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Oops…Avoid These Experiential Marketing Mistakes

Marketing fads come and go, but experiential marketing isn’t going to be yesterday’s news. Why? Because as humans, our emotions drive most of our purchasing behavior — and our emotions are influenced by our experiences.

Experiential marketing is all about creating opportunities for your target audience to experience your brand — touch, taste, hear, feel and see your products or services. But it doesn’t end there — consumers must make a positive emotional connection with your brand to become loyal customers.

Consumers’ interactions with your brand must make them feel healthier, more successful, more attractive, wealthier, hipper, proud to be doing something for a greater cause — come away with a positive impression because of how your brand made them feel.

Many companies embrace the idea of experiential marketing but then don’t achieve the results they expected. Often, it’s due to one of these mistakes.

Common Experiential Marketing Mistakes:

Failing to Establish Clear Objectives

While almost any experiential marketing program is designed to increase brand awareness with the objective of increasing sales, spend time identifying exactly what you want to achieve and by when.

For example, your objective could be something like “increase Facebook community by 100,000 within six months” or “make 1,000 contacts that convert to 250 strong leads by X date.” Some programs will have multiple objectives, which is fine if they are specific. Objectives also need to be measurable and realistic.

And last, the experiences you create must align with your objectives. “Gain X new customers” is a different objective than “strengthen relationships with existing customers” so the experience that is going to result in the strongest emotional connection might differ for each audience.

Failing to Generate an Emotional Connection with Consumers

Often, companies approach experiential marketing as another “tool” in their marketing arsenal. For consumers to choose your brand over your competitors’ and become loyal customers, they need to be motivated by their emotions.

Countless times companies invest a lot of effort and money into creating an experiential marketing event, but consumers leave without forming that emotional connection. Often it is because the experience doesn’t feel authentic or genuine to the consumer. The consumer should feel like “this brand gets me” to create a memorable experience.

The reasons vary, but it can something big like targeting the wrong audience or small like hiring the wrong brand ambassadors to interact with consumers.

Targeting or Attracting the Wrong Audience

This is a biggie and it happens a lot. Many companies try to connect with as big an audience as possible when targeting a smaller, more specific audience results in a better outcome.

For example, you’re promoting a luxury, gas-guzzling car at an event that attracts 50,000 people, but most attendees are young, environmentally conscious and not wealthy. They might swing by your booth and enter your drawing to win something or get a freebie, but those won’t be quality leads.

Or sponsoring a music festival and trying to connect with all attendees instead of focusing on women aged 18 to 30.

Failing to Follow Up Quickly

What you do after a campaign can be almost as important as the campaign itself.

Say you achieved your goal of increasing your Facebook community by 100,000 after a successful experiential event and most have a favorable impression of your brain. Now is the time to follow up and strengthen the connection while their memories are still fresh. Thank them for connecting with you and send them an offer. Or ask them for feedback on the event — what they’d like to see next time, etc.

If you collected email addresses or phone numbers, prioritize leads and reach out right away and more than once. People are busy and get swallowed in the minutiae of daily life, so the last thing you want is for those positive feelings you worked so hard to create fade into distant memories.

Insufficient Budgeting

This seems like a no-brainer but it happens — the program is underway and the launch is coming up, but then there aren’t sufficient funds to take care of every aspect.

In addition to considering the obvious costs like promoting, hiring vendors, printing banners, paying permitting fees, etc. — you also need to consider expenses such as the need to hire an audience for the kickoff so it looks good for the media or last minute purchases.

A Final Word

These are just a few of the mistakes marketers can make when planning and executing experiential marketing programs. The bottom line is consumers are willing to make connections with brands who make them feel valued and understood. A well-planned, sufficiently budgeted and perfectly executed campaign will do just that!

At Marketing Operations Group, we carefully evaluate your brand, objectives and audience before we develop and execute an experiential marketing campaign — while consumers make purchasing decisions based on emotions, we make marketing decisions based on careful analysis!

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