Stop Wasting Money On Events

You may think this is an odd statement for an experiential agency to make but it’s something we feel pretty strongly about.

It’s a great prompt to create a blog when we find ourselves having similar conversations about a key topic, and the conversation around how to get more value from experiential activation is something that we spend a lot of time discussing and focusing on.

With the millennial audience valuing experiences more than things, the pressure to take experiential campaigns from good to great has never been higher providing amazing opportunities for the brands that get this right.

As an agency that specialise in this space it’s an exciting challenge that’s had us pushing creative boundaries and continually innovating to take our activations to new and exciting levels. We thank our clients for giving us the head room and the space to really help their brands and businesses grow.

One commonly perceived downside of experience led marketing is that there is a pay off between creating great engagement, and doing this at scale. It’s not too hard to engage one person or even small groups but how do you do it to 10,000’s, if not 100,000’s or even 1,000,000’s?

It used to be impossible, that is until the invention of a little thing called the Internet. It’s by no means easy, but It doesn’t take a genius to realise that the digital channel provides us with a great tool for amplifying physical experience in the digital and social sphere, but doing it well and being truly effective; well that takes a bit more thought and experience.

We’ve put together a couple of things to consider when you’re planning your experiential strategy.

Have a Strategy and follow it!

Know where you’re going and what you want to achieve.

Understand where your audience is and where you want them to get to. We build a clear model that states what we want people to think, feel and do, and measure it!

Think

What perceptions do we want to change or create?

Feel

What emotions can we trigger?

DO

What action do we want them to take?

Get your story straight

Make sure you’ve got a clear motivating platform to communicate and bring it to life convincingly and brilliantly. Your experiences should be carefully considered and planned; it really is the little things that make the difference.

If you’ve not got your platform sorted you are just creating noise and clutter. There’s more on this in our  art of story telling blog.

Don’t just turn up

Just ‘turning up’ is the single best way to waste your money.

Average execution is one of the most frustrating and wasteful things we see across the event and experiential space. We’ve all heard the adage ‘go big or go home’ but doing things well doesn’t need to cost the earth.

With careful planning and thought, you can create great experiences that clearly articulate your brand story. But focus on it, allow a budget to activate and be realistic about how much to invest before signing up to the gate fee.

Invest In People

People are one of the most important parts of any experience, make sure your team are fully briefed about their roles and that they are capable, motivated and they want to be there.

Plan your content

Failing to plan is planning to fail (sorry it’s an old and overused phrase but it’s true).

Plan out your digital activation and pre-write your content, know what you’re saying, where you’re saying it and when.

We use a pre, during and post model when building a plan.

You should have a clearly predefined content calendar for all key stages to bring the event to life in the digital space, write the content and leave space for images and videos.

Seed

Create awareness and ‘buzz’ ahead of the activation, you can use teaser information, interviews, and images from previous events but start to tell your story early on.

If you’re planning to use live feeds like Facebook live or periscope make sure you bring attention to this before the activation. Tell people what you are doing, where and when, but don’t give the game away.

Content must be GREAT good content gets ignored

Make sure you have someone to capture good content from the experience; failing to do this is a big mistake.

Depending on your audience it doesn’t always mean you need a full production team in place but it’s also not advisable to rely on the office junior with their iPhone.

The reality is that most of the people you are talking to are only going to see this content so make it count!

If you’re shooting video a storyboard then plan this first based on the story you want to tell to.

If you’re using live streaming allow for flexibility but make sure you create a plan to communicate the experience effectively.

Harness the power of influencers

Make sure you get key people at the event that can share your story. Give them as many assets, press release images, videos; anything to help them get your content out there.

Today’s bloggers and vloggers live on the content they produce, so make it easy for them to share and they will. Ensure you are helping them more than they are helping you. This is a huge subject in itself so we have a related blog on getting user generated content that you might want to look through.

Be smart when you support your content 

This is a key one for me, Facebook is a great place for this but don’t think you can get away with organic content, Used correctly you can get great reach and engagement but factor a level of support into your budget. If you’re not putting the same investment in promoting your content as you are in its generation you are probably doing it wrong.

Measure your success

A common challenge with event activation and indeed a lot of marketing activity is measuring the all important ROI.

Think carefully about what you want to measure and how you are going to quantify the value back to the business.

If you plan in advance you can set key metrics to monitor success. Align these to your business objectives and work forward from there.

As an example;

  • Try implementing shallow depth interviews with people who attend your events to measure attitudinal change.
  • Use bounce back vouchers to show how events can drive sales.
  • Carefully monitor the balance of engagement and reach of your content to see how your events are influencing awareness around your brand.
  • Keep a careful track of your samples distributed and consider data collection to gauge response.

But whatever you do, ensure you have a clear plan that aligns to your strategy and set your KPI’s and benchmarks carefully.

So that’s class over.

We’d love to hear your stories and experiences on how you’ve got value out of your experiential campaigns.  If you’d like to get an objective view on your experiential campaigns and how we might work with you to create more value, we’d love to have a chat.

Jody@qm-eu.com