The Ten Commandments of Successful Experiential Marketing
Advantage’s EXP team provides their tips for maximizing the impact of all experiential marketing programs through the lens of an event marketing agency.
1. KICKING THINGS OFF RIGHT.
As soon as you receive client approval, schedule a kickoff meeting that includes all stakeholders (both internal resources and external agency partners). This will allow all parties to hear the event overview concurrently and have the ability to weigh in on the overall plan. Keep in mind that the earlier the planning process begins, the more time you will have to prepare for the expected and the sometimes unexpected, of experiential marketing.
2. CLEAR AND CONCISE OBJECTIVES.
Objectives are a crucial part of marketing as they help guide the overall strategy. When establishing objectives, it is recommended that you follow the SMART approach of specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-specific. And make sure you have a measurement plan in place. Following your activation, you should compare your results against your objectives to determine your level of success.
3. WORK WITH TRUSTED VENDORS.
Finding the right vendor for your project can be a job in itself. Selecting an experienced vendor (fabrication, technology integration, etc.) is critical to program success as they are an extension of you and must be able to meet all deliverables and timelines set forth by your client. When selecting a new vendor, be sure to collect references and focus on past case studies to confirm capabilities. For larger projects, it’s recommended that you secure three bids to ensure that you are providing your client with competitive pricing.
4. COLLABORATE WHEN POSSIBLE.
Whether you are activating at a music festival, trade show or sporting event, it can be challenging to cut through the clutter that often exists. By collaborating with another brand (brand + brand partnerships!) you can enhance the consumer experience and develop an environment that is mutually beneficial. For a partnership to be successful, the brands need to have complementary goals and target audiences.
5. LESS IS MORE.
When designing your event space, it is easy to get carried away with messaging. At most events, consumers will be engaging with numerous brands so it is important to select one or two key points that you want them to absorb. By keeping the messages limited and concise, your space will be more inviting to consumers and lead to greater recall by attendees.
6. NEVER ASSUME ANYTHING.
Open the lines of communication early in the planning process with your client so that all parties have buy-in and are accountable to one another. Making wrong assumptions early can set you on a bad trajectory for success, and it’s easily avoidable if you simply communicate. Throughout the process, don’t forget to meet with the client regularly and stay on top of all important event details.
7. ADD VALUE TO THE EXPERIENCE.
With the average consumer’s attention span estimated to be eight seconds, activations must be engaging and add value to their experience in order to be successful. Simply recreating your brand’s retail environment on-site at a sporting event or festival isn’t going to cut it. If budget allows, the activation should be designed specifically for the environment and include related IP (intellectual property) to make a stronger connection with the audience. Also consider utilizing appearances by athletes, influencers or celebrities to drive traffic to your space or giving away event specific premiums to keep your brand top-of-mind after the event.
8. AMPLIFY THE EVENT.
Don’t limit the reach of your experiential marketing initiative by only focusing on the attendees who can interact with it on-site. The best event marketers utilize smart content initiatives, either curated or user generated, that encourage attendees to share and spread the word across their social accounts, beyond the reach of the event. In addition, look to leverage your client’s owned channels or the event’s channels to further amplify content from the activation.
9. MEASURE THE SUCCESS.
It’s critical to show the quantitative value of an event. ROO/ROI targets need to be set ahead of time and agreed to with your clients. Consumer opinions should be collected throughout the event with a daily analysis of data to account for necessary mid-campaign adjustments. Robust reporting should occur quickly, while the event is still top of mind.
10. HAVE FUN AND ENJOY THE PROCESS.
Friendly reminder that we have the greatest jobs in the world! Sure, event marketing can be stressful at times, but at the end of the day it is not rocket science and should be enjoyable. We spend most of our lives at work so make sure to foster a healthy fun work environment with both your colleagues and clients.