The Definitive Guide to Experiential Marketing Event Staffing and Execution
Experiential marketing is everywhere. Experiential is the guy dressed in costume who stopped you on the street to discuss your current phone plan. It’s the lady in the department store who taught you how to make a creamy smoothie with the latest blender and then gave you a sample. And, it’s the crew of folks who showed you a good time over a game of cornhole, while sipping their seasonal brew, at a football tailgate.
In short, experiential marketing is any physical experience that helps consumers get to know – and trust – a brand. And, while some may believe it to be a trend, the truth is, it’s been in practice for decades.
What you will learn in this guide:
What is experiential marketing?
The best experiential marketing ideas
Tackling logistics related to brand experience design
What to consider when staffing experiential marketing events
How to execute experiential events the right way
These experiential marketing activations have it all
We don’t have to tell you marketing has changed – and fast. In fact, it was only 2013 when 76% of North American marketers reported their belief that marketing had changed more in the two years prior than in the past five decades. With the rise of digital technology, their beliefs aren’t far-fetched. We watched as push methods gave way to pull, with digital marketers hanging on Google’s every SEO guideline. Yet, there was a couple of factors unaccounted for in the journey to the best online presence. These were oversaturation and a shift in generational buying power.
By the year 2020, Gen Z will account for 40% of consumers. This digital-native generation – our first – are efficient in the ways they consume content, which today is limitless. An Adweek article warns, “Brands that don’t adapt to the way Gen Z consumes messages will lose market share.” They must tell a quick story with real value. That’s because Gen Z, and their older siblings, Millennials, only hitch their wagons to authentic brands. Another similarity of these generations is their love for experiences. And, it’s “engaging and beneficial experiences” that a Fast Company article says will win their attention. But, it cautions the one-way messaging of digital efforts alone can get brands “drowned out in the noise.” Yet, for marketers who incorporate experiential marketing, the results are quite the opposite.
The History of Experiential Marketing
It was 1893 when Aunt Jemima – a now Quaker Oats brand known for its pancakes and syrup – executed textbook experiential marketing. The company hired someone to personify the Aunt Jemima brand. And, she told the brand’s story, while cooking up pancakes and attracting a huge crowd at the World’s Fair in Chicago. The outcome of the activation was 50,000 orders and a North American mobile marketing tour.
Around the same time, the Great Bicycle Exhibition took place in New York City. Bikes were a popular mode of transportation, especially for women. And, a website recounts event organizers creative in their means to steer traffic. “People in masquerade, human freaks, and other means” drew visitors to the exhibits. They filled Madison Square Garden, as well as three tiers of extra space constructed above the floor.
Since this time, well over a century ago, we’ve watched as more event marketers execute product demos and activate street teams just like these. The history of experiential marketing is rich in success and relevant to this day. Current experiential marketing statistics tell the story.
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The benefits of experiential marketing also include the ability to connect with consumers of any generation. There are reasons all people, from Gen Z to Baby Boomers, love experiential marketing events. This makes it a great strategy for brands and companies in almost every industry.
Industries that Feel the Impact of Experiential Marketing
The impact of experiential marketing is enjoyed by brands in a variety of industries. These include, but are not limited to:
- Alcohol. Consumers today are less brand loyal to alcoholic beverages. So, beer, liquor and spirits brands make experiential marketing the basis of alcohol promotion strategies to win them over. Many are creating a unique and memorable experience for consumers, while others are using it for good, plain fun.
- Automotive. Auto manufacturers execute experiential marketing to drive traffic to expo exhibits or to introduce a new vehicle. Their dealerships will employ it to lure people to their facilities for sales or events.
- Finance. Credit card companies have long been out in the public, providing experiences for potential and current users. And now, banking institutions are stepping out with experiential marketing to differentiate themselves from other service providers, show appreciation for customers, and draw in new business.
- Food and Beverage. Experiential marketing is an excellent means for food and beverage brands to stand out amid steep competition. This may be when announcing a new product or flavor or to gain market share in an area.
- Government and Military. Municipalities use experiential marketing to get residents involved in local programs. Military branches will employ its tactics to bolster recruitment efforts.
- Healthcare. Companies like GE make a product launch an experience for doctors and other stakeholders. They also activate experiential marketing to spread awareness of a related cause. Individual healthcare providers may utilize it to engage their communities.
