This year I attended the Wizard World Chicago Comic Con for the first time. I donned a costume and joined the legions of fellow geeks for a weekend full of celebrities, comics, and cosplay. I loved every single second of it.
Wizard World Chicago draws thousands of people every year, many of them longtime attendees. There are dozens of conventions in the Midwest throughout the year, so how is it that Wizard Entertainment manages to fill half of the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont for a weekend in August?
Identify a Niche Market
Scott Skoney, a 10 year Chicago Comic Con veteran, said that he first heard of the convention from his local comic book shop. Besides a poster advertising the event, you could also purchase tickets at the register. Cristie Peralta, a first year attendee, found out about the convention from Skoney.
The convention identified its niche market and honed in on advertising where potential customers would notice. Those attendees sought out friends and family members. With their clients’ word of mouth advertising, Wizard World Chicago continues to expand their market.
Offer a Huge Selection
Skoney keeps coming back because of the selection of vendors and artists in Artist Alley. Peralta said that she was also impressed by the large number of vendors and liked discovering great deals on hard to find merchandise.
Wizard World Chicago features a few hundred vendors and artists, making it possible for every attendee to find something that interests them. Even operating in a niche market of “geeks,” there are still many different franchises within the geeky market. Providing a huge selection of products and services is a surefire way to attract and retain customers.
Add a Personal Touch
As a first timer, the extent of the convention was daunting. I spent the first hour gaping at the celebrity guests, massive t-shirt displays, and artist portfolios. It wasn’t until RJ Casey of Yeti Press made eye contact with me and said “Hi” that I really focused in on individual booths; specifically, his booth.
After a minute of convention chit chat, Casey told me about Yeti’s latest endeavor Pecos. I was so pleased that he took the time to talk to me and establish my interest that I quickly bought a copy. After talking with Casey one-on-one and because of the quality of Yeti’s comic, I’m sure that I’ll be keeping tabs on their products and buying from them again.
Sweeten the Deal
While walking past the Unshaven Comics booth, one of the creators shouted out, “Hey, can I tell you about our comics?” I shrugged, walked over, and he launched into a pitch about their new comic Disposable Razors #3.
I was sold on the plot point of “a monkey fights a dinosaur in space,” but if I bought the comic at the convention, all three of the creators would sign it. So for $5, how could I resist? And if that wasn’t enough, I got a sticker, too. It’s simple, but the additional content really made me feel like I got the ultimate deal. Vendors and artists all over the convention added additional products or content to their transactions, creating lots of happy, and potentially, repeat customers.
Needless to say, I’m going to Wizard World Chicago Comic Con next year. The inherently geeky atmosphere instantly made me feel welcome, and the artists and vendors present made the experience seriously unforgettable. I’ve not only developed brand loyalty to the convention, but to individual shops and artists as well.
Have you had an interaction with a brand that earned your customer loyalty? Would you go to a convention, concert, or event based on a suggestion from a friend?