Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it just another fad that companies might as well try in their eternal pursuit to increase brand awareness?

The answer? It’s none of the above.

The problem? Some companies often see experiential marketing as a fad that has come and will eventually go, so they tend to overlook certain details that are essential to any experiential marketing campaign.

Well, I’ve got some news for you: experiences are the basis of life and experiential marketing is here to stay. The term “experiential” has been around for over 30 years. Alvin Toffler first cited it in 1971 in his book “Future Shock.” The idea of the Experience Economy has been around since 2001. Humans crave good experiences, and with research showing that the road to happiness is more often travelled through the purchase of experiences instead of through the purchase of materials, it seems that this is more than just a fad or a business buzzword.

So… Why am I telling you this? Because if you decide to hop on what experts say is the leading differentiation tactic between similar brands, you’ll want to avoid the common mistakes that companies make with experiential marketing. So here they are:

Companies forget to set SMART objectives.

Some brands just want to “generate interest” or “gain exposure.” While that’s great, that’s not a measurable objective and the company won’t be able to see how the campaign has actually helped their brand. Instead companies should set goals that are:

Specific – generate interest for what specific subdivision of the brand?

Measureable – how will you measure this? (I.e. App downloads)

Achievable – what steps need to be taken to incentivize sales and sharing of the experience?

Relevant – is this worthwhile and lines up with the companies long-term goals?

Timely – how long will it take to accomplish this goal?

They don’t keep their target market in mind

Companies will often think that quantity is better than quality. One event may generate 1,000 leads and another may generate 10,000 leads. There is a small catch: for the first event there was a 40% conversion rate whereas the second only had a 1% conversion rate. Effectively, this means that although the first event generated way fewer leads, it generated four times as many consumers. This stems from companies targeting the wrong market in an attempt to gain increased exposure. In doing so, they don’t get as many quality leads as they could have if they targeted the right market.

The follow-up time is way too long

In order to capitalize on consumers’ fond memories of their newly gained experiences, brands should follow up with their new leads as soon as they can after the event. By the time most brands reach out to consumers, the memory of the experience is a distant memory getting swallowed up by their daily routine. Companies should aim to reach out to their new leads in an organic way and make it a part of the experience for the consumer. This makes it more likely for them to strengthen the association between their good experience and the brand’s product.

They allow their one-hit wonder to become the go-to

No one likes the same exact concept masked as something else over and over and over again. An event may be a huge hit, but using the same concepts without innovation will inevitably get old and allow the competition to improve upon their events while yours stay the same. Companies should diversify. If an event was successful, take a component or two from that event, but add new and engaging features to the event footprint in order to interact with consumers on another level.

Companies forget to spend time interacting with consumers

Some companies go through a great amount of effort and pull off a fantastic event – but they forget one small, excruciatingly important detail: to interact with their consumers. Brand ambassadors should be responsible for engaging consumers and informing them on the product. It might seem simple, but you’d be surprised at how many companies overlook this detail. Some consumers, after leaving the event, will barely be able to recall any details about the product. So make sure to tell your Brand ambassadors to actually market the product.

Timing, timing, timing

As simple as it may seem to coordinate experiential marketing events with product launches, some companies still overlook it. Depending on the type of product you are launching, you may want to coordinate the experiential marketing event before or after the launch – but do make sure that you coordinate it and have reasons supporting the event date.

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