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Event Marketing (Done Right) Yields “Return on Consumer Experience”
Return on Consumer Experience: How We Get It

Marketing effectively to different consumer segments brings unique challenges which require deep audience insights and targeted channels for engagement.

As the marketing ecosystem evolves, the value of marketing channels continues to change from category to category and from brand to brand. The clutter of messages in the marketplace is daunting to try to break through. Yet as we talk with marketers and see firsthand, physical interaction with a brand or company provides a chance for a brand to produce a lasting impact (when done right) unlike any other marketing medium. Consider this:
  • Consumers remember the store they entered at the mall. They do not remember the brand that pushed them a display ad on ESPN.com. They might not even remember the name of the brand associated with a banner ad they clicked on, because the landing page simply didn’t provide that immediate trigger for them to yearn for more information.
  • Consumers remember engaging with someone interesting on the street. They are unlikely to remember which company was associated with the pre-roll before their YouTube video.
  • Consumers remember worthy in-person experiences, good or bad. We aren’t talking about a prize wheel with a giveaway. Or an emcee shouting commands. Consumers remember worthy in-person experiences.
The ways for a brand to truly get consumers’ attention are to (1) impact them when in a state of need or (2) create a state of interest. According to EMI/Event Track, the power of worthy in-person experiences is clearly evident with 93% of respondents to their survey saying that events and experiences are more effective than TV commercials.
Types of worthy in-person experiences can be wide ranging, but brands can break through by creating that state of interest. This may include hosting events at unconventional locations, showing up to unexpected places or creating a consumer benefit that can’t be missed by attendees. Playing off a state of need is closely aligned with proper targeting and location, but even when leveraging the state of need during events, brands should create differentiated experiences to impact their target audience.
As marketers, it is difficult to justify investing a similar budget amount on driving impressions with a few thousand consumers (events), as it is to touch hundreds of thousands of consumers (digital). But as marketers, we must also understand that the value of impressions at worthy experiences doesn’t compare to digital or linear impressions. We must also understand that all event marketing is not the same. Building an event experience that immerses consumers into your brand leaves them with a lasting impact …that is not the same as an event experience where a brand ambassador hoots and hollers for you to sign a form for a chance to win. Event experiences are powerful opportunities to impact audiences, but they do often require budgets and manpower to create that lasting consumer impact.
Return on objectives (and ROI) will always be important, but when developing experiences, build the budget around the “return on the consumer experience” – the idea that consumers should walk away from your event or experience with a long-term impact, not just a short-term brand impression. This return on consumer experience drives ongoing positive sentiment, consideration and word of mouth that differentiates events versus digital, TV and other marketing channels. According to the same EMI/Event Track survey, nearly three out of four event and experience participants that purchase once then become a regular customer….showing that by creating differentiated experiences, brands have the opportunity to earn lasting customers.
To create the optimal return on customer experience, ask yourself; Will this budget allow the attendees to have a differentiated experience with our brand? Does this budget allow for premium design, engagements and signage that will make attendees truly remember with which brand they engaged?
Producing differentiated experiences creates the return on consumer experience. And that is the power of event marketing.