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What We Learned from the Fyre Festival Fiasco: Marketing Is Everything!

Fyre Festival: Marketing at Its Finest

Ahhh Fyre Festival. By now everyone’s heard of the greatest festival that never was. The event promised a celebrity experience with food from celebrity chefs at Pablo Escobar’s private island. Sounds cool and all. To everyones surprise, none of that ever happened.

But we all heard about it.

We know what Fyre Festival did was wrong. There’s no if, ands, or buts about that. But there’s one thing it did right…and it did it really well.

Marketing.

If there’s one lesson that businesses should take away from Fyre Festival, it’s that marketing is everything.

Here are 8 ways to do it right.

1.  Define Your Target Market

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The creators of Fyre Festival, Billy McFarland and Ja Rule knew exactly who their audience was. Rich millennials with major fear of missing out (FOMO). People who were willing to spend thousands of dollars on tickets just so they could be part of it.

The first step for successful marketing is to define your target market. Then you’ll be able to align your marketing efforts with your activities and get them in front of the people who you want to convert to customers.

To do this effectively, you’ll need to create buyer personas for each of your ideal customers. Once you have those identified, you can plan marketing activities that will make an impact on your target audience.

2. Take the Marketing Offline

Promoters for Fyre Festival used celebrity events and parties to get everyone amped up about the event. The did a lot of word of mouth, with the founders promoting the festival on various media outlets.

This shows the power of multifaceted marketing. Digital marketing is highly effective…but don’t underestimate the power of print and word of mouth. Attend industry events that your target audience frequents and hand out brochures. Print is also part of an effective marketing strategy–and it’ll help you stand out since it’s not as frequently used these days.

Find events where you can be a featured speaker. The more you attend, the more your audience will get to know and trust you and your brand.

3. Use the Power of Social Media

The founders of Fyre Festival certainly knew how to use channels like Instagram to their benefit. Their social media strategy was well thought out and aesthetically pleasing.

It left everyone wanting to know more and the event spread like fire. However, no social strategy can make up for a bad product.

Fyre Festival’s social strategy worked because of the visual interest it created.

Use social media to your brand’s advantage by coming up with a unique way to promote your next event and tease the audience with little snippets of what’s to come.

4. Use Storytelling (Just Make Sure It’s True)

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Tell a story. Tell a great, compelling story that makes people want to know you and use your products or services. Just make sure it’s true.

Fyre Festival told an excellent story. The problem was that it was in fact just a story. Your audience wants to know about you and your brand. They want to see the authentic you.

Use content marketing and social media to provide insight into what goes on behind the “scenes” at your company. Whether it’s preparing for an event or live blogging during an event, let your audience see you and the people behind your brand.

5. FOMO Is Real…And It Works

Fyre Festival’s marketing worked so well because it tapped into the audience’s FOMO. They wanted to be a part of everything they were seeing promoted on social media, by their favorite influencers.

This tactic works in the real world too. If you want to get someone interested in what you’re offering, put an expiration date on it. It creates urgency and instills that fear of missing out in your audience.

To really get them interested, put together a promotional video and show what your product or service can do for them.

6. Experience Marketing Is an Effective Strategy

You shouldn’t just sell products… to really grab attention you need to sell an experience. Fyre Festival did this really well.

It sold promotional experiences like jet-skiing with models and the opportunity to participate in a treasure hunt (imagine the treasures they promised).

You can do the same. For example, partner with another company to provide concert tickets or some other incentive that will make them choose you over a competitor.  This way they’re not just getting the end product, they’re getting an experience as well.

7. Visuals Grab Attention

You shouldn’t just sell products… to really grab attention you need to sell an experience. Fyre Festival did this really well.

It sold promotional experiences like jet-skiing with models and the opportunity to participate in a treasure hunt (imagine the treasures they promised).

You can do the same. For example, partner with another company to provide concert tickets or some other incentive that will make them choose you over a competitor.  This way they’re not just getting the end product, they’re getting an experience as well.

8. Crisis Management is Key

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When things went (visibly) wrong, rather than own up to their mistakes, the creators of Fyre Festival maintained that they did nothing wrong.

This is never a good approach.

Make sure you have a crisis management plan already in place. It should outline the key people who are in charge of various aspects–such as public relations and legal matters. You should also have a press release ready to go.

Ideally, you won’t ever have to use your plan. But if you do, you’ll be able to address any issues quickly and start getting back on your feet.

Learning from the Mistakes of Fyre Festival

If Fyre Festival founders had taken their event and the promises behind it as seriously as they took their marketing, the outcome would have been drastically different.

However, you can take these lessons learned and apply them the right way to see success in your marketing efforts.

Contact us today for creative ideas that will make your brand stand out.

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