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This is How to Measure Experiential Marketing

“Measurement is fabulous. Unless you’re busy measuring what’s easy to measure as opposed to what’s important.”  – Seth Godin, author, entrepreneur and direct marketing expert

Experiential marketing is one of the most valuable tools to engage consumers and make real connections. But, as mathematical genius Lord Kelvin said, “If you can not measure it, you can not improve it.” Event Marketer’s 2019 report shows that event marketers have solutions to prove the value of their campaigns. To measure and improve in 2019, 61 percent of marketers planned to have event staff collect data on-site using tablets. This is compared to the prior year when the majority (60 percent) would survey attendees pre- and post-event for the data they needed. 

The Goal of Experiential Marketing

A LinkedIn group once compiled a list of the most difficult things to measure in business. Among them are quality of life, creativity, and sustainability, to name a few. The group’s leader then shared her belief of why these things are difficult to measure. She says it’s because they aren’t yet “framed” by the desired result. This is whether we’re seeking to “improve or achieve or create” something. To do so, our goals must be very specific. So, in the case of how to measure experiential marketing, a goal would need to be more than, for instance, “to create awareness.” Instead, your goal may be to track the number of people new to your whiskey brand who took part in a virtual reality demonstration of your distillery. This “ultra-clear” objective makes it ultra clear where you need to focus your efforts.

Getting back to Godin’s point, we often spend time compiling measurements for the sake of compiling them. As an example, if the goal is to make x dollars or pounds of sales on-site, does it matter how many photos attendees shared via social media? In this case, the efforts of event staff are better spent showing how your product meets the needs of attendees, rather than simply encouraging photos. However, the latter might be a priority if our goal was to assess the effectiveness of a selfie station or the event’s social media reach.

The bottom line is, when determining how to measure experiential marketing, we must know our goal and develop it in a definitive way that’s measurable. Then, we can build plans around achieving that goal and knowing our results.

 

3 Specific Goals and How to Measure Experiential Marketing for Each

Just as marketers have shown that the sky’s the limit when it comes to designing creative brand activations, the same is true for how to measure experiential marketing. Once a goal is formulated, they only need to get creative when determining the best way to get results. At the foundation of any plan, there will be two key elements necessary for success. These are capable people on the front lines and capable technology in their hands. 

Your people are your event staff, whether brand ambassadors, product specialists, or others. These vital resources establish trust that encourages consumers to take a desired action. Your needs for event staff will vary depending on your activation, much like the technological functions you’ll need. Still, it’s important to know which technology tools will be necessary to get the information you need. See how both make the difference in these ideas for how to measure experiential marketing.

 

The goal: Achieve experiential marketing ROI of 5:1.

Experiential marketing ROI is the second top metric for consumer marketers per Event Marketer’s report. And, it’s one that many have found a solution for measuring since almost half of brands report realizing a 3:1 to 5:1 ROI. Though almost 30 percent achieve 10:1, setting a realistic goal that the majority attain is a smart start. Now, how to measure experiential marketing ROI becomes the question. 

When using product sampling or demos as the basis for experiential marketing, on-site sales can show results of those initiatives. This was the case for Weber Grills, which gave demos at garden centers, festivals, and events where they fed attendees. Product specialists wowed enough people to drum up £300,000 (or $400,000). The company could then weigh its expenses against these sales to determine the ROI of the tour. This is the same strategy liquor brand Jagermeister used. The results allowed the latter to work with partners to refine its plan for the next year in pursuit of a greater ROI. Fitness tracker brand Garmin also used product demos to drive on-site sales to reach its goal of increasing product sales over last year.

Yet, when direct sales aren’t an option, incentives can serve as the means to measure experiential marketing ROI. Event staff can provide a trackable coupon at engagement. Or, they can use technology to gather email addresses for a digital coupon. When doing the latter, event marketers get critical contact info to continue the relationship. 

 

 

brand activation sampling

The goal: Create a positive brand perception for at least 75% of visitors.

An overwhelming 87 percent of consumers will change their perception of a brand after an experience. It’s up to brands to determine whether that change is good or bad. This means experiential marketing plans and, above all, your event staff must shine. Fostering a positive experience that consumers will associate with your brand is achieved through engagement but can be magnified when offering fun or interesting activities.

If brands offer a VR game, like Sony did for the Spider-Man movie release, or host dance classes, like beauty brand Soap & Glory, as examples, event staff can take the opportunity to “sign” people up. In doing so, they can capture email addresses to send follow-up surveys that will provide the insight to demonstrate efforts.

Conversely, pre-registration or registration upon entry, when applicable, also allows brands to collect email addresses. Or, brands may attempt to survey attendees at their departure of the experiential event. The latter worked well for tech brand ASUS, which, following its brand experience in a U.K. mall, learned 70 percent of participants viewed the brand more positively.

 

The goal: Generate 1,500 new leads over the life of the campaign.

The top metric – for 81 percent of marketers, per Event Marketer’s report – is throughput. Knowing how many people your activation draws is important to understand the potential. But, it’s not the be-all-end-all. What you do to maximize the potential and take relationships further is what matters most. 

This also requires event staff to capture email addresses or other contact info. To do so, again, games and activities can entice them to let their guard down and provide these details. But, when trying to qualify leads, event staff will need to engage consumers, use emotional intelligence, and build connections. LasikPlus is one brand that uses brand ambassadors to qualify leads. In choosing local and bilingual professionals to relate to consumers in targeted areas, the company is seeing conversion rates increase year over year and has found the best solution for measuring those things truly important.

At Elevate, we have the capable people you need to achieve results and capture them. Contact us to learn how we can help measure your experiential marketing the right ways.

Author: Kelly Springs-Kelley

Kelly Springs-Kelley is a marketing veteran who specializes in digital and experiential. When she's not creating compelling 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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