David Brim on business, marketing & life.

The Empty Party Scenario

By: David Brim February 13, 2010

At Brand Advance we have a steady stream of people that discuss their online ventures with us both from a marketing and web development perspective. A relatively large amount of these projects involve some sort of community or social aspect. When it comes to growing a community based site or social network I always caution those I speak to about not falling into the Empty Party Scenario.

What’s the Empty Party Scenario?

Well…One perfect example comes to mind:

When I was in college there was a party that several of my neighbors organized. They had been planning the party for some time and had the perfect set up, lighting and speaker system. However there was one major flaw…when people came rolling in there was hardly anybody there. In College, the “Party Industry” is a competitive landscape and if students walk into a party and see it doesn’t have a decent crowd they will turn right back around searching for the next one. When I talked to my neighbors I asked if they had a good turn out they said yes, but it was so fragmented that nobody stayed and the party didn’t gain traction. They were not happy with the way their party turned out.

The Empty Party Scenario is magnified 10 fold when you are referring to online ventures.  For example….Let’s say you have a concept for a social network tailored for Fishing that allow users to connect with other fisherman in their area. You’re very excited and get the best web-design and the standard features of a social site (discussion boards, groups, ability to friend, etc.  You plan on using social media to market your website and get a reasonable amount of sign-ups. All is well right….Nope

The users who have signed up are all in different cities and you built your concept around networking with local fisherman. Consequently you have a very fragmented userbase consisting of users in Long Island, Miami, LA, Portland, etc….Once your users have signed up and realize that there is hardly any people in their specific area or little activity on the site in general and they will leave and not come back.

How can the Empty Party Scenario be solved or prevented?

  1. Utilize the bowling pin strategy for Market Entry
    From a marketing perspective you are not able to boil the ocean all at one time.  You have to boil water in a small area first then open it up to a larger body of water and expand gradually.  The same premise is with the bowling pin analogy….You first have to knock down one pin, then two more, then three more, etc.  Facebook used this strategy to exxpand.  They first started at Harvard, then several other schools in the Ivy league, then all Ivy league then Northeast schools, etc.  This not only creates buzz, but enables you to get a very relevant and targeted audience.
  2. Make Your Venture/Party Sticky
    What do I mean about making a venture sticky?  Well going back to the party analogy if there was awesome food people would most likely stay.  As more and more people came in the party would seem better because people are staying.  This can be done for your online venture by providing a great tool or good food for thought in the form of content.  When planning GroupTable we constructed it in a way that if a small group of 3-5 went onto GroupTable they really don’t care if there are 10 people on the site or 10 million.  The group receives the same benefit regardless.
  3. Encourage Referrals (Incentives & Word of Mouth)
    When launching a business if you are able to offer incentives or referral perks to current customers your business can grow immensely.  Affiliate marketing is a great way to generate lots of referrals if it fits your business model.  The other side of this is that you should craft a product or design your party in the way that is worthy of a referral.  This could also include having a track record for throwing successful parties or launching successful ventures.

    You should also strive to make it very easy for others (your customers) to share their experiences with others.  Offering SWAG (or promotional items) is a great way to do this…providing a code for them to embed on their blog or website that promotes the event or venture is another.

  4. Develop a Captive Beta Audience (Private Party)
    When throwing a party it helps to have a nice crowd already there.  When launching an online social/community site don’t do a public launch or loud opening until you have everything in place and have a decent amount of people already there.    Stay in Beta for a period of time and get all the kinks worked out.  Thinking back to the party analogy invite a small amount of people first who can tell if the DJ is not good or if the food isn’t up to par.  Once everything is fixed up based on your findings and you have a decent amount of people you can then open it up to a wider audience.  Then when others come it will be a better party, not only because of what you fixed, but because there are others there.

