Brands are pouring more and more money these days into experiential marketing campaigns. Although social media engagement is still a strong tool, in-person interactions are proving much more useful in driving sales. But treating your experiences like a conference or tradeshow booth won’t give you the success you’re looking for. Whether it’s a whimsical display that caters to the senses or interactive gaming stations that invoke fun and laughter, there’s a ton of ways to get creative. To help ensure your experiential event is a success, we’ve come up with a list of common mistakes to avoid.
Mistake #1: Not understanding the customer experience
If you want customers to stay loyal, you must invest in the customer experience. When you put the consumer first, the rewards are immense. When using experiential marketing campaigns, you must go beyond handing out promotions and free samples.
It’s all about catering to needs and desires instead. You must foster positive emotions in people, even if those positive emotions are not directly linked to the product or service you’re selling. Simply put, you want potential customers to associate your brand with a certain feeling. That feeling must make them feel confident, worthy and fulfilled.
So when designing your experience, it’s helpful to momentarily forget about how you can get a sale out of your customers. Focus on how to make them feel good and appreciated instead.
Mistake #2: Lack of big-picture thinking
Avoid viewing each experience as a one-off event. Rather, think of your marketing campaign on a macro level. Plan out how each experience will tie into your overarching business objectives. Use the leverage from your experiential event to launch other marketing initiatives that will keep the dialogue going. After all, retaining customers is sometimes more valuable than acquiring new ones. Build off your experiential event to strengthen your relationships:
- 1.Give more value than you take. The more value a customer can draw from your experience, the better their perceived relationship with your brand will be.
- 2.Reward loyal customers. Spend money on customers who keep coming back to your brand; the feeling of exclusivity will empower them, making their business feel valued.
- 3.Bring customers into the boardroom. Get feedback from loyal customers who know your business; they’ll happily do it because they’ll want to be involved in improving the products they already love
Mistake #3: No chances for audience engagement
When planning your experiential campaign, think of all the ways in which participants can engage with your brand. Give your audience a world-class experience with big, bright visuals they can interact with. Gaming stations, video walls, and free Internet connectivity are all useful ways to get customers involved. Make sure your activations are bold enough to invoke curiosity. Here are some of the ways in which you can engage your audience:
- 1.Live videocast capabilities using Facebook Live and Periscope
- 2.Green screen photo/video booths with social media connectivity
- 3.Touchscreen surveys with incentives and instant giveaways
- 4.Virtual Reality (VR) headsets
Hire a company like Big Digital that specializes in impactful displays to help you achieve successful results. A good experiential campaign should put your customers on a ‘journey’ they’ll remember for a long time.
Mistake #4: Not leveraging the power of social media influencers
Your experiential campaign must have a strong social media strategy in order to be relevant and successful. Influencers are social media users who have a strong following, usually with credibility in a certain area. Never underestimate their power. When you connect with an influencer who loves your brand, you can bet they’ll spread the word. A good portion of your marketing strategy should focus on finding and cultivating influencers. Here are some added benefits of leveraging these powerhouses:
- 1.Content shared by an influencer does not feel spammy or aggressive
- 2.Average people trust the opinions of influencers nearly as much as friends and family
- 3.They have a large following of very specific audiences that your brand can tap into
To find social media influencers, use hashtags to find ones that are already interested in your product. Search hashtags that are relevant to your company or target market. Then reach out to those who have the Top Posts for that particular tag. You can also search through your own social media followers to see if any of them have a large following themselves. You’ll have an easier time convincing them to promote your brand if they’re already a huge fan.
By avoiding the above pitfalls, you can ensure your experiential marketing campaign has covered all its bases. As mentioned before, never think of your experience as a one-off event. Instead, think of it as the foundation of a solid marketing strategy.
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