Advertising in Multi-Day Events

08.27.2019 Dan Glicksman

Why Your Business May Be Overlooking a Golden Opportunity to Reach Your Ideal Customers – and What to Do About it

Events are all around us. In fact, there seems to be an increasing number of new events popping up as time goes on. Whether it’s a convention at an arena, a programming marathon on Television or social media live participation – events are all designed to gather an audience with a common interest together for the purpose to entertain, promote, and connect. 

You might be thinking that your local business doesn’t have anything specific that would align your company with potential customers through themed events, but, chances are, you are very wrong. You may be surprised by the unique advertising opportunities that events offer. I’d like to provide you with a few very specific business examples, as well as some ideas that you could apply no matter what industry you’re in:


Let’s say you own a motorcycle shop, and I presented you with two advertising options to choose from:

  1. There is a month-long event dedicated to local motorcycle enthusiasts and you can reach the majority of attendees six times on average with your business’s message.


  1. You can advertise with a television commercial that plays one time to your entire city during the local broadcast nightly news.

You may be tempted by choice number two with the enticing offer to get your message to a ton of people. Keep in mind, most of that audience may have no desire to ever hop on a motorcycle, but your REACH (defined as the number of people who see your commercial) could be off the charts.

On the other hand, choice number one delivers your message numerous times, to the right audience. You’ve sacrificed a degree of reach, in that you may be extending your message to a smaller amount of people, but you are placing your brand in front of the right audience with substantial advertising FREQUENCY (the rate of how often your message is served to an audience over a specific period of time).

If you thought that was a no-brainer, you’re already on the road to success. But many companies continue to sacrifice reaching out to a sometimes smaller audience of the right people several times so that they can just target… well, really anyone and everyone they can! Do you think the motorcycle shop has a lot of high-income retirees over the age of 80 at the core of their clientele? Probably not. Is that who may be watching the local nightly news? Possibly.


Understanding the balance between reach and frequency is important to the concept of advertising during events. Probably the best analogy I’ve come across was written by Seth Godin in his book “Permission Marketing” where he uses planting seeds to make his point. Godin asks the question – if you have 100 seeds, but only have enough water to water them once, would you plant all the seeds? What do you think your result would be? Probably not very many plants. But what if you only planted 25 seeds and watered each of them four times? The idea of reach and frequency follows the same idea – that repeated exposure to your message, like the seed to water, is critical in cultivating the relationship between you and your potential customer.


To expand on the motorcycle example I previously mentioned, the motorcycle event could have been on Television, like Discovery Channel’s Motor Mega Week, which is a week-long programming event that is widely popular with motorcycle enthusiasts who will also likely tune in on multiple occasions. Placing several television commercials during the event would place your business in front of a very targeted audience with high frequency. 

For all industries, there are a number of themed programming events that go on for days (some even as long as a month) that any business can take advantage of. Programming events like the immensely popular Shark Week on Discovery Channel, Car Week on the History Channel, Fear Fest on AMC, or Freeform’s 31 Days of Christmas offer opportunities to lock in with a dedicated audience and get your message to them repeatedly in a cost-effective manner. Taking advantage of these opportunities can be invaluable to your local business’ advertising budget and your bottom line.

Beyond TV, there are many other ways to reach your intended event-attendee audience. For our motorcycle shop, maybe it was a week-long car/motor show at the local state fairgrounds where you could launch a mobile phone ad campaign targeting people who attended the show.  Or, what if you’re a local French restaurant, a high-end jewelry store, or a Cosmetic surgeon whose optimal customers were individuals with high-income? Maybe a local golf tournament (be it professional or even amateur) taking place over several days could have the right audience attending in-person that you could deliver your message to – even after the event is over!

It may sound difficult for a local business owner to keep up with all the events and happenings, which is why many often default to mass advertising since – at first glance – it seems easier. But the name of the game is partnership. Work with a local advertising partner (like Cox Media) who can combine expertise for all things local, data, and creative approaches to help you reach your audience with as little waste as possible. 

Bottom line, don’t be afraid to choose frequency over reach and take advantage of themed events, whether they’re on TV or in-person. But don’t rely on just yourself to find out when and where they are – a good advertising partner can help inform you and help you plan to get the most bang for your buck. It starts with a partner, includes a calendar, continues with a plan and finally, a great campaign launch and review.


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Dan Glicksman

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