There was a time when experiential marketing was deemed successful if we had enough cool photos of people holding our product and giving a thumbs up to the camera. But in this age of big data, we can do better. And what’s more, the decision makers at brands know that, and they’re asking, what’s the return on investment?
These days there is copious amounts of data that can be captured at a brand event or retail experience. Footfall traffic, demographics of attendees, content shared on social media from the experience, which products are getting picked up off the shelf most often, what aspect of the event is attracting the most attention, how people felt about the experience, and of course, sales. The list goes on. The question is, what data matters? The answer will be different for everyone.
You wouldn’t build a house without blueprints, or fly a plane without knowing its destination. And yet creative experiential marketing concepts have a way of taking flight before the marketing team has paused to define the purpose of the effort. Engage consumers — yes, but to what end? To make a concept truly effective, it’s crucial to map out the business objectives and define metrics for success at the outset before we dive headlong into designing the experience itself.
For example, a brilliant marketing stunt in a high-traffic location might sound like a surefire way to engage consumers and earn PR for the business. But if our true objective is to drive trial of a new product, media buzz may have little to no relationship to that measure of success. Perhaps the stunt should be another kind of event, or better yet, maybe it needs a sampling component to capitalise on the curious audience we’ll have attracted. Often Quander is invited in during the concepting phase of a project to help identify the opportunities to meet business goals and recommend tools to make it possible. This kind of strategic planning helps turn a clever idea into a genuinely smart one.
Even with the best planning, it’s possible to miss an opportunity to measure some aspect of a brand experience when there are so many moving parts that must come together. Imagine that our marketing stunt was a wild success. It earned loads of media attention, it engaged scores of people and let them try out our new product. But then the question comes up, “So who exactly was trying out the product? And what did they think of it?” Driving trial with a specific audience demographic may not have been a mandate for the event, and perhaps we just assumed once they tried our product they’d love it. Unfortunately, now that the event has passed, so has our opportunity to capture useful data from attendees.
The trick to avoiding missed opportunities to measure our impact is to cast a wide net. Capture as much data as possible before, during and after the event, but not at the expense of the user experience. The best solutions are integrated into existing touch points like registration forms, product sampling, and social media sharing, or seamlessly present in the background. Strategically planning for these data capture moments will pay off when we can effectively measure ROI later.
Now you might worry about swimming in data, but Quander helps avoid data drowning by having it all available in a central dashboard so we can quickly zero in on the key metrics that tell us something meaningful about the success of the brand experience.
It may be tempting once a major brand event has wrapped to close the books and start planning the next event. But the days and weeks just after a brand experience are the most crucial moment to build on the impression we’ve made in the minds of consumers who attended. Recontacting attendees through email and social media can help activate potential leads and multiply the effect of the investment. If we’ve smartly captured contact info through the event, or set up social media listening for hashtags and keyword mentions, now is the moment to keep the conversation going and nurture these new consumer relationships. Follow up, gather feedback, share news of a new product or invite them to an upcoming sale.
In a digital age when people are increasingly craving real world connections, engaging brand experiences can make a lasting impression on people. But it’s important to think strategically to make sure there’s no disconnect between that impression and the business goals. With a little planning at the outset, we can weave the magic of an IRL experience back to meaningful engagement, true insight on our consumers and powerful pathways to re-engage them again and again.
To explore how Quander’s toolkit of end-to-end interactive technology can increase the power of your event marketing and retail experience, get in touch.