  5. Find other Parties & Convince People to Leave
    One way to solve your empty party scenario is to find other parties or social settings and encourage people to leave to attend your party.  The same is true online.  You have to be very careful when you do this because you can position your brand in an unfavorable way as well as create some enemies.  Actively seeking out places where your target market interacts and sparking up communications I feel is the best way to do this.  One caution is that you don’t want to spam people.  You don’t want to go into a party and start bashing the party loudly the party your at to get people to go to yours.  I recommend talking about the party and seeing if people like it then mentioning there is another alternative that they may want to check out.  Focus on educating people on something new not selling.  This will spark people’s curiosity and if everything else is in order will bring you more people to your party/customers.

What are your thoughts about the Empty Party Scenario?  How else can this be prevented?  Do you have any other examples that you’ve personally experienced.

About the author

David Brim

David Brim is an Orlando based entrepreneur and marketing strategist turned investor. He is the founding partner and Chief Strategy Officer of Orlando Opportunity Fund, focused on advancing Central Florida communities through investments in early stage companies and commercial real estate. He is also a co-founder of Bright Impact, a consulting, software and fund administration company focused on Opportunity Zones. David has founded many early stage ventures across a variety of industries including software, marketing, ecommerce, and real estate. He has been featured in one of the most popular entrepreneurship textbooks “Successfully Launching New Ventures”, authored a best selling book on digital marketing, and worked with over 1,000 second stage businesses. Read full bio.

Comments

  • vince delmonte


    Great blog, bookmarked the site for hopes to see more!

  • craig ballantyne


    Thank you so much for writing all of the great content! I am looking forward to checking out more blogs!

  • jeff cavaliere


    Excellent blog, saved the site with hopes to see more information!

  • Juliet Ana


    Most blogs typically copy other websites or web sites of newspapers and journals. Subscribe to this weblog right here I like that you’ll find original articles that you can hardly locate elsewhere. Luckily, you’ll find nevertheless this sort of websites, please go on! I can no longer see the mainstream media. It’s there a lot rubbish composed, I bear it no a lot more soon. A really pleasant weblog, with thanks.

  • girls peeing


    Hi, always excellent to determine other people today through the hole world in my searching, I really appreciate the time it must have taken to place together this cool site. best regards

  • free avatars


    Cool entry thanks, sending this to my mates asap.

  • binaural beats


    You wrote an interesting post. Really appreciate the great information supplied here

  • jeff cavaliere


    This educational summary encouraged me a lot! Bookmarked the blog, extremely excellent categories just about everywhere that I read here! I appreciate the info, thank you.

  • jeff cavaliere


    The informal summary encouraged me very much! Saved the site, extremely great topics just about everywhere that I see here! I really appreciate the info, thank you.

  • no nonsense muscle building 


    Amazing story, bookmarked the blog in interest to read more!

  • armando codina


    The formal post assited me a lot! Saved the blog, extremely excellent topics everywhere that I see here! I really like the information, thank you.

  • migraine


    Migraine is een ernstige vorm van hoofdpijn. Het treedt in aanvallen op en gaat vaak gepaard met visuele stoornissen en misselijkheid.

  • Silverfish Bug


    Thanks so much for this great article; this is the stuff that keeps me going through the day. I’ve been searching around for your article after I heard about them from a friend and was thrilled when I was able to find it after searching for some time. Being a avid blogger, I’m happy to see others taking initiative and contributing to the community. I just wanted to comment to show my appreciation for your post as it’s very encouraging, and many writers do not get the credit they deserve. I am sure I’ll be back and will send some of my friends.

  • truth about abs


    Another excellent article! Thank you!

  • migraine


    Migraine is een bonzende hoofdpijn die meestal voorkomt aan één kant van de schedel. De pijn is heftig en houdt 4 tot 72 uur aan.

  • selling used books


    That would be disastrous. I only hope I never have that problem.

  • white halter dress


    It’s interesting how many information come out so often

  • Wedding Slide Show


    Another excellent article! Thank you!

  • armando codina


    This good summary assited me a lot! Saved the website, very great categories just about everywhere that I see here! I really like the info, thanks.

  • nike shox


    Thank your for your articles. I learn more from here! Thank you !