- Media and Entertainment. It’s not uncommon to see TV networks look to the medium to create awareness of series’ premieres. Magazines and other news outlets regularly apply its tactics to network with attendees at events like SXSW.
- Non-profit Sector. Baby Boomers and their elders account for 69% of U.S. charitable giving. Knowing experiences are an effective way to reach younger generations, non-profits use experiential marketing to garner their support, as well as to showcase their work in unique ways.
- Retail. Experiential marketing helps players in the turbulent retail industry to attract attention. This may be related to new store openings or sales or to allow online brands to build face-to-face relationships. Malls and shopping centers will also get creative around back-to-school, the holiday season, and other prime times to draw traffic.
- Technology. Technology brands like Google and HP often make headlines for their experiential marketing tactics. Their activations immerse consumers’ minds in a variety of activities. More importantly, they allow consumers to get hands-on with products. This helps them easily realize the power of mobile phones, games and other offerings.
The breadth of experiential marketing for various industries makes it applicable for B2B companies, as well as small- and mid-sized brands – not just leading B2C companies. Companies of all types and sizes can create awareness, drive sales, and experience exponential growth. In fact, we’ve watched many challenger brands maintain their momentum through the face-to-face marketing’s ability to keep consumers engaged. After all, with the right experiential marketing ideas, consumers are only an arm’s length away.
The Best Experiential Marketing Ideas
Coming up with the right experiential marketing ideas for your brand may seem to be a challenge, with so many brands doing the same to win consumers. The key is to stay true to the campaign goal and to show your brand’s authentic self. Let experiential marketing tactics serve as a basis for getting started.
Experiential Marketing Tactics
The following experiential marketing tactics provide tried-and-proven ways to tell a brand’s story, foster consumer engagement, and drive sales.
- Product Demonstrations. With tens of thousands of new products introduced every year, product demos help brands move center stage to showcase their benefits and features. Plus, letting consumers see offerings in action – and especially to get hands-on – shows transparency and is a quick way to earn trust.
- Product Sampling Programs. Handing out samples is a small gesture with big impact. In fact, 81% of people are most led to attend an event when product sampling programs are involved. From food and beverage to health and beauty, products tried in-store and other venues have seen sales increases of 500-600%.
- Special Events. Private or public events are wonderful ways to show love to current customers and those you want to make customers. It may be to honor subsets of consumers, such as with multicultural marketing. Or, it may be a general event for all. Either way, it’s also the perfect venue to wow them with experiential marketing. This is usually in conjunction with other tactics, such as product demos or sampling. But, it can also include games, activities and entertainment – ways to help them trust your brand and build a bond.
- Proprietary Brand Events. In lieu of sponsorships, several brands are executing their own large-scale events. Some are industry convention-style, like EA Play, and others may take the shape of a festival or concert. These give brands the opportunity to fully-shape the event experience and reach mass numbers of target consumers.
- Guerrilla Marketing. Its name may sound harsh, but guerrilla marketing is anything but. Brands love guerrilla marketing ideas because of their potential low costs, yet big results. And, consumers love the element of surprise they bring. Here are the best ways to accomplish both:
- Publicity stunts. T-Mobile once activated a flash mob in London’s Heathrow Airport to welcome passengers. For its “Swimming in Ink” campaign, Epson enlisted the U.S. National Synchronized Swimming Team to swim in the cyan-, magenta- and yellow-colored water of its 17,000-gallon fish tank in NYC’s Time Square. There’s no doubt these were a great source of entertainment for passersby, who were sure to remember the branded moment – and share it with others – for time to come.
- Street teams. Street team marketing puts a group of brand ambassadors on the street to engage consumers where they live, work or play – areas where they’re most comfortable. The aim may be to hand out flyers or samples. But, it’s always to share key messages and have two-way conversations. Brands can maximize their typically minimal investment when they find a targeted and high-traffic location to launch their street team promotion.
- Mobile Marketing Tours. Location is also a key factor in the success of mobile marketing tours. But, the difference from guerrilla marketing is mobile marketing tours may not require the element of surprise. They can often thrive when brands build hype around their arrival. That’s because these tours often cover long distances, across the country or even around the world. And, their load isn’t light. If not traveling by branded vehicle, event staff may have a branded backdrop, as well as activities, product samples, swag and other props – targeted items that win over consumers.
