November 24, 2015
As you read through case studies on all the amazing experiential marketing activations brands have conducted over the last few years, you may start to focus less on the outcomes and more on the dollar signs. We’ll admit, executing a big experiential marketing campaign can be quite expensive.
But bigger isn’t necessarily better, and spending more money won’t necessarily net you a better outcome. A small, well-designed experiential marketing campaign can also deliver great results for your company. We have some tips for planning experiential marketing events when you’re on a budget.
Don’t go overboard
You don’t have to rent out Times Square, use the latest and greatest technology, or buy expensive give-away items to create a great experiential marketing event. All you need is a creative idea, knowledgeable and engaging staff, and an interactive activity that will capture consumers’ attention.
Keep in mind some of the basics when planning an experiential marketing event:
- Do something creative. Experiential marketing is so common these days that it takes a lot to catch people’s attention. But your activation doesn’t have to be flashy to stand out. It just needs to be something people haven’t seen before. Comb through examples of past experiential marketing events to see what’s been done and what hasn’t been done before. Use those ideas as a springboard for coming up with your own creative ways to market your products and services.
- Appeal to all the senses. The most memorable events engage all or most of our senses. Think about how your activation can share great sights, feelings, tastes, smells and sounds with consumers.
- Brand your event. Your name and/or logo should be everywhere at your experiential marketing event. Put it on the walls, tables, videos, giveaway items, even your people. It is especially important to include your brand information anywhere people might be taking photos or video. There should be no doubt in people’s minds who is sponsoring the event. The more times the see your identifying information, the more likely they are to remember who put on the first-class event they attended.
Focus on quality over anything else
A poorly conceived event with amazing technology or huge superstars will only go so far. If people end up having a bad experience because they are waiting in line, being treated badly, not being given what they were promised, or confused about what they’re supposed to be doing, they are more likely to develop a negative association with a brand.
Don’t fall into this trap. Everything you do, you should do well. It’s easy to do even if you have a small budget. If you’re giving out samples, make sure you don’t run out. Treat every consumer who visits with dignity and respect – the way you’d want to be treated, basically.
Start planning early
One of the biggest things that can blow your budget is trying to do everything at the last minute. If you are frantically looking for video or sound people when most of the companies in town have already been booked, you might end up paying a premium. If you try to print up fliers and other materials at the last minute, you’ll probably find yourself at an overpriced copy shop doing all the work yourself (or paying your staff overtime to do it).
On the other hand, if you start planning and gathering materials for your activation early, you can shop around and price everything you need before making a decision. You might be able to get certain items on sale or special, or negotiate with vendors to get a better deal.
Do your research
One of the things that trips people up in terms of budgeting is not understanding the facility’s requirements. If you plan to provide food, do you need to order it from the venue or can you bring your own? Do you have to rent tables, generators or other equipment from the site or can you go with a less expensive vendor?
Before you sign up for a booth at any fair or festival, read their requirements carefully, and ask questions about anything you don’t understand. That can help you understand if you can really afford to participate at that event or not.
Take advantage of existing events and resources
Again, you don’t need to rent out Times Square to throw a great experiential marketing party. Think about where your target market will be, then think about where you can reach them without paying a lot of money. If you sell a health care product or service, see if the local government or a nonprofit sponsors health fairs with low entry fees. If your goods are targeted toward seniors, see if you can run experiential marketing events at senior centers or retirement communities.
You can also take advantage of things your company is already doing. If the sales team has already paid for an entry fee at a convention or trade show, see if they’re willing to ditch their usual displays and do a really interesting experiential marketing activation instead.
Promote your event through social media
There’s no reason to run television, radio or print ads to promote your experiential marketing activation. Social media is an experiential marketer’s best friend.
Come up with an intriguing slogan and event description, and blast it all over your social media accounts. Encourage your friends and followers to share it with their friends. If your activation will take place at a larger event, see if the event marketers can share your posts on their accounts to help generate buzz. Reach out to reporters through social media to see if they’re interested in covering your creative, unusual activation and generating earned media for you.
You’ll want to have a strong social media strategy for your experiential marketing effort anyway. Social media is an extremely valuable way to extend your message well beyond the people who actually attend your activation. Your strategy should start well before your event and incorporate event promotion as well.
Hire an experiential marketing agency
We know if sounds counterintuitive, but a good experiential marketing firm can actually help you save money. Factory 360’s experienced staff is great at helping you identify goals and outcomes for your experiential marketing campaign and recommending the ways you can best achieve them. We’re great at ferreting out details like venue costs. We can help you find great deals on the technology, people and all the resources you need for your activation.
Call Factory 360 today to find out more about how we can help. That initial consultation is free – and you can’t find a better deal than that.