The beauty of bringing smaller live events into your marketing mix is that you get the best of both worlds. You can be nomadic, taking your brand to your target audience when you know they are going to be there. You can also get very creative choosing a venue close to a famous event where, to showcase your products in the grounds, would cost a fortune.
Imagine, for example, how effective it could be to create an event that links your product with a major football tournament at Wembley. You might not have the budget to plan a campaign at the actual match, but what about at a large supermarket a mile away?
The venue should be able to tell you how their footfall increases during major games. You can make sure you are there when it does.
If you have an online furniture store but would love to showcase your items live somewhere, you could rent space in a shopping centre as a temporary showroom. People can finally see the furniture they’ve liked on your online store for a while.
Ikea are the experts here in putting together temporary apartments in their warehouse stores.
Showing the effect of key items together, and how this makes us feel, creates exactly the kind
of emotional connection you’re after. Ikea are so good at this that their customers don’t even mind having to source, load and build the furniture themselves once they’ve fallen in love with it on display.
All they remember on the way home is the taste of the meatballs.
The most important thing to remember is that bringing personal experiences into your marketing mix is extremely powerful and there are many ways you can do this today. It doesn’t have to be a difficult process or a costly one. It just has to resonate with your target audience.
Any face-to-face marketing campaign will be more successful if the thinking about why, how, where and when you’re going to do it is clear from the start.
Here is a checklist to help get you on the right footing.
Set your objectives
- Understand what you want to achieve at the end before you start. This is not about random acts of marketing.
- Plan your campaign with purpose and always ask yourself why you’re doing it. Once you’ve created an emotional response in your audience, it’s very difficult to change it.
- Understand the context of your experiential marketing campaign and how it harmonises with your other messaging.
- Is it part of something bigger or a standalone project? Done well, face- to-face marketing can hugely amplify your other marketing efforts.
- How scalable do you want it to be?
- How will you join up all the touch points of your larger campaign?
- How are you planning to capture leads and what is your plan to follow them up?
Find your location
- Who do you want to profile? Get demographic information from locations and understand what your ideal customer looks like.
- Where do they shop?
- What type of venues will work best for you? Tesco superstores? London’s South Bank?
- Do you want a highly targeted engagement or is volume more important?
- Once you have a shortlist of venues, edit, edit and edit until you understand fully what a great fit for you looks like.
Refine your criteria
- Consider all the details. What hours do your shortlisted venues operate? Do those hours work for you?
- Are you looking for a dispersed campaign for strategic product trials, or one big hit for maximum impact in a single location?
- How will your brand be represented at your event?
Do you want your own people there, or will it be better to hire in promotional professionals?
- It’s critical to maintain brand integrity and balance it with efficiency in running your campaign – however you’re known online, take that personality into the real world.
- Have you checked that your favourite venue is available?
- Are there any seasonality considerations?
- Are there any links with other events you could leverage? For example, could you run a motoring campaign at a Tesco superstore near Goodwood during Festival of Speed? Or a sporting-based campaign at a garden centre close to Twickenham stadium on a rugby day?
On the day
- You’ll get out what you put in – be ready to engage and communicate.
- Do not sell. This is about giving back to your customers and creating a pleasant, informative, valuable experience for them.
- Don’t be frightened to invest in your image and spend time creating a compelling message. Be prepared.
- However you push your business digitally, you must be consistent physically.
After the day
- Use every event. Follow up hot leads by phone, email, social media – however they want to be communicated with. It’s about building contact, rapport and trust.
- Make sure you are ready to capture leads on the day and have a plan to follow up. Leads decay every hour after the event. Within 48 hours, your chances of converting have diminished dramatically.
- How will you use the information you’ve gathered in your other campaigns, on your website or on social media? Don’t let the emotional connection you’ve created with your customers go to waste.