Experiential Marketing Tools You Need to Have in 2018

For many U.S. families, a hallmark of the holiday season is a trip around town to see the best Christmas light displays. And, often they’re not disappointed. Take one New Jersey home for example. It boasts a 36-foot Christmas tree with more than 50,000 lights, but that’s just the start. Visitors also enjoy an hour-long show that features 120,000 lights synchronized to 18 holiday songs.

Holiday light displays have come far since Thomas Edison invented the first light strand. And, with newer enhancements available every year, there’s no looking back. To stay competitive, homeowners and venues stay on top of the latest tools and trends to keep visitors coming. The same commitment to technology can be said for most other modern ventures, and event marketing is no different. Experiential marketing technology and tools offer tremendous opportunity for brands to attract and engage more consumers.

Why Brands Must Enhance Experiential Marketing Efforts

We’ve all watched the rise of experiential marketing over the past few decades. Yet, an Adweek article is just now deeming this form of interpersonal marketing as “the next big thing.” It says brands are increasing incremental experiential spend by shifting dollars “previously slated for media or broadcast.” This means more brands are not only vying for consumers’ dollars, they want more consumer time. They want to get face-to-face. And that means many will pull out all the stops to win those precious minutes and interactions.

This may include experiential marketing tools that allow them to “up their game” and entice consumer attention. Some of these tools provide efficiencies, which give more time to engage attendees and make marketers’ lives easier. Others supply a wow factor to make experiences more fun (and brands more attractive). Some technologies allow brands to amplify event marketing ROI through social media and consumer purchase tracking. The best news is a variety of activations, from street teams to trade shows to mobile tours, can benefit from experiential marketing tools. And, the results are a maximum return on ampaign investment.

6 Experiential Marketing Tools That Make Smart Investments, Deliver Great Returns

There are many types of tools and technology to help make your activations easier for you and more impactful for consumers, and some take certain event aspects to another level. Enhance your efforts in the following six ways to keep up or surpass the competition in 2018.

1. Deliver great digital content.

It’s long been customary to print flyers for street teams and pack up brochures for trade shows. But, is it always worth the effort? Research has shown as much as 60% of printed material is tossed before it’s read. But forgoing these materials doesn’t mean you can’t share brand or service information with consumers. Go digital.

Event marketers who implement digital content delivery get information to consumers via email or text, which lightens everyone’s loads and is environmentally-friendly. Best yet, you obtain consumer contact details that you’re not able to – or as easily able to – get when working with paper.

2. Automate lead generation.

Marketing events involve high-impact face time with consumers, and lead generation is a natural progression that should be taken advantage of. Yet, many event marketers will forgo the process due to perceived obstacles, while others simply don’t incorporate it. Yet, without an email address, cell number or other contact method, how will your consumer relationships grow? How will you amplify your event marketing efforts and get the most out of your experiential spend?

By automating lead generation, you gather consumer info in a way that’s non-intimidating and seamless, depending on your activation’s specifics. For instance, most tools allow text to be entered by hand. Others also support scanning of 1D and 2D codes, like QR codes. Best yet, some solutions integrate with your CRM applications for fast access of the data. This is especially beneficial for follow-up communication.

3. Go live (streaming).

One reason experiential marketing is so effective is because of its ability to capitalze on the fear of missing out (FOMO). People want to know what’s going on at your brand’s events, so why not show them? The truth is, when you forgo live streaming of your experiential marketing activation or its parts, you miss out on opportunity. That’s because “82% of viewers prefer live video” over your social media posts, and 80% would rather watch your live video than read your blog. Live streaming can be the most effective content for increased visibility.

The good news is you’re probably already using the experiential marketing tools you need to start live streaming. These are Instagram, YouTube and Facebook, among others. Start using their built-in features for live video and see a boost in your stats.

4. Track experiential’s impact on social media.  

Social media has a big place in experiential marketing. It is a powerful event amplification tool, in part because attendees love to share their experiences. In fact, research by the Event Marketing Institute reveals 98% of consumers create digital or social content at events. And, 100% of them share it via their social media accounts. Knowing how your brand’s experience is reaching people beyond those in attendance is critical to maximizing your activation’s true return on investment.

There are several social media management and analytics tools available that offer various features and advantages. Choose one that makes sense based on your brand and goals.

5. Enhance gamification.

Games offer easy ways to engage consumers and encourage them to create and share content. That’s because people like competition and they like to win. Event marketers can increase event participation when they enhance their experience using gamification.

One way is to automate contests and games, and experiential marketing tools exist to do so. Brands can draw a crowd by displaying contest or game rankings on a large display for all to see. These efforts also ease some event staff responsibilities and allow more time for consumer engagement.

6. Keep better track of your most important asset – your event staff.

Your event staff performing at their highest ability is the key to your experiential marketing success. Even when other elements fail, when they keep consumers happy, it can lead to a positive outcome. And, that makes their hiring of critical importance. It also makes knowing their status during and after the event crucial.

Your event staffing partner should have tools to confirm event staff location, such as geo-location or GPS tracking, when they check in. The agency should also be able to supply reports, even in real-time, that provide business intelligence based on KPIs. If you don’t have this insight, you don’t have the ability to measure the effectiveness of your most important asset. And, that means you don’t have the opportunity to make improvements to stay ahead of the competition and on top of your game.

At Elevate, we are passionate about people, technology, and helping our clients succeed. Understanding key performance indicators is paramount to a successful event. Download our free and easy guide to determining event KPIs.

Author: Kelly Springs-Kelley

Kelly Springs-Kelley is the Marketing Director at Elevate Staffing. When she's not creating content or pondering the future of in-person consumer engagement, Kelly can be found hiking the mountains of Arizona with her 2 kids and 3 dogs.

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