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Knowing How to Measure Experiential Marketing Amplifies Event ROI

By Lynn Randall, Senior Strategist, InVision Communications

If You Know How to Measure Experiential Marketing, You Can Boost Event ROI

Friends and family outside the industry still ask me all the time: “What is experiential marketing?” They still struggle to understand because experiential marketing can be many things — there’s no simple cocktail party explanation.

At its core, experiential marketing is a methodology for delivering a message in a way that the audience experiences for themselves. As neuroscience research conducted at the University of Iowa revealed, we’re best at remembering tangible experiences. It’s part of our basic human nature and how we learn new information. That’s one of the many reasons we turn to experiential marketing instead of the wealth of other proven and effective marketing strategies.

The biggest advantage of experiential marketing isn’t just a better way to embed your message with your audience — it’s that brand awareness spreads on its own, ultimately creating a loyal customer base. Rather than merely advertise the availability of a product or solution, experiential marketing lets target audiences experience what life will be like if they use the product or avail themselves of your solution. Presenting the offering within the context of a positive experience creates positive brand associations. Good experiential marketing strategy creates lasting impressions on consumers, inspiring them to share what they’ve experienced.

This method for audience engagement is far from new, but the advent of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and virtual and augmented realities have given us a new concept of experiential marketing that’s more immersive than ever before. That wave is carrying us beyond the basic definition of experiential marketing, calling on us to incorporate more new technologies to deliver better, more personalized and engaging brand messages.

Why Is Experiential Marketing Important?

As virtual and augmented reality have shown us, immersive experiences are indisputably powerful. Because technology now allows us to envelop audiences in a brand message, we have opportunities to use experiential marketing strategies in dynamic new ways.

This means that some experiences can even be delivered entirely through digital and mobile means, amplifying brand experience beyond the heartbeat of a single event. This potential is evident to CMOs, one-third of whom plan to allot up to 50% of their budgets to experiential marketing efforts in the coming years.

Whether those funds are spent to produce traditional events or tech-driven immersive experiences, knowing how to measure experiential marketing is the key to determining its actual value.

Measuring Experiential Marketing Unlocks ROI

When people are at an event, that intense shared energy allows us to deliver more of the emotions and other elements that drive people to think, decide, and act. When we’re called upon to create those elements beyond the time and place of an event, marketing budgets have to be managed differently. Identifying the most successful elements of integrated, longer-term campaigns is a requirement to justify and maintain budgets that need to stretch further over time. That’s why data and metrics should be central to your experiential marketing strategy.

Marketers must commit to rigorously measuring brand experience because that’s what conveys the value story to senior management. However, we’ve traditionally fallen short in measuring experiential marketing: According to CVENT, only 34% of CMOs have the business analytics they need to validate their event spend.

How to Measure Experiential Marketing

With the Internet of Things, we can now gather data from each touchpoint in an experiential campaign to measure individual components and holistic event ROI. Event teams accomplish this by connecting attendee and event data with their CRM or marketing automation systems. In this way, they can track every touchpoint with their target audiences to provide metrics that influence marketing metric dashboards and provide the value story for the overall event portfolio.

ROI is consistently ranked as a top objective in event and communication programs. In order to drive attendee engagement and deliver on business outcomes, experiential marketing measurement practices must be threaded throughout the experiential marketing experience to assess changes in audience thoughts, perspectives, and behaviors.

InVision’s approach to experiential marketing measurement is never one-size-fits-all because your programs aren’t one-size-fits-all. We approach measuring event marketing success with a consistent framework built into the design of your overall audience experience from the very beginning. Measuring brand experience against your very specific objectives and stakeholder expectations is vital to success and instrumental to realizing the advantages of experiential marketing.

The imperative for measurement is only getting louder. It’s time to get ahead of the game and move your measurement strategy forward. And if you need help, we’re here for you. Give us a call.