The Increasing Importance of Experiential Marketing
“We live in a cynical, cynical world, with tough competitors….” While this maybe a line from Jerry McGuire, these words echo like ripples across a pond as brands are constantly looking at new methodologies to engage their audiences in a consumer driving landscape coupled with challenging economic times.
Now more than ever, marketers need to embrace the exciting, diversity of a LIVE experience, to not only lift a brand and its message from their competitors, but to bring to life a brands personality, its attributes; to ultimately make the purchase decision easier.
Historically, Experiential was an afterthought, misplaced and not understood; an addition to a broader marketing plan, almost so that a brand could be seen to engage this recently emerging discipline because it felt it should?
That’s not a criticism, from a brand marketer’s perspective, in those early days, what was experiential? Was it Field marketing with ‘personality’? Was it sampling? Was it brand experience? Fuelled with so many agencies using different terminology, no wonder the industry floundered and was confused.
Then the phrase ‘Experiential’ that had been in and out of favour for so many years, finally settled, uniting the media, agencies and brands across the industry; Experiential finally came of age.
Now, experiential marketing has now gone way beyond the pages of the marketing press. The wider business world has realised that, in this era of consumer power, an engaging experience can often be the deciding influence when choosing a product or service, across all categories.
This used to give marketing directors a bit of a problem. When the board asked them to explain experiential, many were unlikely to have enjoyed more than a brief flirtation with the discipline. In some instances, indeed, they may be guilty of a one-night stand about which they haven’t given a single second’s thought since the brand ambassadors got back into the van and the experiential agency’s bill was paid.
Yet as more and more campaigns prove, experiential works best when it is used – relevantly – at the heart of integrated marketing activity, because effective experiential is all about engendering not simply a brand experience but also a real brand relationship.
To create that brand/consumer relationship, marketing directors need to work in close partnership with experiential agencies/divisions. A brief flirtation with experiential as a tactical add-on will not yield the top-flight results the discipline can deliver. Of course experiential can introduce people to brands and prepare them for additional marketing – but it can do much more.
If planned properly, experiential can retain, reappraise, as well as recruit by taking a brand out of its traditional environment and challenging the consumer to re-evaluate it, turning customer interaction into a long-term brand-building tool.
That, in turn, gives experiential agencies a big responsibility. If they want to build the consumer/brand relationship and convince clients that experiential should be a core element in the marketing mix, they must behave like real integrated agencies, understanding – and helping their clients understand – how people navigate and interact with brands.
They must demonstrate that experiential is not just engaging and effective but that it also has real brand-building power which can include taking the brand to the consumer in their own environment, event sponsorship, inviting consumers to events – and even partnerships with other relevant brands to create a shared experience.
The most effective experiential campaigns are part of an end-to-end sales process involving data strategy, pre-event direct marketing to recruit the right prospects and post-event direct marketing to continue the dialogue.
If the experiential agency uses all these creative and strategic tools, it need have no fear of the Marketing Director’s inevitable question: “So what did we actually achieve for our money…?”
Brand experience lets consumers immerse themselves in a brand's ethos, and smart marketers now place experiential at the heart of the marketing campaign. Unlike the days when experiential was used as a tactical strategy to deliver short-term sales, live experiences now frequently form the backbone of an integrated campaign, with other media channels, especially digital, playing an ever increasing part; in amplifying the activity and ensuring an on-going conversation with consumers.
Agencies which use this approach are able to knock on the Marketing Director’s door with a great story to tell, one with a really happy commercial ending.
A key example from my own career (whilst at Billington Cartmell’s Closer) was Mazda. They wanted an experiential event to address consumers’ perception of the brand and to increase sales. Operation Renesis was highly motivational, with key brand truths at its core, but was also developed into a multi-faceted integrated campaign (including digital advertising and DM) to ensure the right attendees were selected. An amazing 20,000 people signed up, and they selected 3500 bulls-eye prospects. Post-event, they delivered nearly 1000 test drives (1200% above the normal response rates expected from a stand-alone DM campaign!) and 348 cars were sold as a direct result of the campaign. That’s experiential ROI – but it would not have been achieved without the framework of a bigger integrated campaign idea.
The Mazda story is not about ‘automotive’ but is a process that should be employed across all sectors. It’s about a way of thinking about experiential that focuses on commercial results. It starts with commercial objectives, and ends with commercial success – and in between is the award-winning ‘integrated’ magic of which we as an industry should be rightly proud!
