December 1, 2015
If you’re planning an experiential marketing event, one of the smartest things you can do is sit down and write out a detailed plan.
Having an event plan will take a lot of time upfront, but it will save you a lot of time as the event draws closer (which is the busiest time in the event planning process). It will make the whole event go smoother because you’re less likely to forget anything. It will give you a blueprint to refer to the next time you plan an experiential marketing activation. And chances are it will make you look really good in the eyes of your boss, who will appreciate your thoughtfulness and thoroughness.
The longest part of your experiential marketing plan will be the event plan itself. We also recommend putting together a budget, timeline and list of things to take to the event. We’ll describe what should be in the event plan first.
Goals and outcomes
A goal is something you want to achieve at the event. Goals may include drawing a certain number of people into your booth, giving out a certain number of samples, and getting a set number of influencers to attend a party and tweet about it.
An outcome is something that should happen after the event as a direct result of the event itself. Outcomes can include the number of people who follow your social media accounts after the event, the number of people who purchase your product or service for a second time within six weeks of buying it the first time, or the number of people who redeem a coupon or discount code.
All of these goals and outcomes can tie into your analytics, which is how you measure the overall effectiveness of your experiential marketing activation. Your analytics are the way you prove to your boss that the event was worth doing, and that you should be allowed to do something like it in the future.
Write down all the things you plan to measure before the event. Then figure out how you will measure those things and make that an integral part of everything you do.
It’s vital to determine your target audience as you’re planning your experiential marketing event. After all, your activation will look very different if you’re hoping to attract millennial men, baby boomer women, recent immigrants or military personnel.
Think very specifically about who your audience is and what they want. Go beyond millennial men – are these men in their early 20s who are just starting their career, not earning much money but need to start a retirement account? Are these 18-year-old men who are wealthy, getting ready to head off to college and thinking about buying a new car?
The more specific you can be in thinking about your audience, the better job you’ll do at tailoring your experiential marketing event to them.
This is the fun part – what exactly do you plan to do at your experiential marketing activation? Be as creative as possible when planning your activities. Then break the implementation of that plan down into parts. If you want a 4D activity, how will you get the equipment, and who will put together the videos to go along with it? If you’re going to hand out samples, who will coordinate with the production team to get enough small bottles of spirits or snack-size packages of food to you?
Take everything that needs to happen in order to host a successful experiential marketing campaign, and put it on a timeline. Be very specific about what task needs to be accomplished by what time. If you have multiple people working on the activation, assign each task to a person.
It’s usually a good idea to work backwards when putting together an event timeline. For example, say it will take three weeks to get banners, table tents and other signage printed. You’ll want to count back three weeks from your event date to determine where it goes on the timeline.
It’s smart to create the timeline separate from your overall event plan. A timeline is something you’ll want to refer to daily or weekly, depending on how close you are to the event. You can revisit the event plan as needed.
Your experiential marketing event plan also needs a marketing plan. How will you advertise before and during the event? Is it interesting enough to attract earned media? Do you need to put together email blasts to existing customers or distribute fliers to potential new customers in the surrounding area?
One of the most important parts of your marketing plan is how you will use social media. Getting consumers to share photos, stories and other posts about your event greatly extends its overall effectiveness. Make sure you have interesting things for visitors to photograph or take videos of. Come up with a hashtag so you can more easily track the conversation about your event. And make sure your logo is everywhere so people can’t help but capture it in their pictures.
You want every person working your event to be extremely knowledgeable about your product or service. You also want them to be engaging, welcoming and appealing to your target audience. Maybe that describes your sales team, but maybe it doesn’t.
Instead, you might want to identify people from marketing, public relations or even the production floor to work at your event. Experiential marketing agencies like Factory 360 can provide and train private individuals to work at your event. It’s even possible to hire models to hand out samples and chat people up about your company.
Create a staffing plan that describes who you want working, how long they should be there and what their goals are. From there you can start recruiting and scheduling people as needed.
Your boss probably gave you an event budget, but how will you use it? Create a detailed budget to approximate your overall costs. Then track those costs to show where you spent more and saved more than expected. That will help you do better next time, or impress your boss with your thrifty ways.
List of items to take
Obviously you want to take all the samples you plan to hand out. How are you going to get enough product to share with all your visitors? How much extra do you need in case more people visit than you’re expecting? The last thing you want to do is run out of product, so think carefully about the quantity to take with you.
There are plenty of other things you need to take to your event. So many, in fact, that it’s smart to take a list of everything you should pack separate from your event plan. To your list, add general company swag, marketing materials and business cards. Add all your banners and other materials identifying your company. Add basic supplies such as duct and masking tape, extra power strips and extension cords, a first aid kit, extra bottled water, sticky notes, and a ton of pens. You never know when they will come in handy.
Does all of this seem overwhelming? Now that you have your plan, does the implementation seem impossible? Call us today! Factory 360 is an experienced agency that can help with any aspect of experiential marketing.