Events in Microcosm – Small Business Case Study

Posted:  August 13th, 2009 by:  admin comments:  0

I’m a believer in the microcosm – if you want to know whether something works find the smallest example of it and watch closely. More formally a microcosm can be described as a small, representative system having analogies to a larger system in constitution, configuration, or development.

As event marketers, it’s fair to assume we sing the praises of effective events on a regular basis. But recently I was reading an article in Inc. magazine written for and about start-up companies. It got me thinking. When you have little to no money to invest in marketing how can you use events, and should you?

It’s important to doubt yourself sometimes. It makes you reconsider your daily raison d’etre and recommit or redirect. And since we at Starshot service a rather exclusive clientele of enterprise-level business, I had to ask myself about how events fit into the world of start-up businesses.

I thought and thought until Esco came to mind. Esco is a very small start-up providing clothing for men. They don’t even have a website! (They have a phone number though – and here it is, so you don’t think I’m making this up: 416 371 5953).  Sure, it’s a dime a dozen, right? Well, not quite. Esco comes to you and offers made-to-measure and imported clothing at a great cost compared to most impersonal retail shops. The real added value is that Esco is run by a sharp stylist and services men that aren’t likely to ever go to a stylist. So, those are the business basics.

Esco is a great example of events working in the microcosm of a small start-up. This business is largely based on relationships – referrals and loyal customers. Building those relationships from scratch is likely the most difficult hurdle to overcome. Nonetheless, Esco tackles this.

Esco informs some of its most loyal customers that in-office visits are available at any time. “Let your friends know when I’m coming by and I can bring in some samples for them to try on too.” And voila! Esco has a little event on its hands. In a law office, for example, this can mean a number of new profitable relationships based on quality referrals (lawyers need a lot of suits.)

Making these face-to-face connections are the life-blood of a small business. And Esco’s example demonstrates how the essence of an event is really all the matters. Don’t necessarily worry about the invitation or complex analytics. Leverage venues that won’t cost you a cent. And bring a notepad and pen to jot down names and contact information for interested prospects. All of a sudden your sales pipeline has leads.

At first I didn’t even realize the obvious event quality of Esco’s most successful marketing tactic. Nonetheless, this is truly an example of the powerful return on investment events generate.


Originally posted on

Leave a reply