Finally, it is about delivery. Brands need agencies that have an in-depth pragmatic approach to excellence. There are multiple facets to experiential delivery that are both constantly changing and influential from third party and external factors.
Brands need to trust that their specialists can deliver an experiential advantage across these facets; such as an experiential insight, strategy, logistical expertise, venue strategy, promotional staffing, production and build, campaign management and of course reporting, evaluation and ROI…
ROI which is another story, except to say, when an agency gets this right and it is built into the objectives of each campaign coherently, this will allow agencies, to triumphantly return to their clients post campaign and potentially ask albeit more subtly, another line from Jerry McGuire, “Show me the money!”
5th Feb 2013 posted by Leyton
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Tags: Experiential marketing marketing live brand experience sampling events staffing promotional staffing LIVE event staff specialist staff hospitality staff brand engagement sponsorship
Is social media a waste of time? - Malcolm Faulds discusses...
If you are like most small businesses, you and your team are stretched thin. If you even have a team. All day long you are servicing customers, delivering products, managing finances and doing whatever it takes to keep your business up and running. The last thing you need is to waste time. But for many small businesses, that’s exactly what they are doing when it comes to marketing with social media.
Here are six steps to make sure you don’t waste time in social media:
1. Pick the right channels.
You know that location is everything in business, so make sure you are in the right place. What social media sites do your customers use? How do they use them? Where do they turn to research your product? You need to be where they are and where they are talking to each other. For example, if you run a restaurant, you should pay attention to Yelp. If you have a jogging-goods store, you may want to engage with folks on RunKeeper. If you offer laser hair removal you should know all about Groupon (if you don’t already).
2. Write posts for your customers, not you.
You can’t have a meaningful dialogue with customers if you don’t know what they want to talk about. Think about the questions you hear every day from customers. Look at what people are talking about on discussion boards, in blog comments, on competitor sites, and on review sites. Engage with active customers individually by answering their questions and asking for feedback. Their responses will give you ideas for new blog posts and places to engage folks, and may even lead to new promotions or offerings. Remember, social media marketing is about your customers; it’s not about you.
3. Give to Get: What offers can you make to drive loyalty?
Everyone loves a deal, and they love to share it when they find one. Access to offers is one of the biggest reasons people follow brands in social media. Give them something exclusive. Make them feel special and encourage them to share it with their friends on Facebook and Twitter. It’s a great way to get people buzzing about you. It will build your following fast, and it’s a heck of a lot less expensive than what you pay sites like Living Social or Groupon to distribute your offer.
4. Mix it up. Dull content is like Spam.
You’ve heard it before, but it’s worth repeating. Social media is a conversation. Conversations can be insanely boring if you say the same thing over and over again. Add variety to your posts. Ask for feedback and questions. Run a contest or a sweepstakes. Try humor, and candor. Invite people to submit photos of their family and friends using your products. Share the stories of your best customers. This is your community online, make it fun.
5. Budget enough time to engage, or else hire someone.
You are making a commitment to your customers and you have to follow through. Make it a daily routine. Schedule reminders in your Google calendar. Cover your desk with yellow stickies. Do whatever it takes. This is an important task that is part of your job. If you don’t have the time for it, find someone who does. Make sure that person understands your business completely, has the authority to solve customer problems, and can communicate with the public in a professional way.
6. Use the right tools.
Like any project, the right tools can make the job a lot easier. The Internet has many free tools you can use to monitor discussion and measure the impact of your efforts. Some of my favorites are Tweetdeck to manage Twitter, Topsy for trending discussion volume over time, and Socialmention for evaluating the sentiment of conversations surrounding your industry. To make your update posting easier, check out Posterous for distributing updates to all your networks and communities, and Cinch.fm for recording voice messages on the phone that can be shared with your social network followers.
7th May 2012 posted by Leyton
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Tags: media social media social marketing Facebook twitter experiential business
Marketers Stress Importance of Offering Value in 2012
Marketers expect the squeeze on disposable incomes to continue at least until next summer with inflation continuing to outstrip wage increases and consumer spending remaining subdued.
Research from Verdict says that growth in consumer spending, at 1.2%, will be the lowest in 40 years, while the Institute for Public Policy Research recently said economic growth will be even lower than the 0.9% predicted by the government and unemployment higher.
Against this backdrop, marketers are preparing for consumers becoming increasingly savvy. It is expected that they will research more - through forums, social media and word of mouth - to compare brands not just on price but on the service offered.
Mike Hoban, chief marketing officer of Confused.com, says brands that do not cater to what many are calling the “professional” shopper will suffer.
“Unless you can say ‘I’m offering good value’ be prepared to go to the wall,” he adds.
Rick Vlemmiks, the departing commercial director of British Gas, says that marketers’ biggest challenge will be balancing price and customer experience.
“Next year will be all about value, value, value. It won’t be about discounting and selling things for cheap, it will be about communicating to consumers what they get for their money.
“It’s all about value, not being the cheapest. It’s about reassuring customers and giving them relevant propositions and brilliant products.”
Offering differentiation will be particularly important in sectors at the coal face of the UK’s economic downturn. In retail, for example, where growth is expected to be flat at best, marketers say that customer experience will help brands steal share from rivals in stagnant markets.
Craig Inglis, marketing director of John Lewis, says: “The economy is really challenging and for us next year it is about leveraging our differentials like Never Knowingly Undersold, which we will continue with next year because it’s really cutting through.”
Chris Lawson, Guardian News and Media’s content sales and marketing director, adds that brands need to continue to invest in customer insight despite a tighter rein on spending.
“You need to keep the customer the focus and truly understand your audience and the relationship you have with them by making the products and services that are the best for your market.
“You need to build a direct relationship, ensure you have a continuous dialogue and take into account the rapidly evolving media choices and platforms.”
Away from the UK, marketers with international brands are faced with very different challenges. Global marketers say the growth of the middle class in emerging economies such as China and India will continue to present opportunities that the depressed economies in Europe and North America will not.
Richard Munturo, global chief marketing officer at Volvo, says: “I look at the whole world and get to be a bit more of an optimist than someone focussing on just the UK in another year of austerity, or the EU and the drama in the Eurozone.
“On the optimistic side, there is no time in human history when more people are becoming middle class. When you start thinking about the level of economic and class mobility in places like China, you can’t help but feel that there is hope.”
Author: Russell Parson, Mktg Week
4th Jan 2012 posted by Leyton
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Tags: marketing business experiential economy recession spending power
Top five experiential marketing tips (from the USA)
Earlier this year, 2Fish managing director Adam Mortimer attended the 2011 Event Marketing Summit in Chicago. He’s identified five top trends in experiential marketing that will deliver the most effective consumer brand experiences.
1. Digital is integral to experiential
While experiential marketing takes place at a certain time and place, truly successful experiential marketing generates ongoing interest and conversation – which is why integrating digital channels, is essential. They allow audiences to re-tell your brand story to their networks with conviction. Make sure your agency has carefully considered how assets created during the program may be captured and shared. Mountain Dew did it well – driving fans to first collaborate online to develop the name, colour, packaging and even TVCs. Three teams then criss-crossed the US to tap into the passion and enthusiasm of Mountain Dew fans. Teams were present at large scale events, skate parks, festivals and even turned their own homes into voting headquarters! Photos and videos were shared real-time across the web creating a campaign buzz that reached national news broadcasts and press.
2. Handheld mobile devices on the ground
The combination of personal location data and the constant presence of mobile phones means marketers have entirely new ways to engage limited only by battery life. As marketing evolves from creating impressions to immersion, engagement and amplification, increasingly the mobile phone is proving to have the greatest reach. Mobile smartphones enable the closest relationship to audiences via content consumption, interactivity and sharing via social platforms. The ideal brand experience is that in which brands relate to audiences via a physical connection to generate immersive, unforgettable experiences to be actively shared with text to win voting, contests and experiences leading the way. And, of course, capturing participant data and providing a valuable brand-in-the-hand measurement tool.
3. Measurement: the data behind the experience
The emergence of sophisticated measurement methodologies and customised evaluation practices reflect how the future of experiential marketing is linked to outcomes analysis and performance. Delivering brand engagement measures has typically been more difficult than counting impressions or readership numbers alone. The best measurement models apply the same rigor as traditional media evaluation, with emerging trends indicating the brand experience is doing the heavy lifting in creating brand value along with brand engagement behaviour metrics . Immersive media technologies that collect real-time data along with mobile phone surveys and live data capture are proving highly effective in measuring brand sponsorship and event experience data. Measurement criteria can include dwell time, awareness, perceptions, engagement, intent/advocacy, brand fit, message delivery and feedback.
4. The hybrid agency model
The shift from creating impressions to encouraging deeper levels of engagement sees the traditional agency model in transition. The hybrid agency model operates best when there is a sense of partnership and a sustained focus on the quality of the brand experience as a creator of value. Agencies need to visualise the client brand experience at the heart of the exercise with all channels focusing efforts on how they are supporting and ‘living the brand’ – PR, online, sponsorship, retail, events and advertising working to support the brand experience. The proliferation of communication channels and subsequent reliance on numerous agencies requires a true two-way investment and sharing of knowledge - ideally with the client actively sharing plans, vision, issues, desired outcomes and challenges with agency groups. The agency group needs to then pro-actively take the initiative to present concepts that create engagement in new and exciting ways. It takes energy, depth of thinking, passion and consistent communication matched to defined objectives and tangible outcomes.
5. Scalable thinking and sustainability
It’s no longer enough for the consumer to love your product. Audiences have to love your process as well! Audiences will openly share their feelings around particular brand-poor practices, with the consequences and impact potentially far reaching. The benchmark experiential programs have a sustained emphasis on quality control processes, sustainable design methodologies, material origins, transportation, product specification, resource consumption, waste planning and life-cycle planning. There is now a global Sustainable Event Alliance to ensure knowledge is shared openly and best practices are maintained under a structured membership charter.
22th Nov 2011 posted by Leyton
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Tags: experiential marketing sampling digital promotional staff ROI
Experiential Food & drink Sampling
Experiential Events: Food and Drink Sampling
We were asked:
Q. Where can you do sampling and what are the limits on locations?
Q. How do you measure the effectiveness of the sampling activity, was the planning worth it?
Experiential marketers are constantly searching for new sampling opportunities, a yet to be discovered gem in what can sometimes be an already saturated market place.
While not a futile course of action, the majority of experiential locations have extensive history with either food or drink brands engaging in sampling activation.
These include; events, festivals, shopping malls, offices, train stations, schools, cinema, town centres, parks, beaches, sporting grounds, airports, universities, retail,
What are the limitations?
The following, by no means exhaustive, illustrate key limitations (and considerations) when formulating food sampling strategy:
As a commercial source of income, brands can be charged a range of site fees for sampling. Charged per day, for a more prestigious site space these costs can represent a large proportion of a budget.
Are we adhering to the venues positioning? Is the brand, its respective attributes and campaign in keeping with the venues ambitions?
More often than not venues impose sample size restrictions due to existing concessions i.e. shopping malls have food courts/restaurants
Too many times, we’ve witnessed a brand sampling; purely on what appears to be the only rationale: a high footfall. There is a common sense approach, whereby you need to analyse the message, consumer and interaction against the location. i.e. Sampling cereals at a train station in the evening rush hour will not be conducive for a quality interaction, as a consumers mind set is focused on getting home / social engagements; evening dinner, a glass of wine…
Exaggerated data – this is rare, but on occasions, venues (rather sales divisions) can sometimes amplify their positive attributes to a brand to favour their venue over another. It is vital to have detailed experience to ensure you’ll maximise your potential and you’ve chosen correctly.
This needs to be mutually agreed post defining the business, brand and campaign objectives: from here a tailored approach to analyse the following attributes:
- Metric deliverables: Number of interactions / samples
- Vox pops
- Traffic driven on line
- Word of mouth / advocacy
- Bespoke research models to measure brand perception/ buying habits
Planning worth it?
As with all things experiential, planning is essential to maximise the results against a client’s objectives.
Strategic planning at the beginning: dissecting a brief, understanding the objectives and the consumer will enable you to generate your insight into delivering the right solutions: the creative route, the mechanic, where, how etc.
However, this is then underpinned with a calculated plan to realise these ambitions:
At LIVE we have developed an internal planning system that ensures all our account handlers systematically adhere to planning for all campaigns.
This is a proven methodology that has ensured our success to date, with one of our clients, Katrina Farmer, Brand Manager for Kallo Food’s Rice Dream stating:
“Working with LIVE is a breath of fresh air, their knowledge and insight in what is right for our brand and consumers, fuelled with meticulous planning & delivery have surpassed our objectives this year and we’re planning next year already,”
6th Sep 2011 posted by Leyton
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Tags: sampling experiential food brand engagement, promotional staff event staff venues marketing promotions
Our books for June
This month with have been abiding by the law reading novels by John Grisham, there are more, but here are our top 5….
