Experiential marketing has been on a journey in recent years. In the past a good brand experience was seen as ‘enough’ by many, but now all clients want to know how a campaign will deliver for them, in terms of reach, product trial and return on investment.
So, when we look at optimising the success of an experiential campaign, we shouldn’t just look at what we can do ‘on the day’. It needs to go beyond that... How can we create an experience that people who aren’t at the event will hear about?
There are a number of ways to look at it. You can force word of mouth with modern social media techniques e.g. the Special K Tweet Shop where consumers could use their tweets as currency to pay for a product. Or, you can create an experience that is so relevant and interesting that people just want to talk about it e.g. our femfresh V.I.Pee campaign, where 95% of visitors told a friend about the campaign. We gave away Vajazzle kits which were so of the moment that it generated a lot of buzz.
Whatever your approach, here are some key rules to amplify your experiential marketing campaign to maximise reach and ROI.
1. Its all about content:
People won’t just talk about a product or experience for the sake of it, they need something interesting to tell people. If you want people to share online then they need some content that they can send to a friend, tweet or post as their facebook status. It could be an image, a video or a story, but it needs to be interesting. It’s all too easy to get caught up in your campaign and assume people will want to share content just because you are providing it, but in reality they won’t unless it’s relevant to them.
2. Make it something worth talking about:
Relevant content on its own means nothing; it needs to be relevant to the time, place and person. This could be exclusive content, something only they have access to, so they want to share it with a friend. It could be humorous, so that it provokes a reaction from them and makes them want to do the same to their friends. It could be exciting, such as money can’t buy prizes. If you are at a festival, you are in a completely different mindset to when you are in a shopping mall and it’s important that brands recognise this, as different content will appeal at different times.
3. Integrate and amplify across channels:
No one element of a campaign should stand alone, it is important that it is integrated. If you are creating content then that should be promoted through your owned-assets such as your website or social media pages. An increasing number of brands now use experiential marketing activity to create content for their TV campaigns, such as the T-Mobile flash mobs. These channels can similarly be used to drive traffic to an experiential site or to provide content to be used as part of the brand experience, such as visuals and sound.
4. Give them the tools to become advocates:
To maximise your chances of success when trying to generate word of mouth, it is important that the consumer is given the tools to become an advocate. This is not just in terms of the content, but also the mechanic for sharing that content. ‘Send to a friend’ buttons when entering a competition, facebook ‘like’ buttons, extra samples and coupons are all great ways to get your brand’s fans to do the hard work for you.
So, in summary, if you want to amplify a piece of experiential activity to the best of your abilities you should:
- Make it something that people want to talk about – be unique / interesting / funny / exciting
- Generate content that can be amplified through other channels, e.g. broadcast, online and PR
- Give them the tools to become advocates – give them something to share – competitions, prizes, samples, coupons, memories
- Fully integrate the campaign so that all media is driving to other channels (a hub) and messages are being reinforced throughout.
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