- Pop-up Shops. These temporary retail locations offer tremendous opportunity for brands of all kinds. Situated in populated areas, they’re often established by physical retailers looking to test a new area or capitalize on a big spending season. Yet, online-only retailers will use them to forge new relationships or strengthen current. And, manufacturers or designers will set up pop-up shops to create awareness or launch new offerings. This makes them an experience within themselves. But, brands typically offer other experiential marketing tactics within their walls to amplify impact.
Some of the Best Experiential Marketing Locations
Once you’ve determined the right tactic to reach your goals, you must select the best location. You’ve likely gleaned that high-traffic areas are desirable to maximize your investment. This makes the following ideas viable for most experiential marketing campaigns, depending on your targets.
- Conventions and Conferences. Meetings that bring together people with shared interests can be a gold mine for the right brands. San Diego’s Comic-Con International is a prime example. The sell-out convention was expected to draw more than 130,000 comic book enthusiasts in 2017 alone. And, each year, various sponsors show up and show out using experiential marketing. Among them are TV networks with like-minded series, as well as brand names, like Pizza Hut and Schick, which are ingenious in the ways they tie themselves to the subject at hand.
- Fairs and Festivals. From a local street fair to a multi-day music festival, brands have the chance to mingle with many of the right people. Festival staff, whether roaming street teams or stationary brand ambassadors, find easygoing crowds open to conversation. This is especially true when, like conventions and conferences, brands are likeminded. SXSW is a standout event in this case, since its brand activations are just as exciting as the festival’s content and performers. So much so, event organizers have created an awards category for top immersive brand experiences.
- Industry Trade Shows. A 2018 study by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research shows B2B marketers allocating nearly half of their budgets to events, particularly trade shows. Another report says 68% of marketers get the most qualified leads from these events, so it’s easy to see why. Like their B2C peers in other venues, they’re giving attendees immersive experiences that provide fun and/or education surrounding their brand and products. Yet, it’s important to note other non-B2B-specific shows, such as the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), offer a variety of brands value.
- In-store. Forrester reports, for 2018, “obsessing” over the retail customer experience is the key to success. And, consumers expect one that’s personalized, meaning retailers can no longer stand idly by while shoppers hand over money. It’s evident in the number of stores recently shuttered. So, brands are stepping up to offer value in their stores in the form of brand experiences, immersive engagement, and other techniques that drive traffic their way. This may be through product sampling programs, product demos or even appearances from influencers. Experiential marketing gives them several options to win business.
- Sporting Events. Sports fans are unbelievably loyal to the teams they support. And, when brands add to the game day experience, they, too, can win fans’ adoration. Having realized this, brand experiences have become increasingly common at tailgates, as well as in various locations around big events, such as the Super Bowl. And, like in other venues, few industries can go wrong with sports marketing, as long as they show support and tie-in with what fans are there for – the game.
- Targeted Metro Areas. When the goal is to increase brand awareness or gain market share, street teams and mobile marketing tours make smart tactics. The objective is to find the best area, and sometimes that’s a street in a busy metro area. A good hard look at the data can help you determine where to map your effort for optimal exposure.
Other Considerations – Experiential Marketing Trends
Though the basics of experiential marketing tactics have stayed intact over a century, there have been changes. And, they’re always driven by experiential marketing trends. Incorporating these into experiential campaigns may seem intimidating. After all, some as listed below might seem to completely transform activations. However, never fear. Many of these can be incorporated into existing campaigns while still utilizing what has worked in the past. Here are a few event trends to note right now:
- Personalization. We hear quite a bit about personalization as it relates to the customer experience in all areas. And, in some cases, marketers achieve this by combing through data. But, the tailored recommendations or easier interactions that derive from that mining aren’t always in line with the consumer engagement strategy people desire. Some of the data shows that people like receiving things with perceived physical value. So, as you consider personalization for your experiential marketing idea, think about what your consumers place value on, whether the chance to capture a cool GIF or snag a limited-edition product.
- Event Tech. It’s safe to say event tech has taken a prominent role in experiential. Yet, as you flesh out your experiential marketing ideas, it’s important to know what’s in, and what will be of best use for you to reach your goals. The use of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) in experiential is rampant. But, virtual reality is expected to become mainstream consumer technology by year’s end. Be mindful in its application to tell a great brand story.