  • Darrel Moree


    Good information..Thanks

  • volcom backpack


    Hey, maybe this is not on topic but in any event, i’ve been surfing about your site and it looks very good. speaking about as you write with passion I am making a new blog and hard put to make it appear great, and offer excellent content. I have discovered a lot here and I look forward to additional updates and will be returning.

  • Wage Garnishment


    I admire the valuable information you offer in your articles. I will bookmark your blog and check up here often. I am quite sure they will learn lots of new stuff here than anybody else!

  • Golf Clubs


    Really great information. Im happy I found this post. Thanks for sharing

  • zero down traffic blueprint


    I have Godaddy’s Website Tonight and it’s horrible, what options are better?

  • zero down traffic blueprint


    Thanks for nice sharing all is very beautiful.

  • zero down traffic blueprint


    Thanks for nice sharing all is very beautiful.pp

  • zero down traffic blueprint


    Thanks for nice sharing all is very beautiful.12

  • zero down traffic blueprint


    Thanks for nice sharing all is very beautiful.yyyyy

  • zero down traffic blueprint


    Thanks for nice sharing all is very beautiful.dsad

  • zero down traffic blueprint


    Thanks for nice sharing all is very beautiful.fgdfgfd

  • zero down traffic blueprint


    Thanks for nice sharing all is very beautiful.sds

  • zero down traffic blueprint


    Thanks for nice sharing all is very beautiful.eeee

  • zero down traffic blueprint


    Thanks for nice sharing all is very beautiful.ghghgy

  • zero down traffic blueprint


    Thanks for nice sharing all is very beautiful.qwe

  • zero down traffic blueprint


    Thanks for nice sharing all is very beautiful.nmnm

  • zero down traffic blueprint


    Thanks for nice sharing all is very beautiful.ssdeef

  • zero down traffic blueprint


    Thanks for nice sharing all is very beautiful.trtrt

  • zero down traffic blueprint


    Thanks for nice sharing all is very beautiful.rert

  • social network design


    This is a topic close to my heart cheers, like your blog design too. Must be wordpress?

  • Short Sale


    I just visit your site and find it very interesting and informative. I’m going to bookmark your page. Looking forward to read some more of your articles soon. Thanks!

  • GOLF CLUBS


    What is the big difference in between a automobile along with a golf golf ball? Mr. Woods can drive a golf ball 400 yards.

  • Reginald Gaddie


    I just Stumbled Upon this. Not bad. I’ll give it a thumbs up.

  • economy


    Everyone has their opinions on things. You do have a unique way of looking at things though. Keep posting. I am looking forward to seeing more on this topic.

  • watch movies online


    Winsome thoughts the following. Are you currently convinced this really is the proper solution to search at it although? My own private practical knowledge is that we ought to basically are living and allow dwell simply because what one particular particular person thinks just — yet another individual purely will not. Human beings are going to perform what they want to perform. Inside the end, they usually do. Probably the most we can hope for is usually to create a handful of points below and there that hopefully, enables them to produce just a little greater informed choice. Otherwise, good post. You are undoubtedly generating me consider

  • christian fellowship definition


    You might be extremely upset with Congress because of the mostly ignoring the plight of graduate students, although because of resources like this one we can still obtain good grants to help you to obtaining a cost effective technical education.

  • Ma Laredo


    greetings all, i’m really bored on the net so you all should mail me if you are too, strike up a convo :). or possibly myspace, my name on there is miguel white

  • Dion Hevey


    “This is in fact my really 1st time right here, and that i should say that is a truly wonderful site. I have uncovered lots of intriguing stuff inside your website specially in its discussion. From all the fantastic comments in your posts, it appears like that is a really well appreciated internet web page. Preserve up the good perform.”

  • Crystal Yenney


    “What is captcha code?, pls provide me captcha code codes or plugin, With thanks upfront.”

  • mens compression shorts


    Took me time to examine all of the commentary, however I in actuality loved the piece of writing. It proved being in reality cooperative to me and I am positive to every one the commenters here! It’s commonly nice when you can not just be informed, but in addition entertained! I am positive you had satisfying writing this write-up.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers