Huffington Post: Factory 360’s Michael Fernandez on Experiential Marketing

Now is the time when most businesses are developing their consumer outreach plans for the 2014. An increasingly popular and effective way for companies to connect with their target audiences is through experiential marketing. The term may sound complicated, but it's actually quite straightforward. It's simply a matter of creating a series of events that allow you to get your product into the consumer's hands and lets them taste, touch or learn about it directly. Experiential marketing campaigns can increase brand awareness for a wide variety of products and services, from packaged goods to financial services.

What are the most important things to keep in mind before moving forward with an experiential marketing campaign? In my experience creating experiential marketing events, I have found the following five tips to be most helpful:

1) Know Your Brand
Before anything else, it's vital that everyone onboard has a clear idea of what your brand stands for and what your message is. If you don't know your message inside and out, go back and clarify your message. Knowing exactly what you want to convey to consumers is essential, especially when you're connecting with your audience through an experiential marketing event.

2) Consistency Is Key
Make sure the creative team you've hired has everything they need. Share with them materials from all of your traditional above-the-line campaigns including TV commercials, print ads, radio spots and billboards. Keeping the same message across all mediums is crucial. No matter what they're seeing, reading about, listening to or experiencing when it comes to your product, the takeaway should always be consistent.

3) One Event Does Not Equal a Campaign
You'd never go to the gym once and expect a single workout to transform your body, so you need to keep the same rule in mind when it comes to experiential marketing. You'll need to commit to a certain amount of events to give your campaign the chance to really make an impact. Determine ahead of time how many you're comfortable with producing and what your expected outcome will be.

4) Integrate Social Media From The Start
The most important thing to keep in mind is that it's not about the few hundred or even the few thousand people you reach at an event - it's about the millions you have the potential to reach through social media. From pre-event to post, it's critical to integrate social media. Not only will it give you the most bang for your buck, it will ensure the delivery of your message to a much, much wider audience.

5) Pay Attention To The Feedback
The greatest thing about experiential marketing is that you get customer reaction immediately and can adjust and refine your message in real time. You'll know within the first few hours of your campaign what's working and what isn't. If the messaging isn't clear at the first event, you can fix it immediately on-site or at least guarantee that it will be changed for the second event. Pay attention to customer feedback and adjust your event accordingly as soon as possible.

Article appeared in The Huffington Post