Raymmar.com breaks down different aspects of The Hub Grand Opening in Sarasota this past weekend.

This weekend I attended the grand opening of the HuB in Sarasota. I am not going to talk about their efforts to promote the event or get the word out for the event. There were plenty of people there, it was a great event and I was not involved in the planning so it wouldn’t be fair for me to make assumptions or judgements about what they did or didn’t do to promote the event. (want to read what I thought about the Hub Grand opening) What I can do is break down the actual event and point out some places where they might have missed an opportunity to interact more with their audience and build on the momentum they created leading up to the event.

Read more about The Hub Grand Opening 

In my opinion, the HuB missed out on some great opportunities to learn a little more about their audience by using social media and mobile marketing tools to interact with the crowd. With mobile phones getting smarter and smarter every day it is important for companies to understand that their marketing efforts can now extend to real time. They can now interact with people as things happen so the company can essentially have a conversation with their audience and interact and dialogue throughout an event.

That being said, here are a few things I would have done differently. 

Audience Interaction: From the moment we arrived at the event the side of the building was lit up beautifully with a projected ribbon, hanging over the edge that said “grand opening” and was made to look as if it was ruffling in the wind. I loved it no doubt but this is where the HuB made their first mistake.

It would have been so easy for them to have a scrolling message or random pop ups in the corner displaying a hashtag for twitter, a mobile keyword, or even a website where people could have gotten a preview or taste of things to come from the Hub. At the very least it could have taken them to a mobile landing page where people could find out more about the HuB, sign up for updates and maybe get an agenda for the evening.

Social Media: Since there was no unified hashtag Twitter there were no trends or followers to be had from the evening. Sure they probably got exposure on Facebook and Twitter from people talking about the event but why wasnt the hashtag #theHuB or #HuBOpening or any other hashtag promoted to try and unify all those mentions. I am sure they will be promoting the grand opening on their social media pages with videos and pictures from the event but real time marketing can help endear your audience by making them feel like they are involved with the event.

It wouldn’t have been that hard to have a display on the screen that would have showed all tweets that contained their promoted hashtag. You dont think people would have been chomping at the bit to see their name up on the side of that building? You could have had a real time, live conversation at the event on social media and invited the world in on the fun. We will never know what the impact might have been but they definitely missed an important marketing opportunity there.

Mobile Marketing: I did not see a QR code or mobile keyword anywhere at the event. With the proliferation of text message and sms marketing I thought for sure the HuB would have had something set up to try and capture another bit of information from as many members of the audience as possible. The HuB could easily engaged their audience with a number of features and gathered cell phone numbers of people who want to hear from them order to market to them in the future.

With mobile marketing they could have: 

Mobile Keyword: By promoting a keyword, the HuB would have been gathering cell numbers, names and emails of anyone who would have opted-in to participate in their interactive marketing. This would have been a great way to send a quick thank you to everyone that showed up, send links to other marketing actions and follow up with people down the road. Companies need to start thinking about gathering customer cell numbers just like they do email addresses. Soon they will be one in the same! 

Mobile Voting/Polling: Throughout the night they could have been taking interactive polls by having people text in a specific keyword and recieving the poll via text. The poll results could then have been projected on the side of the building or broadcast by the dj and shared online and through social media. The poll could have been opened to the public by introducing the technology before the event.

Text To Screen: Just like Twitter CR8inc’s text to screen tool would allow people to text in to a specific keyword and have their message displayed on a screen in real time. The messages can even be moderated to avoid any vulgarities from being displayed.

These are just a few of the ways they missed out on valuable marketing opportunities. I know the HuB knows about all of these things. They are on Facebook and Twitter, YouTube and blogging regularly through their different channels. I just wonder why an event like this ignored the latest and greatest marketing tools available. Its not like it would have been expensive, Twitter is free and CR8inc’s marketing platform starts at $35 a month. Maybe that incubator needs a marketing monster like CR8inc inside of it to help not only implement but understand the full potential of inbound marketing.

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