EMS 2012: Walmart Shares Evolving Strategies - Event Marketer

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EMS 2012: Walmart Shares Evolving Strategies

Mark Henneberger, vp-shows and events at Walmart, educated Event Marketing Summit attendees on how marketers are evolving their show strategy to include pre- and post-show activities that extend the main event. The mega-retailer’s annual shareholders’ meeting, held last year on June 3 at the Bud Walton Arena at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, provided an excellent case study. The star-studded event was hosted by Will Smith and included performances by Alicia Keyes and the Black Eyed Peas, as well as executive briefings to analysts and investors. Agency: TBA Global, Woodland Hills, CA.

The meeting provided ample social media opportunities that enabled folks not in attendance to interact with the Walmart brand. “We wanted to be sure attendees could share pictures and live tweet at events,” Henneberger said. Attendees could share photos, videos and comments on walmartstores.com, on YouTube and Twitter and on the retail giant’s Facebook page, where it has 13 million friends.

Key to keeping the conversation going was channel integration, which included offline promotions such as videos playing in the buses transporting attendees to the event, arena signage, LED lighting and a Twitter feed on arena monitors. Online activities included a live webcast of the meeting and an interactive world map, Twitter feed and photo stream during the event. An event archive on walmartstores.com and click-to-play webcast kept interest going post event.

To extend the impact of the event, Henneberger recommended that marketers establish goals in advance and use a variety of channels, including social media, for communication.

“Above all, be transparent,” Henneberger said. “People figure out very quickly if you’re phony.”

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