With increasing amounts of marketing budgets going toward customer and experience marketing, data is becoming a paramount asset.
Beyond the numbers of attendees or tweets, it’s critical to examine how we amplify the intelligence gathered from data to elevate experiences and prescribe individuality. The nature of experiential marketing is inherently authentic and personal, with agencies striving to create innovative moments intended to expose guests to the unseen and unexpected. So, too, is the type of analytic information gleaned from these events.
Implementing measurable actions for people as they move through a space is important, and will resonate with audiences. Attendees often interact with analytic moments that are built into experiences. In this new era of experiential marketing, with higher budgets and higher expectations at every turn, staying ahead of the game is dependent upon gleaning usable, actionable data and insights in order to crack the code on consumer behavior and improve live experiences, every single time.
Millions of dollars are spent on live marketing events: from food and speakers, to venue and rentals, security and staff: there are many factors that drive up the cost of hosting a live activation. When pulled off right, these well-executed experiences of grand scale succeed in their mission—building brand equity, inspiring awe and communicating important information.
A key benefit of strategic data gathering, and a way to extend the ROI of an event, is to create hyper-personalized experiences drawn from real-time data. This data can be used to enable on-the-fly recommendations for content or sessions, for example, but can also fuel and guide post-activation marketing materials or sales outreach. Intel ranging from time spent at a stand, to demographics, to reactions to output before, during and post-event will inform the best decisions for future activations. Bottled water expense? $1,000. Key insights you can use forever? Priceless.
Understand the Difference: Interruptive Vs. Voluntary
Much of the data that sits within a marketing department is at arms-length and lacks personalized action with marketing analytics. Experiential marketing is intimate and provides insight on things people do that can actually be measured. At the very least this is a complement to other forms of measurement being done—through both digital and traditional marketing channels. People at activations are behaving authentically and therefore measurement and the resulting insights are authentic.
More on data:
- Three Essentials for Better Data in the Age of AI
- Data Analytics is a Team Sport—What Position Do You Play?
Traditional marketing is often viewed by consumers as interruptive while experiential marketing is voluntary. The nefarious component of invasion is removed when it comes experiential—consumers are acting on their own merit by opting-in. For example, someone who visits an auto activation at Sundance is indicating interest in the brand simply by attending—compared to a pop-up ad on their desktop or mobile they didn’t ask for.
Measurement can be done in several ways during live events. From heat-mapping to digital app downloads to on-site kiosks and badges, attendees are voluntarily providing insight that is invaluable to marketers. Once you’re able to activate these data sources, you’re no longer an “enemy of the state,” you’re a resource to make their experience bigger, better and more personal every time around.
Keep it Personal
We all know the marketing tricks of the old days: seemingly-random ads requesting information, or the totally under-the-radar data mining that feels intrusive to consumers. It’s clear that invasive and random tactics like these only serve to turn consumers off from a brand. Personalization is the name of the game when it comes to experiential marketing, and that extends to sourced data and analytics: at the end of the day, consumers want brands to listen to them, to learn from their attendance, and to create even more resonant activations in the future for them to enjoy. It’s a cyclical process, in which data helps a brand to reach more consumers, then the data captured from their engagement helps the brand learn where they can fill in gaps and better reach these audiences.
Scott Kellner is vice president of marketing at George P. Johnson.