6 Ways to Upgrade the Guest Experience at Comic-Con 2019

By Samantha Stallard, Director of Marketing & Business Development

So, you’ve come to find yourself dropped in the middle of #CCSD2019 for the 50th annual International Comic-Con. Don’t worry though, there’s nothing to be afraid of other than the hoards of grown men in neon tights and capes (but cosplay is diversifying!). The experience can be overwhelming for activators and attendees alike, as there are literally dozens of events occurring simultaneously at any given time of day.

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Founded in 1970 as the Golden State Comic Book Convention and held every summer in San Diego, CA, the international event is a massive gathering of pop culture and entertainment, including movie premieres, TV show launches, and products from video games, fantasy novels, anime, manga, and everything in between. With more than 135,000 attendees descending upon the San Diego Convention Center this week, marketers have to bring bold activations to grab conventiongoers’ attention. 

Comic-Con is the big dance in the world of experiential and event marketing. Attendees expect to be dazzled, delighted, shocked, and surprised. There is incredible pressure on activators to create once-in-a-lifetime experiences for their guests in a sea of once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Here are six ways event marketers can upgrade the guest experience at Comic-Con and make it the star of their #SDCC2019 activation:

1.  Implement

Sorry, had to start with the most important point. With so much going on at Comic-Con, and so many brands vying for attention, the right communication at the right time makes a huge difference in getting the right people to an event.  People will be drawn to events that feel more important, more VIP and less chaotic (which is often the case). Our event concierge team can be on-site, using the guest management app, to handle last-minute additions, communication, event check-in, and VIP services.

2.  Remember where you are

This is Comic-Con. This event has life, spirit, and a true point of view - one that you should embrace and implement in your experiential efforts. Guests have a true passion for comic books, super heroes, fantasy, and fun and they out thousands of dollars to be apart of the action. With that in mind, make sure your activation is a true experience from the moment guests step in your queue, which should be fully themed and a stand alone experience in its own right.

3.  treat all guests like influencers

The selfie generation is in full, self-absorbed swing. Consumers want to be the star of your activation (and have Instagrammable proof) with photo and video opportunities, links to share what they’ve done, and valuable souvenirs to take home and show off.

4.  Focus on guests over location

No need to be obsessed with activating inside the “Comic-Con footprint” or being being listed as an “official event.” Screw that, your guests are everywhere across the city! Activations in obscure locations like the marina, Old Town, or even a rented out In N’ Out can generate just as much buzz. Even local restaurants are getting in on the action with Con-themed specialty menus.

5.  Make “surprise and delight” more than a cliché

Guests came here solely for the experiences. Take advantage of that sense of wonder and engagement by creating activations that reward those who stick it through to the end involve a social sharing element to introduce even more people to the activation.

6.  Follow up!

Its easy to pack up your activation, cheers to another successful year, and crawl home into bed, but don't forget to reconnect with your guests after Comic-Con. You might think this is an unnecessary step since this is a B2C experience, but your guests will appreciate the follow up. Shout out everyone who attended in a social media post or try digital gifting using our partners at THNKS.  As people are departing, they receive an email or text message with a link to a free Uber ride, a curated gift, or anything available on Amazon (yep, that's just about everything). Remember, without guests, you have no event! 

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