How a G-rated, B2B Rap Video Went Viral and Drove 40% of Event Traffic

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Walking out of a sparkling production of The Music Man here last week, I was humming songs like Seventy-Six Trombones and Ya Got Trouble. That's said to be the sign of a memorable musical. It also might be the sign of a memorable, B2B event marketing video.

I just watched Informa Engage's 1st place, SIPAward-winning video entry for their 2017 Expo West & Engredea Conference, and I am humming—okay, I admit it, doing some semblance of rapping—to a very catchy tune.

Get your show bag,
get your hashtag,
get your map,
your app,
and your brand swag.

Got my comfy shoes,
my phone got plenty of juice,
my friends are over here in their fresh-pressed suits.

Expo West & Engredea,
welcome to the party, we'd sure like to meet ya.
Expo West & Engredea,
got some products that will nourish [and something] with a flourish.

 In the video, exhibitors rock, attendees roll, and by the end of the 3:39 tune, I want to swag and tag to their next event—now called Natural Products Expo West, March 5-9, 2019. (On that site you can see the 2018 video which uses over 3,000 still photographs in fast motion to put you at the show.)


Obviously, a video of this magnitude and style will not serve every audience. But the enthusiasm of all the exhibitors and attendees—yes, they rap along—transcends any pre-existing notion we may have about rap. Here it's infectious, informational—"I'm seeing fermentation, all kinds of innovation, popping off with protein Probiotics, you know it's so amazing"—and welcoming.  

"The team created a fun, relevant, buzz-worthy rap video that engaged its audience—the natural, organic and healthy industry," wrote Informa Engage's Meryl Franzman on their entry for Best Use of Video in Marketing. "Traditional event wrap-up videos are boring. The Natural Products Expo West + Engredea team wanted to break the mold and create something that was original and fun." (Informa Engage is the marketing arm of Informa.)

The numbers for the video are impressive. It performed two times better than any video ever produced by the team and received over 26,000 views. The video was emailed to more than 90,000 contacts and received a 32% open rate and a 2.52% click-to-open rate. It was also embedded on the Natural Products Expo West + Engredea website, which drove 40% of the traffic, 33% of views were direct or unknown, 18% were from other YouTube channels and 2.8% from YouTube search.

Almost 20% of viewers shared the video link via text message, as I just did here. The video was also shared on social media: Facebook 12%, WhatsApp 9.2%, Twitter 4.8%, LinkedIn 3.5% and Google+ 0.6%. Additionally, conference partners requested to post the video on their websites.

Franzman said that the challenge of event video is that all of the shooting takes place at the event and doesn't emerge until after the event is over and the community is no longer paying attention. But as events expert Robyn Duda told me recently, your preparation for the following year should start even before your current event ends.

Franzman agrees. "For event producers, marketing for your next year's event begins before the doors close on the current year's event. The event is the epicenter of the community and while attendees, exhibitors and the media are present and excited at the event—it's the perfect time to ride that wave and remind them that next year's event will be even bigger and better. It's also a great opportunity to build up buzz, engage participants and give them the opportunity to become event ambassadors to their networks."

Not surprisingly, the video went viral. With lyrics like this—"They got my kale, my kombuchi, you know it's gluten-free, they got my chia and my bone broth ready for me"—how could it not?

It created "an emotional experience," Franzman wrote, and captured the energy, atmosphere, industry trends and key highlights from the event, in addition to showcasing the attendees, exhibitors and event producers—and special guest singer Cee Lo Green. And it resonated. It was also created in a responsive design that could be easily viewed on a mobile device—because event attendees don't carry laptops to this event.

"The video helped bring the natural, organic and healthy industry together after Natural Products Expo West + Engredea concluded and helped to generate interest, visibility and excitement... And the video has raised the bar for... future videos. Additionally, the video broke the mold internally and other Informa event teams now are thinking how they can create original video into their event videos."

Ronn Are you subscribed to the SIPAlert Daily?
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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director…