Minimizing Experiential Marketing Activation Risk During COVID

You want your current and potential clients to stay safe. You also need to make sure you’re promoting your business’s new products and services. How do you market your business without losing money? Here are some tips for minimizing your experiential marketing activation risk while the pandemic is ongoing.

Celebrate the Customers Who’ve Stuck With You During These Challenging Times

Losing track of current customers is one of the biggest mistakes companies make with their experiential marketing campaigns during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’re hyper-focused on drawing in new customers and ignore your dedicated ones, you could lose them. Losing one of your long-time customers is not ideal. You need to reward and celebrate the customers who have supported you for years.

Think about it. You’ve been a customer with a local coffee roaster for years and saw that all new customers get a free bag of coffee with every purchase. Wouldn’t you wonder why you’re not being offered anything after spending hundreds of dollars on that company’s coffee over the past two years? At the very least, you’d like to be offered a discount to let you know you’re important. But, the offers keep pouring in for new customers, and nothing is provided to existing ones.

Take that same scenario, but add a competitor to the mix. Another roaster posts on social media that all customers, new or returning, get a free bag of coffee on every fifth order. Don’t you think you’d be tempted to try them out and see if the coffee’s any good? If the coffee is good, it would be enough to get you to switch coffee companies.

Move Your Experiential Marketing Campaign Online

Even as people start getting the COVID-19 vaccination, some still hesitate to go back into crowds. Some studies have found that 8 out of 10 respondents report they plan to continue ordering takeout online and via restaurant apps after the pandemic ends. In that same survey, only 23% said they’d return to their pre-pandemic dining habits like eating inside the restaurant.

If people are now hesitant to ever sit in a crowd while eating or be in groups without a mask, past experiential marketing campaigns like free samples and face-to-face sales pitches won’t work. It would be best to think of the consumer who wants to remain socially distant and avoid face-to-face transactions with strangers. In February 2021, 69% of those surveyed admit they feel anxiety entering a store now.

People want contactless transactions. How are you trying to market your product? Are you holding pop-ups in the street? If that’s your preferred method, do you have it set up so that people can interact without being face-to-face? A simple poster on a city street with a QR code for people to scan to learn more, watch informative videos, or order a freebie is an excellent way to interact.

If you’re not focusing your experiential marketing campaign on online platforms, you’re missing out. Move online, and you minimize some of the risks.

Carefully Plan Where You Market Your Product or Service

How are you spreading the word? Many companies spread the word using social media. It’s important to remember that some people are not Facebook users, and others don’t use Instagram or Twitter. If you’re only posting information on Facebook, you could be losing thousands of potential customers. Facebook CFO admitted that it lost 2 million daily users and 1 million monthly users between the second and third quarters of 2020.

Ask consumers what they want, and a 2020 survey found that many respondents said they’re using YouTube more. That same survey showed that people felt their usage of LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram would decrease. Information of that nature can help you figure out the best places to plan experiential marketing campaigns.

If you are reaching out to people on the right platforms, you’ll have more reach. This may mean reaching out on multiple platforms, too. Pew Research has a lot of helpful information when planning your campaign. What age group are you targeting? How about gender or income levels? All of this information can help when choosing the right platform.

Look at the top five social media sites and the percentage of U.S. adults using them. They are:

  • YouTube (81%)
  • Facebook (69%)
  • Instagram (40%)
  • Pinterest (31%)
  • LinkedIn (28%)

Others, such as Twitter, TikTok, and Reddit, don’t get as much traffic. Consider focusing on those sites for your marketing campaign. You can’t lose sight of your targeting goals, though.

Facebook is used the most by those 30 or older, and women are more likely to use it than men. Instagram is more popular with those under the age of 30, and it’s used more by those living in urban areas than rural ones. People with incomes of $75,000 or higher use Facebook, but they’re also likely to use Instagram. Meanwhile, those with incomes of less than $30,000 are more likely to be on Facebook. In any of these categories, YouTube still performs the best, but there’s one exception. People aged 65 or older use Facebook more than YouTube.

Come Up With Safe Ways to Use Past Successful Approaches

Free samples have always been your most successful marketing approach. Isn’t there a safe way to do that? Ask area stores if they’d be willing to take your boxed samples and place one in each bag at the end of the sale. Plan your marketing budget to include the money to cover shipping and mail samples to those who fill out a survey or form.

You’ve always done well at trade shows, conventions, and other large events. Participate in a virtual trade show instead. If you can’t find any that fit your needs, reach out to other businesses and host your own. Look for virtual concerts, too, and see if you can partner with that organization.

As the pandemic hit, For All Drinks decided to host a virtual trade show to showcase non-alcoholic beverages. Attendees signed up for the pass and got a free six-pack of alcohol-free beer and a bottle of non-alcoholic wine.

On the day of the event, there were raffles, virtual mixology classes, and Q&A sessions with dozens of companies that focus on non-alcoholic beers, wines, and cocktails. The event was a huge success and helped companies reach out to consumers that had never heard of the different brands. It led to For All Drinks hosting a virtual Dry January Festival that gave participants virtual goodie bags filled with discount offers, free ebooks, and links to podcasts.

If virtual events still aren’t good enough, head outside. There’s more room to spread out while you share news and offer samples. Some marketing departments have great luck offering product samples from carts and tables set up in parks and other open spaces. Keep hand sanitizer on hand – you could even give your own branded bottles away as freebies – and wear masks.

Planning a successful experiential marketing campaign during the pandemic takes careful consideration. Your marketing department may be struggling and not know where to turn. Factory 360 can help them plan and pull off a successful, risk-free marketing campaign in these challenging times. Give us a call.