This weeks Idea: Not sure about holding an event? Check out this one!

with Neil Godin 

Lunch. At my favorite spot (The Beach House at Dundarave Pier in West Vancouver). With one of my (very) favorite people – Sarah Taylor, Ladies Floor Buyer, Merchandiser and Manager at The Choice (board and more store) in Cranbrook, BC. This was fun.

Sarah was bursting to tell me all about the latest “Big Event” at The Choice, and I was all ears. Store owner Joey Sandberg, and partner and chief bean counter, Mike Peabody, had thrown a Ladies Night event last Spring, just before Sarah joined the team. Once in place, she asked a simple question: “If we threw a Ladies Night in Spring, shouldn’t we do one in the Fall. After all, we’re a winter sports store.” Hmm, all agreed, not a bad idea.  So the push was on.

Sarah learned her fashion merchandising/marketing skills in Ottawa, and now she had a chance to wow the more countrified people of Cranbrook with a Really Big Show.  Here’s how the event unfolded (be sure to take notes):

First, they had several clear goals for the event:

  • Introduce their Winter Fashion Lines to both new and regular customers
  • Generate pre-Christmas sales
  • Get people into the store and give them ideas for Christmas gifts they would buy later
  • Show locals that they offer (great) reasons to support local business by doing their shopping in Cranbrook – instead of taking a two-hour trip “across the line” into the US
  • Create some buzz
  • And have some fun!!!
A few of the Ladies’ Night revelers at The Choice

A few of the Ladies’ Night revelers at The Choice








Here are highlights of how they organized and marketed the event:

  • They arranged for “The Big Three” attractions to “any” open house event: 1. Free wine. 2. Free appies. 3. A mountain of door prizes
  • They asked 11 key vendors to contribute door prizes and (as I’ve said many times before) their vendors (led by DC Women’s Collection) were more than happy to oblige – in fact they leaped at the chance, and literally showered them with goodies to give away
  • They had Gift Bags. They had complete outfits. They had jackets, pants, T-shirts, sweaters, hoodies, jewelry, the list went on and on
  • They used only word of mouth, social media, and posters displayed by other downtown merchants to promote the event
The Ladies’ Night Ladies (Sarah, center,with Julie Clarotto, right, and Shelbie Bregeda)

The Ladies’ Night Ladies (Sarah, center,
with Julie Clarotto, right, and Shelbie Bregeda)






  • They asked the people at Sakura Sushi to cater (at a huge discount, of course, in exchange for cross-promotion publicity)
  • They did a countdown on their Facebook page (“only three days to go…two days to go…”) and updated with details about the event continuously across several social media platforms
  • They told every visitor, and every caller, about the event
  • They stressed that there would be an array of discounts and specials as well as that mountain of door prizes
  • Everyone was invited to an after party at Dewey’s – where the door prizes continued to be handed out every few minutes – and where revelers received deals on drinks and appies and prizes for karaoke…
  • And more!!!


The Ladies’ Night Poster

The Ladies’ Night Poster








Were they marketing dangerously? 

Yes. Sarah said they worried that not enough people would show up. “What would we do with that mountain of door prizes? Would our vendors be upset with us?”

No worries. When the big night arrived more than 200 people turned out – which created another fear. “I was thankful when they stopped coming,” Sarah said, “We were in danger of serious overcrowding.”

And the bottom line? Sarah said they generated many thousands of dollars in sales on that November night alone. Followed by sales in the Month of December that were the highest – ever – in the store’s history.

Not bad. And, there have been a flood of visitors to the store since, who said they heard all about it; were “so sorry” they couldn’t attend – and asked to be notified about the next event. Yes!

Goals achieved. Case closed. And now – over to you.

Your call to action!

The key to success in event-based marketing (part of an overall strategy that we call “Attraction Marketing,” as you probably know), is simply this: “Set A Date.”

Once you’ve set a date, you’ve got a deadline. Once you’ve got a deadline, everything speeds up. The renewal of your website gets done. Your email data base gets updated. Your premises get the treatment (if you’re holding your event on your premises). You finally start using social media. You and your team get re-energized because you’ve got something to buzz about. Your vendors get excited. And you generate a bunch of sales to brand new customers, while reinforcing relationships with the customers you’ve got.

It’s a bit like you winning all the door prizes.

Need I say more? See you next week!


Ps – Don’t forget to mark your calendar for next Monday night’s “Social Media Challenge” gathering at Trinity Western University.  Jonathan Christian and I co-host these events, which are full of down to earth, practical, how-to’s that you can put to work in your business right away. For details and to register please go to: Jonathan will be presenting again this month, and he was our absolute top performer in 2012.

Pps – Have you joined Jonathan’s new 90-Day Social Media Challenge?  If not, why not go to and sign on. You know that social media is here to stay. Why not get your feet wet (in case they’re still dry) by joining Jonathan’s challenge?


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  1. A friend challenged me some time ago to “set a date” for my first seminar and you are right! It set all the wheels in motion! I recently “set a date” for my first trade show type event and the same “magic” is happening with that. It is like picking a destination for your vacation. It creates a focus for all of the excitement and action. Thanks so much for this and all that you do to help businesses see new possibilities 🙂

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