At their core, experiential marketing activations are all about creating live experiences that promote a brand, service, or product, but the best experiences do so in a meaningful way.
A recent report showed that 80% of marketers believe live events are critical to their company’s success, and 31% believe that event marketing is the single most effective marketing channel. While the Coronavirus pandemic has reshaped how we interact, it’s undeniable that experiential events should still form an integral part of your marketing strategy.
Creating the perfect live experience isn’t easy, but there are plenty of tried and tested methods to make sure your event is the effective communication tool you’d like it to be. Luckily, here at Marble LDN, we have plenty of experience with experiential marketing, so we’re here to let you in on a few trade secrets.
How to use experiential as an effective marketing communication tool
Interact with your audience
One of the biggest reasons brands attend or host live experiences is to establish relationships and build their brand identity. Hosting an experiential marketing activation is essentially your way of ‘opening the door’ to your brand, showcasing your products or services, but also telling the world what you’re all about. A live experience is a perfect opportunity to let your branding do the talking, but also a great way to build relationships, trust, and add value to your sector.
The most important thing to remember when planning a live experience, or even attending one, is to make sure that it’s right for your target audience. Here, it’s really important to research where your audience usually is and what events they already attend. To find this out, you can do some online market research, surveys, poll posts on social media, or focus groups. Then, you can design your experience to have the biggest pull for those you intend to target. There are so many options to explore, and you can always use a combination. For example, running both an in-person and virtual event simultaneously.
In our State of the Experience Industry report from 2019, we found that experiences account for a reported 70% of regular customer acquisition and 90% of respondents agreed that experiences are an essential part of the marketing strategy. Plus, in the Event Marketing 2018 Benchmarks and Trends report 84% of event attendees say that they have a more positive opinion about the company, brand, product or service being promoted after the event. So, no matter your choice or combination, make sure that you tailor it to your audience.
Once you’ve got your audience at your brand activation or live experience, whether it be in-person or online, you’ll need to get the conversation going. Sharing these experiences online through social media or through organic press coverage means a greater chance for your audience to positively view your brand.
Before you’ve hosted, it’s super important to build up hype around your live experience – one popular and easily accessible channel for this is social media. Again, focus this on where your audience usually spends its time. For example, if you’re looking to reach a younger demographic, then Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat are likely your bags. However, if you have a tech-orientated audience, be sure to shout about your activation on Linkedin and Twitter. Other channels for larger scale campaigns would be an accompanying digital or out-of-home advertising campaign, paid press placement, organic press outreach or even teasing mini activations and content in the lead up to the launch day.
During the experience or activation, share as much content as possible; live tweet, make use of Instagram stories, tag the people you meet on Facebook, and be sure to start conversations – reply, like and share as much as you can. Afterwards, continue to make use of all the content you’ve collected; write some articles around the experience, invite someone you met to feature on your podcast, or simply reminisce on the great time you had – just don’t keep it to yourself!
Build brand awareness
Each live experience is different; it has different audiences, different content and a different culture. When you attend, you feel connected with the people around you, the branding you see, the experience you feel and the content you digest. If you’re hosting the experience, be sure to use this to your advantage.
Your audience should leave with an emotional connection to your brand, be clear on what you do, and fully understand your ethos. Not only that, but you should also use your live experience to build brand affinity, humanise your business, establish credibility, and generate leads as well. All of this can be achieved through creating a memorable, meaningful experience, interacting with your audience, and providing the connections they want.
Measure your impact
Just as important as building the best experience is being able to measure its impact. Before you get started, you should always make a list of key performance indicators (KPIs) that you and your stakeholders agree are worth tracking. By measuring these indicators, you’ll be able to work out campaign success and ROI after everything is over.
If you’re not sure where to start, here are six metrics to track:
- Registrations vs. attendance
- Lead generation
- New customers/sales
- Social media impressions/engagement
- Volume of online conversation/Brand mentions
- Press cuttings
Then, all you need is to gather data and make sure that you’ve met your KPIs. We’ve developed Marble Insight to bring you a true understanding of audience, emotion, brand and revenue from live experience campaigns. Our analytics platform provides 360 campaign performance, from event design to audience engagement and sentiment, content performance to media reach and share of voice.
Whether you’re hosting a live experience to promote your products or services, bring your community together, or showcase the deeper purpose behind your brand, we’d love to hear from you!
Our team work across all aspects of experiential marketing from design to planning, hosting to data analysis. We can even help elevate your event to the next level with a variety of digital platforms, incorporating live streaming, virtual event platforms, AR, VR and audio reality.
So, if you’re thinking of testing the waters with experiential marketing or are looking to step up your next event, get in touch with our team today and find out how we can help.