Written by Jarek Hamilton, CEO of QikPix

“How do we stand out in a crowd of 11,000?”

With that question ringing in my head, I set out to pull off a marketing stunt at Collision — a 3-day event last April 26, where my company, QikPix, was an alpha member. The goal? To go up against a competition of 600 start-up businesses and establish our name either for networking or to raise an investment. But how? I understood that the only way we could hope to be noticed would be to do something out of the ordinary. I thought of everything leading up to the event, we had already purchased bags to give out and had pitch cards ready and we even had a commercial made for marketing purposes that we could use. At one point I thought of handing out cozies the day we exhibited and telling everyone to find me at the after-hour parties with their coozies and I would buy them a free beer, I’m glad this one didn’t work out because I would have gone broke.

In the days leading up to Collision I still couldn’t help but feel like something was missing in our marketing. I couldn’t shake the thought of GaryVee and his preaching about going where the attention was and this led me to think about Snapchat and how I could use t in a different way. I already knew the filters had a powerful reach because of a test run we did at a party one of my developers had at his house. The filter I used in the test run was only used 11 times but reached hundreds.

I knew people underestimated the power of Snapchat just from conversations I had with entrepreneurs so I decide to capitalize on this knowing no one would probably be doing what I was thinking. I already purchased Snapchat filters for the days of the actual convention and I still wasn’t sure how that was going to work because they were so new. I kept reading on the Collision website in the months before about how important the after hours parties were for networking so I decided to look outside of the event for the attention.

The night before the pub crawl I decided to purchase 16 Snapchat filters, which I set up for the bars that were on the pub crawl list. The pub crawl was to take place the night of registration on the 25th which was the day before Collision opened. After I purchased the filters I went to my co-founder’s room and told them what I had done. We figured that the next night while on the pub crawl we needed to tell as many people as we could about the filters and get as many people to use them as we could.

qikpixmedsnapshotNight of the Pub Crawl

We were all set to go to our different bars the night of the crawl, collision breaks up your team to maximize networking opportunities. The entire crawl was set to end at 3 bars right next to each other. We all took Uber’s to our designated bars and split ways. I immediately started networking with different individuals and began telling them about the filters we had at all the bars. I was taken back when I found out that not as many people there used Snapchat as I had thought and it kept getting referred to as a kids app. Plenty of people thought the filters were cool they just didn’t use the app and didn’t understand the purpose of it when it came to marketing. I immediately thought we were screwed and it was a mistake. My wife and I continued on the pub crawl and we eventually met up with the rest of our team. This is where things changed.

qikpixsnapshotWe couldn’t have been at the meeting spot more than 30 minutes before we had people coming up to us recognizing the #QikPix in blue on the back of our shirts. When we asked how they knew about us or if they had already talked to one of the members of our team they told us they seen the snap filter throughout the pub crawl.

Needless to say, our strategy using Snapchat worked!

While only about 100 people used the Snapchat filters that we purchased, it was a thrill to find out that our filters have reached an audience of some 7,000 people! Talk about getting to our market easier! Needless to say, we won in terms of brand recognition.

Not only did tons of people come up to us the night of the pub crawl, by the time Collision started, people already knew the name QikPix. No, we had never pitched to them any time before, but they had an idea about us because of our filters, which they seen spread across New Orleans. They already knew our name and they wanted to know who we were and what QikPix was all because of the filters.

In retrospect, this is what we realized regarding that event: It matters how you build connections. You see, recognizing that reality is the key for a start-up business to thrive. In the end, when it comes to business, it isn’t really going to be all about converting visits into sales. It’s not even going to be about who has invested the most for advertising. As a matter of fact, we only spent roughly $56.65 for those filters. Ultimately, it’s going to be about boosting brand recognition and paying attention to where the eyeballs are at. That’s what we used Snapchat for.

Because we have drummed that concept into our minds, our exhibition at Collision was a hit. Snapchat Won! We met several investors at Collision and made many contacts that will probably follow through to bringing value to QikPix. Now we look forward to finding more ways to make use of this excellent marketing tool and building brand recognition.

Just wanted to throw a huge thank you to Gary Vaynerchuk, without watching the shows I would have never thought of doing this. I encourage everyone to start acting on what he says when it comes to marketing in the year we live in.

Like QikPix on Facebook: www.facebook.com/QikPix

Follow QikPix on Instagram: @qik_pix


This article was created in collaboration with QikPix.