For the second year in a row, Parks Alliance of Louisville partnered with VIA Studio to help this small-but-mighty non-profit market their two biggest fundraisers: the massively popular Jack O’Lantern Spectacular and Winter Woods Spectacular events.
Between marketing two large-scale events with a non-profit budget during the holiday season, navigating the unpredictability of consumer behaviors in a pandemic, and bridging the gap between Halloween and winter holiday audiences, VIA was in for a challenge.
Through deep collaboration with Parks Alliance of Louisville, the VIA team crafted and executed a comprehensive, flexible, thorough, and successful marketing strategy.
With only 2.7% of gross revenue spent on marketing, this is significantly lower than the B2C industry average that falls between 5-10%.
While the primary goal was to increase ticket sales, one of the biggest secondary goals was to create a connection between Jack O’ Lantern Spectacular (JOLS), Winter Woods Spectacular (WWS), and Parks Alliance of Louisville (PAL). We knew that connecting the three audiences would drive year-round awareness of PAL.
VIA settled on these goals in 2021:
1. Communicating that the events were happening and JOLS transition back to walk-thru
2. Adapting to a pandemic-affected media landscape
3. Utilizing the JOLS audience to help grow WWS fans
4. Driving email newsletter sign-ups for PAL to integrate audiences
Find out how we pulled this off:
Tucked away in the majestic woods of Iroquois Park, JOLS and WWS needed a strategy that would increase awareness, attendance, and connect audiences — all while outperforming 2020’s performance — the year VIA grew PAL’s digital audience by 22%.
Let’s take a closer look at the marketing tactics we implemented.
Out-of-home marketing. We took advantage of the opportunity to reach potential customers on the go and created promotional print pieces, transit boards, billboards, and more.
TV and Streaming Commercials. Working with amazing media partners, we created video spots that featured on broadcast and streaming television — and in digital ads.
Digital and Social Marketing:
Digital marketing. We launched an integrated marketing campaign and remarketing campaign to increase the number of tickets purchased across a number of strategically-targeted demographics and geo-locations. We teamed up with streaming and audio services like AudioGo to stream audio ads and targeted “over the top” (OTT) video streaming ads.
- Email marketing. We took PAL’s expanding email list and consolidated their audiences into a single, opted-in Mailchimp list so they can communicate year-round with a robust audience of park fans.
- Social media marketing. We launched organic and paid campaigns in an effort to deepen engagement with existing audiences, while enhanced targeting and audience expansion grew their reach.
Targeting & Attribution. In-depth insights into our audience and the ability to implement analytics and precise attribution at every step of the customer journey allowed us to use a relatively small advertising budget to maximum effect.
In addition to creating a marketing strategy, our team utilized fly-through drone footage which we edited into shorter, more engaging clips to run Instagram and Facebook Story ads and use for organic social.
Through strategic use of analytics, remarketing, and attribution, we were able to utilize a relatively small ad budget in the most effective way and continue to increase ticket sales year-over-year. In more ways than one, this knowledge was invaluable to our partners at Parks Alliance of Louisville, primarily because it allowed them to deepen their understanding of the communities they serve.
Calling the performance successful is an understatement — it was spectacular.
There was a strong return on ad spend (ROAS) of 35x, with only 2.7% of gross revenue spent on marketing which is significantly lower than the B2C industry average that falls between 5-10%.
We set a record high for Jack O’Lantern Spectacular as they saw their highest attendance and revenue to date, with Winter Woods growing as one of the must-do winter events in a busy Louisville.
We grew ticket sales across almost all age demographics, with an overall increase of +318% in total ticket sales and +80% increase in out-of-state sales. Video performance on social media was outstanding. We saw hundreds of directly-attributed sales, over 800 shares, and a 15% click-through rate (CTR).
Overall, Parks Alliance of Louisville saw a 38% increase from 2020 in their digital audience of social media and email subscribers.
Marketing large events with small budgets is a challenge, but the VIA team finds innovative and strategic approaches to make results happen. We’re excited to develop a marketing strategy for the events in 2022, but before then, stay tuned for more work that’s coming soon with the great folks at Parks Alliance of Louisville — and this time it’s branding work.