Event Marketing Research

Gord Hendren, Vice President, Decima ResearchQuestion: There has been a lot of talk about ways in which we can improve our education system. I'd like you tell me whether you would... introducing the assistance of business with the education system and...

Gord Hendren, Vice President, Decima Research

Question: There has been a lot of talk about ways in which we can improve our education system. I’d like you tell me whether you would… introducing the assistance of business with the education system and curriculum?


Education and re-training are the next boom opportunities for corporate marketing in the 1990s. Driven by the new realities of competitiveness in the world economy, Canadian and Canadian companies are doing a lot of thinking and talking about Canada’s education system (which focuses on children) and our re-training system (which focuses on adults).

The case for corporations playing a role in the education system and re-training in Canada is fouded in a hybrid between social responsibility and an enlightened self-interest. From a relevance point of view, education and re-training speak to the deep concerns felt by many Canadians about their own future and that of their children. Embracing eduction and re-training as corporate priorities, but more importantly as marketing opportunities, should pay dividends to those companies that are bold and thoughtful.

Evidience suggests that corporations have a role to play in supporting the eduction system and the curriculum. A majority of Canadians (89%) believe they need to be personally re-trained in some manner. Significantly, 83% of those Canadians indicate that they would be willing to share the cost of re-training themselves and/or take courses in their spare time. The net take-away from this is that corporate involvement and support in education and re-training is not only good business, but smart business. This view is further supported by the evidence that Canadians believe education is an important priority of corporate funding along with other social concerns such as the environment, health care, and disease research. For example, evidence suggests that opportunities exist to appeal to the craving of baby-boomers’ for ‘BMW quality’ education experiences for thier children.

Garnering benefits from corporate involvement in the education and re-training area requires an event marketing approach which features the positioning of the corporate involvement on a relevant, and tasteful platform.

At present, numerous Canadian companies make a substantial commitment to the education and re-training area, however, little effort is made to communicate or market the benefits of such investments.

The event marketing approach to social issues such as education and re-training require careful positioning and tasteful execution of any communication messages, Notwithstanding these cautions, some lessons learned from event marketing do apply.

First, own a property or a concept and become known for it. Second, create an opportunity for involvement which is relevant and, therefore, appealing to your customer base (answering the question ‘What’s in it for the consumer?’). Third, leverage your involvement (and ‘property’) by focussing the marketing and communication efforts of your organization. Fourth, be creative in order to make your message memorable.