Brands are always trying to find the next big thing to offer their audience, and these days, experiential marketing is that next big thing. There are a myriad of rock-solid reasons for that, but the bottom line is that a well-executed experiential marketing strategy is the only way to provide uninterrupted brand experience to consumers. It is an interactive way of building intimate brand relationships that add on to your digital marketing strategies by appealing to all five senses. By helping increase brand advocacy, lead generation, and sales – experiential marketing continues to gain momentum in the world of marketing.
According to HBR’s 2018 research, 93% of event marketers said that their companies prioritize creating experiential marketing events. Still, experiential marketing does come with its own set of challenges. For one, proving ROI can be more challenging than demonstrating the ROI of more traditional marketing mediums. In a typical digital marketing campaign (e.g., PPC campaign), data collection and analysis are relatively easy. Because experiential marketing campaigns are out-of-the-box solutions that range from special events to pop-up shops, finding the right marketing metrics to measure can be challenging.
Without measuring the ROI of your experiential campaign, you won’t be able to improve your efforts. That’s why Pro Motion is here to bring you a short guide on measuring the effectiveness of your experiential activity. Typically, the goals of experiential marketing campaigns include:
Social Media Engagement
To keep track of the number of social mentions your event or brand received can be simple if you encourage people to use your branded hashtag. It will allow you to measure the social metrics of participants with shares, likes, mentions, and retweets. Seeing happy and smiling people during an experiential campaign is an excellent indicator of a positive atmosphere, and social media can help you be sure that your brand is resonating with them. Your team should be monitoring your social media channels as well as your website before, during, and after the campaign because incorporating social media marketing into experiential events can significantly increase lead generation.
Have any influencers commented on the mentions? Has there been a spike in mentions, followers, and visitors? Have people been sharing photos or videos of the experience? Engage with your audience online to build relationships.
The most important thing to remember is to create a memorable and unique hashtag for your campaign. If you don’t, then you won’t be able to keep track of the social media activity linked to the activation.
This KPI shows you how many people participate in your experiential marketing event. To measure participation, you should place a counter at the entry, collect social handles and email so you can continue the conversation after the event, and look at distributed giveaways. If you set a target number for attendance, these numbers can tell you whether the pre-activation marketing was effective (but they won’t tell you whether the experience itself was a success). If you decide to go with guerilla marketing tactics to execute the activation, the number of activation participants can help measure the level of interest in your brand as well as the practicality or originality of the activation. A sweepstakes entry is also a good way to gather consumer data or to drive consumers to your loyalty program.
Traditional Media Coverage
Before your experiential marketing event, reach out to industry influencers or publish a press release to notify the media and press. By keeping track of brand mentions across different sources, you can provide insights on the impact of the experience, brand awareness, and brand sentiment. Also, in case of any negative press or misinformation, you will be able to find out about it and react quickly.
Engagement of Brand Ambassadors
Experiential marketing campaigns bring current and potential customers and brands together face-to-face, and it is those in-person interactions that make these campaigns so memorable.
From increasing brand awareness to humanizing the brand, brand ambassadors play a crucial role in experiential activation and can be vital to measuring success. Train your team thoroughly before the event to make sure they provide a great first impression of brand knowledge and to track the nature and tone of conversations, the number of engagements, and write down consumer feedback and comments. That can help you measure brand awareness and brand sentiment, as well as progress in building relationships.
The point of experiential activation is to generate trust in your brand marketing messages. Just make sure that each team member uses the same measurement criteria. Otherwise, your team will run around to collect data that will not be accurate. Again, proper Brand Ambassador training will cover all of these opportunities.
Brand Awareness and Sentiment
How do you measure participants’ satisfaction with your brand after the experience? You can do it with a short but precise survey. Use a 1-10 scale for rating the customer experience, or a series of yes or no questions. That way, you standardize the answers and can compare them easily.
Off-site surveys conducted after the experience tend to have low response rates. Still, on the other hand, they can provide an accurate picture of how long the experience stayed on the minds of your participants. Did they make a purchase since then? How did the experience affect their feelings or awareness about the brand?
On-site, you can conduct a post-event survey on the exit or send one in a few days after the activation. With an on-site survey, their memories are still fresh, and you’ll see a higher response rate. However, the participants might feel that the survey disrupts their experience.
Did an experiential campaign affect the brand’s sales? If you don’t sell products during your live events, this could be challenging to measure. It is easy to track sales if the customer experience took place in-store and at a pop-up. By creating an app for a particular experience or a short survey at the point of sale, you will be able to track sales. If you cannot determine it directly, have your team monitor pre-activation and post-activation sales patterns to get insights on the number of sales before, during, and after the campaign. Of course, increasing sales is the ultimate goal of experiential marketing experiences. Couponing can also be a good way to measure sales and be sure to have a code specific for this program so you can easily track it.
These are all useful methods for brands to measure experiential marketing ROI, but remember that your analysis must go beyond numbers. How participants talk about and perceive your brand and marketing events can be used to make your future campaigns better.
The future of measuring ROI from experiential campaigns is bright, and the advancements in technology bring marketers more methods for measurement. For example, facial recognition and tracking software can be used at these live activations to assess faces for things like gender, age, whether they are expressing happiness (e.g., smiling), and how long they stayed at a particular location.
Despite the growing experiential marketing trends, brand managers still find it challenging to prove the ROI of their experiential campaigns. When deciding on the experiential marketing agency to hire, ask to see examples of experiential marketing campaigns they have executed and reports on their effectiveness.
Want to work directly with an accomplished experiential marketing agency with 25 years of experience? Pro Motion is an industry leader in creating engaging, effective campaigns. Give us a call at 636.449.3162.
Learn More About Experiential Marketing from PMI President Steve Randazzo in his book Brand Experiences: Building Connections in a Digitally Cluttered World. Click here to download 2 free chapters!