the difference between fireworks in the backyard and those you might watch on television? The backyard types are fine, but they may not make a statement like those that incorporate music or are shown at different angles or have a story being told while the fantastic explosions of color are taking place. The analogy I would use would be a homemade movie vs. a large scale production. Marketing when coupled with other mediums is the same. For instance, a feature element like a video wall or an interactive game will elevate the experience within the exhibit booth. So don’t be afraid to enhance your marketing messages with other mediums for a successful, integrated message.

Yes, fireworks are fabulous. They leave us awe-inspired and slack-jawed with their amazing bursts of colors that take a variety of shapes and sizes. But knowing how they work is key. If not handled properly fireworks will definitely not have the desired results … just like marketing. And while fireworks can be seriously dangerous in the wrong hands, your marketing efforts deserve the same careful consideration. So be sure to work with a company that understands this.

Remember that marketing and fireworks definitely share similarities. If done right, you’ll get explosive results, something unique, memorable and breathtaking, and in laymen’s terms, a bigger bang for your buck. And a well thought-out convention marketing plan will set your exhibit program ablaze with dazzling creativity and memorable results.

Happy 4th of July, everyone!

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