MarketingHQ Case Study: How MarketingHQ helped attract over 6,000 people to Australia’s first Toy and Game Expo.

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Bringing a new event to life is no easy task.

It often begins with a great idea and then months, if not years, of planning to bring that idea to life.

From a marketing perspective, a new event has its own challenges. There is no history and limited event awareness, a small database and a big challenge to tell people about it and inspire them to buy a ticket to something they have never seen before.

These challenges didn’t phase Charles Bishop and Steve Rohan-Jones.  It’s fair to say they are both a couple of big kids. They had both previously run the Australian Games Expo in Canberra, but wanted to make the event bigger, introduce Toys to the event and bring it to Sydney.  And bring it to Sydney they did on the June long weekend in 2012.

Australia’s first public access Toy and Game Expo was born and MarketingHQ were  the marketing team that helped draw over 6,000 people to the Expo over the long weekend.

Below is a case study of the marketing process and how MarketingHQ helped bring this event to life.

The Brief

Steve and Charles appointed MarketingHQ in September 2011.  The brief was clear: they wanted a marketing plan that would attract people to the event.  At that point they had a name for the event, a logo and a fair idea of the expo’s key features and benefits, but they lacked marketing expertise and needed a marketing plan and on-going assistance to make the expo a success.

The Process

The marketing project began with a marketing workshop on  in Canberra, where we analysed all facets of the event.  In reality, we pulled the event apart and put it back together all in the space of four hours!   Some significant decisions were made including changing the event name to the Toy and Game Expo, agreeing to update the event logo and brand identity.

We also brainstormed marketing strategies and tactics, which we used to develop the marketing plan and develop a very clear profile of the event’s ideal customer – a critical component of ensuring the success of the event.

From the workshop, MarketingHQ set about developing a marketing plan that provided a clear path to ensure the event’s success. The plan reviewed the market, analysed other comparable events and set clear marketing objectives, strategies and tactics with a schedule for implementation.

The Strategy

After working through several marketing models at the workshop, it became clear the interim name of the event and brand identity did not represent the values and personality of the event. The event needed a new name and so it  was renamed the ‘Toy and Game Expo’.

The new name was selected as it fundamentally expressed what the event was about and through some market research we identified that the domain names and were available.  This would be important for search engine optimisation and we also found @toyandgameexpo was available within key social media sites, Twitter and Facebook. It made sense to leverage this as online marketing was going to be a key part of the marketing strategy.

Our second key outcome of the workshop was to bring clarification to the positioning of the event. One of the main issues surrounding expos was the inability to try new products. The Toy and Game Expo was all about experiencing the fun of toys and games and being able to take toys out of their wrappers and give them a try. It is from here that the ‘Experience the fun’ tagline was created, which was then supported by the ‘See It’, ‘Play It’ and ‘Own It’ messages that were developed later.

Following the workshop, an extensive review of the toy and game market was made, as well as the expo market, to ensure the event had no conflicts with either dates or positioning.

The Marketing Campaign

From here, a complete marketing plan was completed in November 2011 to provide the marketing campaign with clear direction.  A combination of online and offline marketing tactics as well as PR was recommended and marketing infrastructure developed including websites, email marketing systems and social media accounts.

The aim was to build marketing assets to not only serve the event this year, but to build a platform for growth in the future and allow the event to capture a fan base, and engage them throughout the full 12 months.

The event leveraged relationships with event sponsors, NSW tourism marketing platforms, event directories and social media to help drive traffic to the website.

In the final two weeks before the event, a Sydney-wide radio campaign was placed on 2GB and Mix 106.5. This was also supported with online advertising on Webchild, What’s On Sydney and Board Game Geek.

Press releases were also issued and media interviews conducted on SBS, 2UE, 2HHH and coverage received in the Daily Telegraph and community newspapers.

The Results

As reported on ninemsn, the Toy and Game Expo pulled the Sydney crowds with 6,205 people attending over the 3 days.

The Toy and Game website was live from Nov 2011 and to 26th June, the site received 16,148 visitors who visited a total of 23,788 times and viewed 76,084 pages.

Thanks to sound marketing planning and the hard work of many people including Charles and Steve, the inaugural  Toy and Game Expo in 2012 was a great success and MarketingHQ look forward to helping the event become bigger and better in 2013.

What others said about the expo

“I had a fantastic time at the Expo today, thanks very much to the organisers for all the hard work in making everything come together. I hope it is successful enough that it will be back next year, and hope to plan ahead better so I can spend much more time there across the weekend to play games, thanks!” Michael Green via Facebook

“Dammit! Had so much fun yesterday (Sunday) that I decided to come back today (Monday) but got caught up so much in checking reviews and games to try at the library that forgot to buy the tickets online before midnight! 🙁 Not cool> LOL” P.J Magalhaes via Facebook

“Had a great time guys. The little one especially loved the play tables.  Great idea.” None Ruddell via Facebook

About the author

Chris Dale Chris Dale is the founder and Managing Director of MarketingHQ. He is a Certified Practising Marketer with over 15 years senior marketing experience. He helps small and medium sized businesses create great marketing strategies and systems that grow their businesses. You can connect with him on or on LinkedIn.

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