Earlier this month I had an opportunity to participate in an event that targeted local Influencers in the food business.
In today’s instant connect social media-focused marketing world, I experienced how “in-person” old fashioned 3D marketing can supplement and enhance social media marketing exponentially. While “in-person” 3D marketing has a significantly higher cost per eyeball than social media marketing, the conversion rate is exponentially higher.
I often get asked by clients if they should use an Influencer campaign rather than 3D marketing and that is a decision based on their product and their customer. I decided to compare the two types of approaches because in most cases both are applicable.
Where and Who
The 3D event was held at the Orlando Four Seasons Hotel under the direction of Executive Chef Fabrizio Schenardi and sponsored by ISFE Cooking School (led by Mr. Raffaele Franco Trovato), Regione Piemonte, and the Rosen College of Hospitality Management represented by Mr. Michael Terry.
This unique collaboration came about because of Chef Fabrizio’s personal relationships with ISFE and the Rosen College’s culinary program.
The two culinary schools are working jointly to provide their students with international experience. The Regione Piemonte markets artisan products from the region to an International customer base, many of whom are professional chefs.
Although the entire event took up 4 days, including a prix-fixe white truffle dinner menu prepared by Chef Fabrizio and his staff, I am limiting myself to the one-night affair that was focused on featuring the food, the culinary schools and the Four Seasons Hotel to an invited audience of chefs, Italian specialty distributors and food industry executives.
During that evening both the food and the schools received maximum exposure to potential customers. Many local hotels recruit heavily at Rosen College, so the event gave them an opportunity to socialize with key personnel over food and drink. The chefs and industry guests had an opportunity to sample a range of Piemonte produced food and wine, and connect with representatives and distributors in a no-pressure environment. There were also local bloggers such as Tony Caselnova, who in addition to blogging about Orlando’s food, creates a Disney focused podcast , Tiffany Nguyen who covers the Orlando restaurant scene and Christina Thomas whose website reviews both restaurants and hotels in Central Florida.
How Much and When
Thinking back at the event with a marketing and financial perspective, I would compare it to a very focused promotion that exposed the participating companies to approximately 130 people who qualify as Influencers for their products and services.
I estimated the cost for the space and food to be less than $ 10,000(since both the Four Seasons and a Taste of Piemonte/IFSE provided the space and food at cost). Since everyone ate and drank, in terms of Social Media the click-through rate for the event is 100%. Based on my experience and knowledge of the guests, there is at least an 80% conversion rate since the guests either buy food or wine and will likely try Piemonte products in their own hotels and restaurants, hire graduates from IFSE and Rosen College and might stay at Four Seasons resorts when traveling.
In addition to the direct conversions, there is also the ripple effect from word-of-mouth and the media coverage of the event.
Which is Better ?
When comparing the cost vs results of a 3D event to a Social Media campaign only, it becomes clear that both methods are comparable in their economics (see chart below). So as a business owner you need to make a decision: Are my dollars better spent on a local 3D campaign or on Social Media?
If you are a brick and mortar business, 3D is preferable to Social Media alone and a combination of the two may well end up being the best of both worlds.
The comparison was inspired by an article in Marketing & Growth Hacking that estimated Influencer conversion rates at 2.55% vs the 1% associated with SM campaigns.
A free template for doing your own comparisons is available here!