- Gamification isn’t a new trend. In fact, gamification could be deemed an experiential marketing tactic in itself for its ability to engage a crowd and capture attendee contact data. Yet, the ways in which brands tie games to their activations continue to evolve, especially when paired with VR installations, for example. The key, like with AR/VR applications, is to ensure the initiative ties in seamlessly with your goals and event, reinforcing your messaging while adding engagement for your guests.
- Social Activism. Millennials are holding brands accountable for having a positive social influence. And, when brands follow suit, they have better odds of earning their trust and devotion. For some brands, purpose-driven marketing is an integral part of its story. Others partner with a non-profit organization for mutual benefit. Cause marketing events are then hosted to tell the story and raise support for the cause. Yet, brands should be careful to ensure its relationship makes sense to its consumers. Otherwise, it won’t seem authentic.
In the end, the experiential marketing trends a brand uses should work to achieve both marketing goals and the desired brand experience. Think about how you want consumers to feel and how you want them to behave to determine if and which trends are right.
Tackling Logistics Related to Brand Experience Design
Many marketers will tell you how critical experiential marketing is to the brand experience. Yet, the truth is, the brand experience encompasses so much more. Brand experience marketing has many layers. These include:
- Identifying measurable goals
- Crafting compelling brand messages
- Identifying consumer engagement tactics
- Developing ongoing engagement or lead generation strategies
- And more
It’s all these pieces that, when joined together, persuade consumers to action.
The best experiential events are not in a silo in the marketing organization. Event marketers are broadening their event marketing strategy to bring together other company departments in the best interest of the brand. These will likely include content marketers, data analysts, upper level management and event managers, as well as third-party providers. From forecasting and quantifying results to designing content creation opportunities, brand experience design should be holistic and incorporate goals for before, during, and after the event. With the right processes in place, brands can develop a winning campaign.
4 Best Practices for Designing the Brand Experience
Use the following tips to transform your event marketing strategies and improve the design, and even the execution, of your next brand experience.
- Make lead generation a seamless part of the experience. As experiential marketing statistics show, a brand experience is effective in driving sales and generating leads. Yet, many event marketers make no effort to gather data, fearing it an intrusion for consumers. On the contrary, experiential marketing makes lead generation a seamless process for event staff and consumers alike. When paired with activities, such as post-event contests, gamification or photo opportunities, brands can get the details they need without attendees noticing.
Download the free guide to designing an effective lead generation campaign using experiential marketing
- Incorporate technology to make consumer engagement easier. The technology platforms available to event marketers have many applications to enhance consumer engagement. Some are used behind the scenes to simplify registration or to manage event staff. Others are front in center of experiential marketing activations to bring the “wow” factor or even become the event’s attraction, such as with virtual reality. Take a look at the event tech available to you to see how it might add to your brand experience.
- Keep content creation and social media sharing top of mind at every step. There’s no denying the kinship we have with our mobile devices. And, experiential marketing events that allow consumers to create and share content on these devices makes the impact of these events live beyond the event footprint. Not only does the brand enjoy free content, it is distributed for them as well through networks in which they might not already have sway. This is why event marketers must encourage consumers to create content throughout the brand experience. Setting up selfie stations, creating share-worthy environmental elements, designing a video testimonial booth – there are dozens of ways to incorporate content creation. And, according to research, 100% of attendees will share the content they create for maximum return on engagement through word-of-mouth.
- Make finding the right people to staff your event a main priority. It may be hard to believe, but who you choose to staff your experiential marketing event is likely the most crucial decision you’ll make. These are the people who will carry out the campaign you’ve poured so much into. They are the one asset that can take a tough situation on-site and make it positive. In short, the success of your activation may rest on their skills and personalities. This is because, in promotional marketing, people buy from people. And, at an activation, these people become the personal manifestation of your brand. The relationships they build with consumers will reflect directly on the company itself.
What to Consider with Experiential Marketing Event Staffing
Experiential marketing event staffing is more complex than some may believe. First, there is the undertaking of deciding which event staff role(s) you need. And, there are many different options. They include, but are not limited to:
- Brand Ambassadors. Event staff passionate about your industry and your brand; the right brand ambassador has a huge impact on a consumer’s brand perception
- Product Specialists. People with expert knowledge about your industry, your products, and possibly even your competitors
- Promotional Sales People. Individuals who can share the value of your products and services to consumers based on two-way conversations - and then close the sale
- Mobile Tour Managers. Professionals well-versed in the logistics necessary for experiential staffing across borders, as well as in the oversight of event staff
- Street Teams. Outgoing promo staff unafraid to approach people and flexible to overcome objections and interact with various personalities
- Convention Staff. Event staff who can welcome attendees, direct traffic and answer their questions for a smooth experience
Other specialized staffing needs may include:
- Mascots/Brand Characters
- Flash Mob Performers
- Unique Entertainers
- Bartenders or Mixologists
- Bilingual Communicators
- And more
Once you determine which roles you need filled, it’s time to determine the best questions to ask candidates. You’ll want to ensure they meet important criteria before hiring them for the critical tasks at hand.
