How Companies Can Capitalize on 2020 DNC in MKE

Brian Bennett

STIR | President
Oct 16

When marketing opportunities knock, it’s very wise to answer. When news broke that Milwaukee would be the host city for the Democratic National Convention (DNC), it was clear that this convention will be a boon for Milwaukee’s economy. In 2012, the DNC drove more than $200 million in economic impact for Philadelphia and $0.5 billion in free media exposure.    

Keep in mind who will be visiting us here in Southeastern Wisconsin and what they have to offer. 

  • Media from all over the world, hungry for background stories on the region.
  • Policymakers from every state who can be educated on issues important to companies here.
  • Elite influencers who are decision makers at companies and nonprofit organizations.
  • Travelers from around the world bringing tourism dollars to town.

Whether a company is a Fortune 500 or a local retailer, there are a number of ways to take advantage of opportunities that an event of this magnitude presents. Here are four key steps your company, large or small, should implement to take full advantage of this monumental moment in Milwaukee. 

1. Be Mediagenic

Large companies can begin by planning to present interesting and notable visuals, events and storylines. Update signage, recruit street-team marketers, find unique ways to demonstrate your presence here. Start by reaching out to local news affiliates and editors to tell your story. Develop story angles that focus on your brand (not relating to politics). Allen Edmonds, for example, has outfitted recent U.S. Presidents from both parties in their shoes and has leveraged this many times to generate local and national media coverage. Pay attention to which reporters are covering DNC-related topics so you’re ready to reach out to them with story ideas closer to the event. 

2. Cater to Influencers

Sometimes it’s who you know that really matters. People are coming to town who can help you and your cause, such as delegates who are easy to identify. As an organization that’s headquartered here, you are in a position to establish relationships. Read local publications and monitor social channels to learn who of interest will be in attendance and understand their connections. Establish how you can assist them in improving their experience here. Reach out through multiple channels to establish a dialog. 

3. Attract Attention and Create Exposure

All visitors will be looking to take in some of the local culture while attending the conference. They will be checking in on social media, walking the streets, hanging out in lobbies of hotels and dining in restaurants. They will take these experiences home with them and perhaps you can interest them in doing business with you in the future.

This is a great time to get noticed. Create visible displays and sampling. Local franchisors, like Cousins Subs, may find possible investors. Set up special facility tours and VIP events surrounding the convention. Purchase out of home advertising. Execute geo-targeted ad buys. Offer easy-to-ship gift options for visitors, and include a brochure with website info they can share with family or friends. In addition to boots on the ground marketing, enhance your presence with online listening and an active voice on social media.  

4. Cater to Tourists

In the end, a majority of the people coming to town are tourists. They are away from home with money in their pockets and will happily pay a premium for conveniences. Public facilities will be crowded, so let it be known that you have something they may want. Smaller retail shops and restaurants should increase sidewalk visibility or have a thematic window display. Find creative ways to tie in your brand. For example, a local custom suit retailer like NL Suits could offer easy, last-minute purchases like blue ties, cuff links, and general or American-themed accessories. These local venues also need to be prepared to understand online listings, AdWords and geotargeted digital ads far in advance.

Competition will be tough, but this is a time where underdogs can succeed if willing and able. With some imagination, any of these techniques can be executed on a small budget. Now is the time to plan ahead, get creative and put your best foot forward! If you would like expert help in developing and executing your plan, reach out to agency professionals like STIR. Let’s enjoy our moment in the spotlight!

Bonus Video: STIR Talks with TMJ4 on How to Cash In on the DNC

More DNC-Related Insights