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How measurable is Experiential Marketing really?

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Aldo's experiential campaign in Oxford Street
Aldo's Experiential Marketing Campaign in Oxford Street was a great hit on the day. But did the campaign contribute value to the brand long term?

In a world where consumers are faced with more choice than ever and brands need to stand out from the crowd, Experiential Marketing has, unsurprisingly, quickly become a favourite with advertisers. But, with cost per contact typically being higher than many other forms of marketing, clients and agencies alike feel the increasing need for justification on experiential spend. Unhelpfully, Experiential Marketing has developed a dubious reputation for being un-measurable over the years.

In reality, however, Experiential Marketing is not only one of the most measurable methods of marketing around, but also one that can provide unique insights into consumer and brand behaviour when used with clear objectives. Experiential Marketing Campaigns can be measured in two stages: The Activity Stage that measures the immediate reach of the campaign and the Effect Stage that measures the extended reach of the Experiential Marketing Campaign.

Measuring the immediate reach of an Experiential Marketing activity requires agencies to track the results achieved on the day of the activity. This includes, for example, how many people engaged in the activity, received a sample, took a leaflet or left their data.

The more heavily debated (and often doubted) point is whether an Experiential Marketing campaign creates and adds value to the brand in the longer term and if this can be measured accurately or at all.

The good news is that as the Experiential Marketing Industry has grown, several ways of measuring the effect of Experiential Marketing Activity have become customary:

  • Sales vouchers and money-off coupons are often used to get consumers to purchase post event. From this, redemption rates and sales uplift can be measured during and after an Experiential Marketing Campaign.
  • If the campaign was aiming to collect as much consumer data as possible, then measuring both the quantity and the quality of the data becomes an important factor in determining the success and effect of the Experiential Marketing campaign.Many agencies now also use video or pictures of the interactions with the brand to show the emotional reactions of the consumer. Reactions from participants (good and bad) are a valuable resource for the client going forward, providing unique insights into the brand perception and consumer attitudes.
  • Using surveys, questionnaires and sales-figure-tracking to measure the long term effects of the Experiential Marketing will help identify post-campaign change in consumer behavior and could prove increased trust and confidence in a brand.

And these are only just the basic measurement options for a stand-alone Experiential Marketing campaign. To lend an Experiential Marketing campaign immortality and to further extend the reach of the campaign, it should travel into the digital space, which has become a key tool in the spreading of WOM and sharing the positive brand ‘feelings’ created by an Experiential Marketing campaign.
Measuring these interactions is a key element in providing evidence of a successful piece of Experiential Marketing activity, so make sure you get your campaigns integrated with your social media streams and count your Facebook friends, brand likes and Twitter followers.

Whilst all these measurement options clearly demonstrate that the effect of Experiential Marketing is very measurable indeed, the Experiential Marketing industry still has some work to do until the measurement issue is completely resolved: The measurement of Experiential Marketing on a campaign by campaign basis is not a long-term-solution to the problem.
Industry key players need to develop a more strategic view on the effectiveness of Experiential Marketing and will hopefully soon agree an industry standard ROI framework for agencies to follow that will provide clients with the same familiar measurements as employed by more traditional forms of marketing, helping to install and increase trust in Experiential Marketing.

 

Written by: Miriam Kuhn, Marketing Coordinator