Important Criteria in Hiring Event Staff
It’s a no-brainer that you’ll want to, first and foremost, verify that your candidates have the right skills for the job. For product specialists, that involves testing their knowledge on your industry and its products and services. If they’ll swing dance as part of a flash mob, what kind of training or experience do they have?
Second, you’ll want to have conversations with them to test their communications skills. Are they easy to talk to? Can they keep up the conversation? Are they quick on their feet to address concerns or issues? Do they come across as genuine? This latter attribute is vital since it’s necessary to earn consumers’ trust. And, there are still several other boxes to check to find the right promo staff to deliver the impact you desire.
- Do they look the part? These individuals will be the face of your brand. That makes it important that their appearance personifies its values and feel to consumers.
- Do they act the part? They may be great at communicating, but how’s their character? It’s important that event staff’s personalities and demeanor align with that of your brand’s values and tone.
- Can they play the part? The candidates will need to be available the days and times of your experiential event, as well as for any necessary training. Call references to confirm their capacity to show up on time and to do a wonderful job.
But, your efforts don’t end there. Other detective work is necessary to protect your brand before you hire event staff.
How to Protect Your Brand When Hiring Event Staff
Hiring someone based on their qualifications alone isn’t enough. Event marketers must be diligent to ensure the hire of event staff doesn’t pose a risk to their brand or to consumers. Here are three actions to take for peace of mind:
- Conduct a background check when applicable. For instance, when monetary transactions are involved, or if the staff will be interacting with children, make sure a candidate’s history has no criminal activity.
- Run your own web search. Many candidates will use outdated headshots. So, even though their look from 10 years ago aligned with your brand, it may not now. A Google search can help you know for sure. It may also uncover any personality conflicts, when you view their social media pages. Make sure you really know the brand ambassadors representing your brand.
- Hire according to Federal laws. 1099 vs W-2? You may ask yourself this when it comes time to hire event staff. And, according to Federal law, the answer is almost always W-2. After all, you will expect much from your event staff. You’ll tell them where to report (and when), how to dress, what to say and more. In doing so, you treat them as an employee – not as an independent contractor. So, when you fail to hire them using a W-2 model, you put your brand at risk by opening your business up to fines and even class-action lawsuits.
It’s easy to see experiential marketing staffing is not something to take lightly. And, that’s why many event marketers will outsource the hiring of their number one asset to an event staffing agency.
The Benefits of Partnering with an Event Staffing Agency
The Center for Exhibition Industry Research reports “80% of what attendees remember most” about tradeshow exhibits is the people working at them. This puts tremendous pressure on event marketers to have the very best event staff, on top of an excellent engagement plan. But, when they make partnership with an event staffing agency a part of their event staffing strategy, they receive the following benefits:
- Expert knowledge in event staffing practices and logistics
- Access to an established and varied database of professional field staff
- A customized approach, recruiting based on your brand and the specific event
- Event staffing technology to aid in interviewing, training, check-in, and more
- Reduced burden and peace of mind to focus on other event tasks
These benefits and others make an event staffing agency the best way to hire event staff. But, that’s only true when choosing the best partner.
How to Choose the Best Event Staffing Partner
The decision to choose an event staffing agency can at times be made quickly, with the verdict driven by cost. Yet, it’s important to note that low cost may mean the event staffing agency hasn’t hired W-2 staff, which we know is a must to keep your brand safe from liability. Further, the quality of the talent they provide may be lacking. The reason is two-fold. First, the best event staff will want to work for reputable agencies. And, two, the agency may not invest the time and resources into screening event staff and/or training them for your event. This oftentimes leaves event marketers unsure why experiential marketing events don’t get desired results, when the truth is, their event staffing agency is the problem.
