April 27, 2016
Clients often ask us how often they should plan experiential marketing activations. The answer is, not surprisingly, it depends.
Sometimes brands limit their experiential marketing activations to one or two a year and focus on making a big splash. Others do events on a weekly basis. It all depends on factors such as a company’s goals, budget and audiences.
Is your company trying to decide whether you’re too involved or not involved enough in experiential marketing? Here are some things to consider.
Experiential marketing is part of the overall marketing mix, of course, so it makes sense to look at it within that context. What are your marketing goals for the year and what does evidence show are the best ways to reach your audiences? Are you trying to shift your marketing efforts away from traditional advertising and more to engaging with and building relationships with consumers? Your goals can influence how often your company should use experiential marketing.
If you’re trying to push your company toward doing more experiential marketing, there are small steps you can take. If one of the company’s goals is to do more marketing at trade shows, figure out how to incorporate experiential marketing there. If the brand already does multiple demoing or sampling events throughout the year, see if you can bump up the oomph at these events with the goal of providing more value to consumers and attracting more attention for your company.
Huge, multi-day activations at large festivals can be expensive. On the other hand, simpler activations such as staffing booths at community events can be done dozens of times a year without costing an enormous amount of money.
Your marketing budget will give you a pretty clear idea how many time a year you can afford to do experiential marketing events and how big they can be. If you’d like to do more with experiential marketing but don’t have the budget for it, here’s a tip: See if corporate will fund it from the overall budget rather than the marketing budget. The 2015 EventTrack survey shows that 58 percent of companies pay for some experiential marketing activities from the corporate budget instead of the marketing budget (a big increase from last year, when the number was 35 percent).
Type of experiential marketing
There are many different kinds of experiential marketing events. How often you engage in experiential marketing may depend on what your company is doing.
Product sampling can be experiential marketing. Since that’s relatively low investment and high impact for certain types of products, it’s something most companies can afford to do on a regular basis.
Event sponsorships can be considered event marketing under the right circumstances. If you’re sponsoring someone else’s event, there may be a large investment of capital but a smaller investment of human resources. That may make it feasible to get involved in more events.
If your brand believes every experiential marketing production should take multiple days, involve huge parties with lots of activities and celebrities, reach tens of thousands of consumers, and attract the attention of dozens of media outlets and influencers, you’re probably going to use experiential marketing less often.
The no-holds-barred type of event described in the previous paragraph is probably going to have a huge impact for your brand. If that’s your goal, that’s great. However, you won’t want to plan that type of activation every week. It will take away from the spectacle of it, and make it harder to attract the attention of consumers and the media.
Smaller events can still make a big impact, but you’ll need to do them more often. Staffing a booth at a community fair gives your brand ambassadors plenty of opportunities to reach out to people and engage with them – but it’s not likely to earn you thousands of social media posts or YouTube views. That being said, it’s still worth doing these events as long as their impact is in line with your goals.
Is your brand trying to reach multiple audiences? If the answer is yes, you might need several experiential marketing events to reach those different target demographics.
You market differently to college students and retirees; middle-class and affluent consumers; and people who have spent the majority of their life living in Boston, Boca Raton or Bogota. Say you have a product or service that appeals to all those people, but for different reasons. You’ll need to employ different techniques and messages to catch their attention. A pop-up concert that catches the attention of millennial men will probably have zero appeal to women in their 40s and 50s. Think about how a variety of events can share a positive message about your brand with the people who need to hear it.
Past experience with experiential marketing
It’s also worth looking at past attempts at experiential marketing. Did previous events engage a lot of consumers, increase sales, lead to a big bump in social media followers and/or raise awareness of new products or ad campaigns? Or have past experiential marketing events failed to meet their goals and outcomes?
If the latter is true, the solution may be as simple as engaging a new experiential marketing agency. If your experience is more in line with the former, you may want to come up with ways to plan more event marketing experiences. Either way, it’s worth taking a hard look at your history with experiential marketing to determine how often you want to use it.
Factory 360 is happy to walk you through frequently asked questions such as “How often should my company use experiential marketing?” and “Can experiential marketing really impact my bottom line?” We have more than ten years of experience and hundreds of activations under our belts, and we’ve developed deep expertise in all components of experiential marketing (as well as marketing as a whole).
Please contact us today with all your questions and concerns about experiential marketing. We’re also happy to tell you how our package of services can help your brand succeed with experiential marketing – no matter how often you use it.