Without clear goals, experiential marketing campaigns can be wonderfully immersive and interactive, but without any measurable impact. Most modern brands know that a strong real-world presence pays dividends, but gauging how activations perform can be a puzzle. To make matters worse, there’s no one-size-fits-all formula for assessing.
To run a successful experiential marketing campaign, you need to set clear campaign objectives from the start.
Then you can accurately measure whether your experiential activation was a brand-boosting success, or a bit of a marketing mess.
Define your objectives
What do you want to achieve from your experiential marketing activation? Improved sales, signups or sentiment?
Setting well-defined objectives is critical to creating immersive, impactful brand activations. It helps keep the strategy aligned across all areas of your marketing operations. In experiential marketing especially, this integrated and simple approach produces the most meaningful results.
Some activations are carried out without objectives, because brands don’t believe experiential can be measured effectively, or they just don’t know how.
To draw real post-campaign insight, inspiration should be drawn from wider objectives. These objectives will invariably be either:
Perhaps you want to boost sales, particularly in one demographic or region. Alternatively, you might be aiming for sign-ups or engagement. This could be measured by comparing like-for-like sales or repeat purchases.
Your brand might be striving to change what people think and feel about it on a deeper and more personal level. This could be measured by comparing how many people agree with a certain sentiment about the brand before and after the campaign.
Strategic vs tactical
Is your campaign geared towards the long or short term?
A strategic campaign is designed to enhance a brand in a sustainable way. It shares the values and purpose of the company with consumers, and is the perfect opportunity to show the world what it represents and what it wants to be.
These are geared towards achieving a quicker return on investment and often have a narrower remit. This may be to hit a particular sales target, elicit a desired response or engage new audiences (e.g. using the campaign to create a viral social media post).
Understanding which of these camps your campaign falls into is important because:
- It helps you create a better experience
Just as matching your experiential objective to your overall marketing objective focuses your campaign, so does knowing the type of campaign you’re creating. Viewing it through either a strategic or tactical lens helps you to design its features more effectively and set relevant goals.
- It means you can measure against the right criteria
Assessing a campaign as either strategic or tactical dictates how you measure its success. Your campaign may effectively communicate the best aspects of your brand to consumers, but if you measure it by its immediate sales impact, your results might look disappointing.
Shaping your goals
Once you’ve settled on your objectives and you understand the type of campaign you’re planning, you can set measurable goals. It may be easier to think of goals as performance measures that sit under your primary objective, and determine whether it’s been met. You can choose relevant performance measures by asking yourself the following questions:
1.What business challenge prompted the campaign?
What are your main marketing priorities and is there anything restricting your brand’s growth?
2.What will the campaign solve?
What’s the desired outcome of the activation? This should be your experiential objective; the thing that you expect to see an improvement in because of the campaign.
3.How can this be quantified?
This will be determined entirely by your objective and the kind of campaign you’re going to execute.
Some relevant performance indicators include:
- Opinion change
- Purchase rates
- Return on investment
- Demographic shifts
- Competitor comparison
For example, the skincare company Sanex noticed that their brand was viewed as cold and clinical. To challenge this perception, they designed an experiential marketing campaign to bring a sense of warmth and humanity to their brand. Their measurable goal was linked to the statement: “Sanex is a brand I feel close to.” The experience boosted agreement with the sentiment by 87%.
Clear goals are the first step to devising and delivering exceptional experiences. But a great experience shouldn’t be hard to measure.
That’s why we’ve put together REAL WORLD IMPACT, our guide to measuring brand experiences in the real world. It gives you everything you need to know about experiential reporting; from calculating ROI to gauging impact.
Download it for free, below.