Of course you can measure experiential

In this guest posting, Mark Pickering argues that the return from experiential marketing should be as measurable as any other discipline.

As a practitioner of a new form of marketing I am constantly told by marketers and agency suits, “experiential cannot be measured”. Frankly, that’s complete twaddle.  

Mark PickeringThe fact is that when planned and implemented effectively, experiential is one of the most measurable media around and one that can provide unique insights into consumer and brand behaviour when used with targeted campaigns and clear objectives.

The core focus of experiential marketing is to create brand evangelists who then drive word of mouth within their network, broadcasting the positive ‘feelings’ they have had via a brand experience and ‘converting’ that network to their passionate feelings for the brand.

The targeted nature of the medium lends itself to providing brands with the perfect opportunity to measure itself in the world of emotions and senses and to really gauge brand ‘love’, as well as drive sales and trial.

Traditionally brand events and experiential have always worked closely with PR to ensure amplification of the activation pre and post event. Creating the ultimate brand experience that involves thousands on the day but also gets measured mass media coverage is the goal of any activation campaign.

Sales vouchers and direct purchase driving promotions are used to get consumers to purchase post event and from this sales uplift can be measured during or straight after the activation.

Recently digital, mobile and social media has come to be a key tool in the spreading of WOM and sharing the positive brand ‘feelings’ created by a campaign. It’s particularly useful in getting influential brand ambassadors to utilise their network to talk and interact with the brand via online and social media channels. Measuring these interactions is a key element in providing evidence of a successful activation.

These tools alone really show the measurability of experiential marketing, which provide clear metrics, and tracking of sales for brands. This is far more tangible and accurate than measurements such as an eyeball or a readership numeric which those traditional marketers that doubt experiential’s measurability and their agencies use. With experiential providing a direct, targeted approach to connecting with consumers, these numbers have far more accuracy and weight than traditional media.

Many agencies, brands and events utilize surveys pre and post activation (either with teams or via email or internet) to gather information about the brand activation at a particular event sponsorship property or on-site at campaign locations or stunts. They now use candid video or pics of the interactions with the brand to show the emotional reactions of the consumer and vox pops from participants (good and bad) are valuable IP for the client going forward. Once again, these methods of evaluation can provide unique insights into the brand and on the best ways to communicate with consumers.

Essentially, amplification across all channels, with an integrated approach, through a variety of media is the key and experiential can in many ways provide far more meaningful research about the target market from their measurement tools as well as provide valuable information about the brand, the category and its competitors. This is unique to the medium.

Measurability will be the key focus for brands and agencies in the future and experiential – working closely with its client and partner agencies – is at the forefront of providing new and more in depth insights into brand and consumer behaviour. Particularly in those specific areas where the target consumer can be found; whether that be a festival, in the supermarket, at a park or on a beach – experiential is one of the memorable, AND measurable media around.


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