Marketing a business has changed in some ways and remained the same in others. The ways in which messages are delivered have changed like never before. But the principles of how to make a message resonate have stayed the same. After all, everyone is a human being.
I conducted an interview with the founder of Aykut Events, Aykut Akcaoglu, a San Francisco-based events management and events planning company about the keys to marketing events.
AJ: Thank you for agreeing to this interview today. In order to help educate my readers, could you explain to me a little bit about what Aykut Events does?
Aykut: I should clear up a misconception about Aykut Events before we go any further. Most people know us because of the events we held every year. But this is only one arm of our business. We are specialists in both the event planning and the event promotion industries. This is something that is so rarely seen in the San Francisco area.
AJ: Could you tell my readers about how you got your start in the industry and what you learned about what a successful event is?
Aykut: I have been in this business all of my adult life. I originally started when I was only 16 as a DJ. I seemed to have some affinity for it and I quickly became immersed in nightlife and the grand spectacle of it all. I think that's why I've found it easier than most entrepreneurs to get into this business as an adult.
But as to the second part of your question, what I've learned about successful events is the need to make people suspend reality for a moment. The people who came to clubs in the 1990s are the same as those coming to clubs today. They want to suspend reality and live in the moment. If you can guarantee them that, you already have a successful event.
AJ: Aykut Events manages a range of different events throughout the year. How has digital marketing altered the way you generate a buzz?
Aykut: I would say it's made it easier for us to hit our target audience. We hold 25 events per year and each comes with a slightly different spin. We are not hitting the same audience with every event. Aykut Events believes in providing something for everyone.
Digital marketing allows us to make the most of every advertising dollar. The greatest skill any entrepreneur can have is the ability to segment an audience and target it with minimum wastage, whether that be with Facebook ads or Google AdWords.
AJ: You mention social media, and that's a huge issue among marketers. What is your opinion on targeting social media users specifically?
Aykut: I would say it's essential. Many of our events are targeted at the young, and it makes sense to go where they are hanging out. However, too many companies go wrong because they are concerned with how many Twitter followers they have.
It doesn't make any difference how many you have. I would rather have 500 followers I can count on to show up at my events than 100,000 'maybes' because followers have never made any money. It's like traffic to your website. If none of that traffic is converting, you are wasting your time. 89% of social media managers still measure traffic above all else, and it's shocking.
This is where having the ability to segment your audience comes in useful.
AJ: Loyal fans are notoriously hard to find. How does Aykut Events do this?
Aykut: To start with, I try to offer something that they've never seen before. It's why my events nearly always contain some form of international flavor. This could be a guest DJ from overseas or a type of music you don't really hear about in the US.
By giving people an experience they never expected, it's easy to create a buzz, and that's what I hope I've done with Aykut Events.
Building loyal fans takes time and effort. It's not something you can do overnight and it's not something you can force. If you try to force people into liking you, you're going to come off desperate and needy. I hold just 25 events per year. That's not a lot compared to some of these clubs and bars. Nevertheless, I know I have loyal fans because I put everything I have into making each event a memorable experience.
I deliver on the promises I make in my marketing plans. I tell people what they can expect and then I give it to them.
AJ: Thank you for joining me today.