Grisham’s sixth spellbinding novel of legal intrigue and corporate greed displays all of the intricate plotting, fast-paced action, humour, and suspense that have made him the pretty popular. In his first courtroom thriller since A Time To Kill, John Grisham tells the story of a young man barely out of law school who finds himself taking on one of the most powerful, corrupt, and ruthless companies in America — and exposing a complex, multibillion-dollar insurance scam. In his final semester of law school Rudy Baylor is required to provide free legal advice to a group of senior citizens, and it is there that he meets his first “clients,” Dot and Buddy Black. Their son, Donny Ray, is dying of leukaemia, and their insurance company has flatly refused to pay for his medical treatments. While Rudy is at first sceptical, he soon realises that the Blacks really have been shockingly mistreated by the huge company, and that he just may have stumbled upon one of the largest insurance frauds anyone’s ever seen — and one of the most lucrative and important cases in the history of civil litigation. The problem is, Rudy’s flat broke, has no job, hasn’t even passed the bar, and is about to go head-to-head with one of the best defence attorneys — and powerful industries — in America.
Every jury has a leader, and the verdict belongs to him. In Biloxi, Mississippi, a landmark tobacco trial with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake begins routinely, then swerves mysteriously off course. The jury is behaving strangely, and at least one jurors is convinced he’s being watched. Soon they have to be sequestered. Then a tip from an anonymous young woman suggests she is able to predict the jurors’ increasingly odd behaviour. Is the jury somehow being manipulated, or even controlled? If so, by whom? And, more important, why?
At the top of his class at Harvard Law, he had his choice of the best in America. He made a deadly mistake. When Mitch McDeere signed on with Bendini, Lambert & Locke of Memphis, he thought he and his beautiful wife, Abby, were on their way. The firm leased him a BMW, paid off his school loans, arranged a mortgage and hired him a decorator. Mitch McDeere should have remembered what his brother Ray — doing fifteen years in a Tennessee jail — already knew. You never get nothing for nothing. Now the FBI has the lowdown on Mitch’s firm and needs his help. Mitch is caught between a rock and a hard place, with no choice — if he wants to live.
In his final hours in the Oval Office, the outgoing President grants a controversial last-minute pardon to Joel Backman, a notorious Washington power broker who has spent the last six years hidden away in a federal prison. What no one knows is that the President issues the pardon only after receiving enormous pressure from the CIA. It seems Backman, in his power broker heyday, may have obtained secrets that compromise the world’s most sophisticated satellite surveillance system.
Backman is quietly smuggled out of the country in a military cargo plane, given a new name, a new identity, and a new home in Italy. Eventually, after he has settled into his new life, the CIA will leak his whereabouts to the Israelis, the Russians, the Chinese, and the Saudis. Then the CIA will do what it does best: sit back and watch. The question is not whether Backman will survive—there is no chance of that. The question the CIA needs answered is, who will kill him?
The Pelican Brief
In suburban Georgetown a killer’s Reeboks whisper on the front floor of a posh home… In a seedy D.C. porno house a patron is swiftly garrotted to death… The next day America learns that two of its Supreme Court justices have been assassinated. And in New Orleans, a young law student prepares a legal brief… To Darby Shaw it was no more than a legal shot in the dark, a brilliant guess. To the Washington establishment it was political dynamite. Suddenly Darby is witness to a murder — a murder intended for her. Going underground, she finds there is only one person she can trust — an ambitious reporter after a newsbreak hotter than Watergate — to help her piece together the deadly puzzle. Somewhere between the bayous of Louisiana and the White House’s inner sanctums, a violent cover-up is being engineered. For somone has read Darby’s brief. Someone who will stop at nothing to destroy the evidence of an unthinkable crime.
They watched Danilo Silva for days before they finally grabbed him. He was living alone, a quiet life on a shady street in Brazil; a simple life in a modest home, certainly not one of luxury. Certainly no evidence of the fortune they thought he had stolen. He was much thinner and his face had been altered. He spoke a different language, and spoke it very well. But Danilo had a past with many chapters. Four years earlier he had been Patrick Lanigan, a young partner in a prominent Biloxi law firm. He had a pretty wife, a new daughter, and a bright future. Then one cold winter night Patrick was trapped in a burning car and died a horrible death. When he was buried his casket held nothing more than his ashes. From a short distance away, Patrick watched his own burial. Then he fled. Six weeks later, a fortune was stolen from his ex-law firm’s offshore account. And Patrick fled some more. But they found him.
22th Jun 2011 posted by Leyton
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