Integrating experiential marketing into any program requires multiple steps for success.
- Integrate early and often: Begin the experiential marketing integration planning process as early as possible and make sure the desired end result or consumer behavior is first in the planning process. The more links you can create between media, data, technology and your field marketing the better success the program will achieve.
- Strategic consistency: It is crucial to ensure consistency across the board. Resist placing too much load on any one tactic. Knowing how you want each medium to integrate within the program’s strategy will drive the desired results.
- Message consistency: The overall message must be an integral part of each experiential marketing program. Every medium has a unique methodology through which it communicates to the target. The same features and benefits, the same value proposition and the same tone must be adopted across all tactics within the integrated program.
- Creative consistency: As with any marketing program, creativity is the key to capturing the imagination of the target demographic. People are visual and take their purchase cues from their past experiences. By controlling creativity with consistency in color, design, image, theme and identity the integrity of the campaign becomes both familiar and impactful.
- Establish performance and reporting benchmarks: All tracking and measurement metrics must be established up front. The infrastructure of the program is dependent upon the numbers and reporting processes that are established at the very beginning in the planning stages and will allow you to make modifications during the program.
- Outline the complete experience: Mapping the complete process and experience to ensure all elements of the integrated marketing plan work with each other is essential. What do consumers see or engage in during this experiential marketing program? How is data captured at each step? How is the desired behavior rewarded? How does the marketing program live on beyond the final planned interaction?
- Training: Take the time to have the account managers train the field marketing managers, brand ambassadors and logistics teams. While a headline can be crafted, edited and re-written, the people who are engaging the consumer are answering questions and must be highly credible. These representatives are meeting face-to-face with potential customers, consumers and partners of your brand. Think of the consumer engagement as a live advertisement.
- Communication: Opening up cross-discipline communication may be the most critical component in achieving success when creating and integrating an experiential marketing program. The hallmark of a well-crafted program features clear lines of open communication between internal departments on both the brand side and the agency side.
- Commitment: When an integrated experiential marketing program is launched, all related follow through that touch the program is critical, which is why it’s important to commit to the whole process. The big payoff to an integrated marketing program is engaging face-to-face with the target consumer because live experiences influence the desired behavior.
- Experience: Choose partners, agencies, resources and internal influencers carefully. This includes people who believe in and understand the value of face-to-face marketing. This will make the sell-in and commitment hurdles easy to overcome. When engaging agencies, check their references, confirm testimonials and ask specifics about their marketing programs. It is essential to know that they can deliver and are the right partner for you, your brand and your organization.
You can also check out Steve’s five reasons to use guerilla marketing tactics while sampling.