Look for these traits of the right promo staffing agency:
- Experienced in your chosen experiential marketing tactics and others, with the references to prove it
- Responsive in answering your questions to show how they’ll be when it comes to executing your event
- Enthusiastic about working with you, demonstrating a real interest in your brand and event
- Goal-oriented to ensure you’re on the same page when it comes to your goals and how they’ll contribute to briefings both in execution and post-event
- Thorough in their process to properly hire event staff, as well as in how they prepare them for your activation
Identifying these traits in the right partner will not only lend to effective event staffing. It will contribute greatly to the successful execution of your experiential events
How to Execute Experiential Events the Right Way
Whether you choose to partner with an event staffing agency or hire event staff on your own, know that their training will have a huge impact on what consumers take away and whether or not you meet your campaign goals.
The Importance of Event Staff Training
Though you’ve found the right individuals to do the job, training must take place. Instruction should always cover:
- Event details. Otherwise known as the “who, what, when, where and why.” Make sure they understand who they’ll be interacting with, what you expect from them, when and where the event will be held and, most importantly, why you’re executing the event. In other words, what goals are they working to achieve? By including them on this high-level strategy, they are better able to perform with that goal in mind.
- Brand messaging. Help them commit your talking points to memory. Messages should be concise so that both event staff and consumers can remember them. Having these talking points keeps event staff on task and on point in conversations.
- Brand story. For event staff new to your brand, give them a quick overview of your story, so that they identify with the brand and share specifics with consumers, when applicable.
- Best practices for consumer engagement. Though your event staff should be professionals, it never hurts to remind them of proper etiquette in engaging consumers. This should also include topics and specific behaviors your brand does not align with.
- Event schedules. It’s a great idea to cover the event schedule in detail so that event staff know what to expect. This should include their time to arrive, the event start and end, as well as any other timelines they should be aware of.
- Staff procedures. Make certain your event staff know where to report for work. Ask that they arrive early to help ensure they’re on time. Provide parking and/or transportation information, when pertinent, to help them avoid delays. When an event lasts long enough to warrant breaks, be sure to go over this detail, including locations of restrooms.
- Communication protocols. Ensure your event staff know who to contact in the event of issues and how to handle them. When teams are small, it may be helpful to provide mobile numbers for all staff to text if necessary. If using an event staffing app for communication, be sure that each member has access and knows how to use it.
- Appearance requirements. Be very specific about how you want your event staff to dress. If you have requirements for jewelry, make-up, nail poilish, or tattoos, for example, make sure these details are part of your training agenda.
- Use of event tech. In situations when event tech, like virtual reality, is being used, you likely sourced event staff familiar with its operation. However, it’s important that you provide training as it relates to your activation to ensure their optimal use.
- Other activation specifics. Will you have a selfie station set up? Are event staff likely to encounter any specific objections from consumers? Do you have a custom hashtag for social media? These are all topics to address in training so that event staff are poised for success.
- Administrative topics. Details like how to handle expenses and processes for reimbursement should be covered up front.
How to Supply Effective Event Staff Training
The means by which you, or your event staffing agency, supply training will depend on the specifics of your activation. For example, training for a product sampling program for a new juice in one grocery store may be best covered by conference call. Instruction for more complex efforts, though, will be better suited for a webinar, via a learning management system (LMS) or in person.
To make your training more effective, incorporate:
- Material that is easy to understand and recall
- Relevant details only to ensure event staff take away exactly what’s needed
- Engaging ways to help them remember details and stay focused, such as with games
- Imagery or videos that break down the material or provide interesting ways to learn
- Reference manuals for continuous review post-training
- Means for retention, such as follow-up calls and quizzes with specific questions
Establishing a process may require quite a bit of work up front. But, moving forward, you can reuse and scale the process and materials or update them quickly when needed. Further, when you automate some or all the process, such as with an LMS, staff training sytem, or videos, you save valuable time for other event tasks, such as reporting.
The Importance of Reporting in Experiential
Significant time and resources will go into planning and executing experiential, which is why your stakeholders want to verify that the investment was worth the effort. Fortunately, when done right, experiential marketing can pay off big time, with many event marketers reporting tremendous ROI. In fact, 48% report a 3:1 to 5:1 return and 41% see 10:1 and more. You can convey the same, or determine areas for improvement, when you put measures in place to capture results.
