By Kelly Springs-Kelley, Marketing Director, Elevate Staffing
While some believe experiential marketing to be a relatively new marketing tactic, the truth is marketing via brand experiences has been around for more than a century. From coupon distribution to Oscar Meyer’s Weinermobile, brands have understood the benefit of engaging with consumers face-to-face, even before there was a word for it. Fast-forward to today’s data-driven world, and we can now prove the power of experiential. In fact, studies show that 98 percent of experiential event attendees report that participating in a brand experience makes them more inclined to buy, assuming that the product or service was one they were interested in.
Rarely does a marketing discipline see such staggering results, which explains why more brands are increasing budgets for brand experiences year-over-year. Yet, knowing a brand experience’s potential is not enough. No matter what studies you follow, when marketers design and execute experiential they need to both demonstrate and maximize ROI.
Depending on budget, event goals and industry, there are a multitude of technology platforms that can help your company boost success and drive results. When vetting technology partners, it’s helpful to think in reverse – in other words, have your marketing goals outlined ahead of time, then explore what technology has to offer. And you will need to understand best practices related to incorporating technology into a marketing event. This ensures that you get the results you need while your attendees have a brand-loyalty building experience.
Tips for Selecting Tech to Achieve your Experiential Marketing Goals
1. Make technology a seamless part of the experience
When it comes to incorporating event technology, especially related to consumer data capture, attendees should never feel burdened or have their experience interrupted. All data capture should be a natural extension of the event. Some of the best brand experiences use the following to encourage consumers to part with their information without a second thought:
- Gamification: Use games or contests as a catalyst for attendee data collection. Pit groups against each other, then ask for an email so you can announce the winner and deliver special offers for participating.
- Activity registration: Host an activity, such as a can’t-miss augmented reality experience, and have attendees sign in with a name and desired contact info in order to participate.
- Personalized content: Have attendees answer a short survey, which in turn will provide them with a customized promotional offer. Collect their email address to send it to them and add to your database.
And remember: the people you choose to represent you at each activation are critical in capturing data in a seamless and authentic way. Make sure they are well-trained on your goals, the tech, your brand, and how to dispel objections related to providing their personal information.
2. Embrace cutting-edge engagement tech in ways that are creative and relevant.
Engagement tech is all the rage in experiential right now, but it will not help you reach your goals in and of itself. Think critically about how the platform can assist in amplifying your message. For example, nonprofits have begun using VR, not only to wow attendees with a novel experience, but to increase empathy and encourage donations. By giving everyday people a first-hand look at the challenges the charity is addressing, or the impact that donation dollars are having, they will reap much richer results.
3. Always continue the conversation
Experiential excels in creating relationships with consumers – but it’s only a relationship if it continues. Events should never be just one-and-done, but the first in a long line of touch points. Having a data platform that allows you to follow up with attendees after the event with special offers, announcements, contests, and more is tremendously valuable. The tech should also then track engagement and purchase via offer codes to determine event ROI.
In the end, technology offers marketers a tremendous value in terms of consumer engagement, data collection and nurturing an ongoing relationship with consumers. By using these advancements in a well-thought-out and strategic way, marketers will maximize their marketing dollars and show that going all in on experiential was well worth the investment.