By Katie Zupancic Wymer
This is Part 2 in a two-part series. Today, our MuckFest marketing team explores how our newest obstacle was named and unveiled to the world. Catch up on Part 1 here.
While we cannot completely rework our events from top to bottom every year due to budget and time constraints, how can we continue to create new, impactful experiences and memories for our participants? For MuckFest, that meant revitalizing our mud run course with a new obstacle for the 2019 season. Our first post looked at how our production team identified a need, created the new event element, tested it, and implemented it.
With many different fundraising events competing for space and attention, just having a superb product that is shiny and new is no longer enough. In order to drum up excitement for your new improvement – whether it is a new obstacle, a refreshed festival element, or a new swag item – you have to talk about it. Announcing a new addition to your event is a great way to reinvigorate your past participants’ interest and excitement, and it can also show new prospects that your event is evolving and fresh. However, if your marketing plan does not effectively inform past and potential participants about your new element, the only people who will know about it is you.
Now that our new obstacle was ready, how could we make it part of MuckFest lore and use it to attract new participants and reinvigorate returning participants? We tackled this tall task in three steps:
Step 1: Unveil it to the world.
We couldn’t wait to post on social media about our new obstacle as participants conquered it in the first event of the year. However, instead of having the announcement come from the marketing department, we chose to use a dedicated volunteer as the “megaphone” to announce that there was a new obstacle. His passion for the event came through, and after a little training on key talking points, he nailed the introduction. If you have a loyal, enthusiastic participant, volunteer, or board member, this could be a great way include them in your big news.
Step 2: Involve brand advocates in the naming.
Instead of picking a name ourselves, we asked participants to suggest names for our new obstacle. To ensure we avoided a Boaty McBoatface scenario, our staff picked five favorite choices and ran a campaign around the obstacle naming opportunity. This campaign included paid and organic social media, email, and texting, and was accompanied by a discount. Ultimately, Muck ’N Roll emerged victorious!
Step 3: Make it part of the 2019 “conversation”.
Instead of unveiling your obstacle, naming it and then moving on, we continue to use Muck ’N Roll in our public relations efforts, ongoing organic social media content, and emails to ensure we are maximizing the impact of this major investment in our event. By continuing to emphasize Muck ’N Roll in our marketing materials, it is not just a new obstacle, it has become an element participants can look forward to conquering together with their teammates when they tackle the course.
Just like our Event Production Manager, JAM, said in his post, “Whether it’s by inventing a new obstacle or improving an existing obstacle, there’s always something new happening on MuckFest.” Our job as marketers is to make sure that we amplify our team’s hard work and continue to attract both veteran and first-time participants. By building a story around those new elements, we provide our participants an opportunity to become part of our story.
Katie Zupancic Wymer (LinkedIn, Twitter) is the Senior Manager, Digital Marketing at Event 360. She manages digital marketing strategy, social media strategy, and sponsorship for MuckFest®, the FUN mud run in support of a world free of multiple sclerosis. She also manages digital marketing for other fundraising events including Bike MS. Katie enjoys exploring the Bold North of Minnesota with her tiny dogs, Annie and Charlie, and taking part in her newest hobby, curling.