How to Drive Experiential Marketing ROI
Event technology is the best way to capture experiential marketing ROI. But, many event marketers cite its selection and rollout as a challenge. Further, they find it hard to connect their event’s success to use of experiential marketing tools, however in many cases, this may be due to a lack of strategy.
The first step to quantifying the results of your experiential marketing activation is to determine the right event ROI metrics. Some experiential marketing tactics may require a bit of creativity and the guidance of demonstrated reporting tips. For instance, if executing a street team, your key performance indicators (KPIs) may include the number of samples distributed or the number of coupons handed out and redeemed. For mobile marketing tours, these same metrics may apply, but may also include number of visitors and total engagement minutes. For many events, brands will want to capture consumer information for continued engagement.
Seamless and Easy Ways to Capture Consumer Data
Event management software and experiential marketing tools can make capturing consumer data easy, despite popular belief. Here are a few ways to get the information you need and be able to show a correlation between use of technology and event success:
- Registration. Not every experiential marketing tactic will require registration. Yet, when it can apply, event marketers should make a point to capture contact data via online forms in the days and months leading up to the event. Or, they can set up stations or arm event staff with iPads at entry.
- Digital offers. Promo staff, such as street teams, can lighten their loads and more easily capture contact information when they provide consumers with a digital offer. Qualified leads will visit a landing page and fill out a form to receive content, a discount, or to request a sample, among other options.
- Games and activities. When event attractions draw long lines, people can sign up to participate. This may be to play a fun game or take part in a VR experience. Other ideas include simple sign-ups for a chance to win a prize. Or, they can sign up for immersive quizzes to test their knowledge or provide a product recommendation. In any case, gamification in an experiential marketing event can make data capture so seamless it almost goes unnoticed by the attendees.
- Content creation. Photo booths are a mainstay prop for experiential events of all kinds. They work in brands’ favors, not only to produce authentic and branded content, but to capture contact details in exchange for photos or GIFs.
- Social media engagement. Street teams taking selfies with passersby may not have the time to get the photo and the email address. But, when asking people to share the image via social media with a custom hashtag, brands can still capture engagement.
- Post-event surveys. Event marketers can send mobile marketing surveys at any time for an experiential marketing event. But, they should always plan to send one post-event to leads captured or event registrants. They can get such valuable data as interest or plans to buy, as well as feedback on the activation.
These Experiential Marketing Activations Have It All
Countless experiential marketing ideas come to life every day. And, so many are worthy of recognition. In fact, some of the best disruptive marketing examples have experiential marketing tactics at their base. Yet, for the sake of demonstrating the principles of experiential marketing staffing and execution, these activations have it all.
Soap & Glory U.K. and U.S. Mobile Marketing Tour
Beauty brand Soap & Glory set out to make a splash in their home country of the U.K., as well as the United States. Their goal was to create and increase awareness in locations where their target consumers could be found in these markets. For them, that was at music festivals, on college campuses, at beauty events and in retail stores. And so, the search began for a team of specialized brand ambassadors, who would be dubbed “Glory Girls.”
To staff this extraordinary team of 30 women in the U.K. and U.S., a rigorous and multi-pronged approach was taken to recruiting. It included multiple rounds of phone calls, in-person interviews and video submissions. The chosen talent included singers, designers, models, entrepreneurs and makeup artists.
At each of the stops on Soap & Glory’s extensive campaign, the Glory Girls had a number of responsibilities. In addition to engaging consumers, sharing brand messages and posing for photos, they also gave makeovers and distributed samples. Their efforts everywhere resulted in social sharing. And, in retail outlets, they drove people to purchase. In the end, the Glory Girls engaged more than 30,000 consumers, handed out over 25,000 samples and provided 4,000+ product demos.
Pinterest Brand Ambassadors at Cannes
For its launch of Pinterest Lens, the social network hit the Cannes Lions Festival, a must-attend event for creative individuals, to tell its attendees all about it. Three brand ambassadors were recruited near Cannes, after a thorough evaluation. Leading up the experiential marketing activation, the staff took part in online training. Once on-site, they received detailed briefing on how to use Pinterest Lens. This was necessary since the activation involved three interactive kiosks, strategically placed on a prominent road in Cannes to provide product demos.
The brand ambassadors in action engaged passersby and educated them on Pinterest Lens. People found the product “very creative” and “extremely clever,” and the numbers show it. Brand ambassadors met with more than 1,350 consumers for a total of 3,375+ engagement minutes.
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