Publishers compete for audience attention with every printed and posted word. Greenspring Media, publishers of Minnesota Monthly magazine, Midwest Home, and more, also competes with food, with wine, and in luxury homes. By creating events such as the Minnesota Monthly Food & Wine Experience, the Midwest Home Luxury Home Tour, and the Tacos & Tequila After Dark event, plus others, Greenspring extends it publishing brand for multi-sensory engagement.
“We have very loyal readers who see, in Minnesota Monthly and Midwest Home, content that appeals to them and fits their lifestyles,” said Arthur Morrissey, Director of Marketing, Events and Partnerships at Greenspring. “We want to create an extension of those brands in their lives. We can deliver content through hearing, taste, and touch. This creates memorable experiences for our audiences and creates comprehensive marketing strategies for partners.”
Greenspring just completed its Midwest Home Luxury Remodeling Tour. In a direct extension of that magazine’s content, this event showcased – over two consecutive weekends – several recently (and lavishly) updated Twin Cities homes. “We’re still assessing the event attendance data,” said Morrissey, “but we’re happy with the results, and we saw a lot of traffic. It gives us great momentum going into our Luxury Home Tour in August.”
Brands supporting Greenspring events are mostly looking for two things, according to Morrissey. They want content before and after the events, and they want to be included as part of our event. “We are very careful about this,” he said. “At the end of the day, we need to own the event and the magazines supporting them; that’s ours.”
An example: Greenspring worked with a local broadcast media company to generate content and give their talent exposure. “We had people on their TV station regularly; we helped provide content to them,” Morrissey explained. “They trusted us to deliver quality content their audiences would trust, whether on air or through their website. And depending on the event, we would invite their talent to host a location or to judge a contest where appropriate.”
It’s not just about traditional advertising methods. “We work with a variety of brands and media to promote these events, and further activate marketing for them,” said Morrissey.
While Greenspring hopes its events will boost readership numbers, this marketing activity is not primarily an audience-growth tool. Morrissey said that most people attending its major events are well aware of publications such as Minnesota Monthly and Midwest Home; and this same media is the primary advertising method for these events. These events are proving an important part of the company’s business model, and valuable tools for Greenspring’s advertisers.
The Food and Wine Experience is a substantial event for the company; it held the 24th annual event in March. In this era of experiences, Greenspring is trying new events too. “The Tacos and Tequila event was new for us this year. This late-night street fair helped us reach a younger audience,” said Morrissey. He admitted that the Superbowl was not the ideal time to hold this event. “But we also re-affirmed that we know how to put on good events, and that we can reach a new audience,” he said, saying he looks forward to a warmer weather Tacos event.
Greenspring is working to grow its event schedule, and to serve a wider audience of Minnesotans. “It’s Minnesota Monthly, not Twin Cities monthly,” said Morrissey. But he says it’s not just about doing more events and reaching crowds. “We differentiate by producing high-quality events that do more than just push people through. Brands want to engage with people. Not just count heads in a crowded event assembly line. It’s about creating the right events and executing them well.”