Maximizing ROI is an important part of any marketing program. Relevant reinforcement of best practices for experiential marketing could be seen across the spectrum of educational classes at the 2015 Experiential Marketing Summit.
Here are the things you want to consider when modifying your trade show participation or if you are jumping in for the very first time:
Strategize! Before you begin, define exactly what you are trying to accomplish through live-event marketing.
Is it brand awareness? Introducing your business to customers that are not likely to know you before meeting you at an event. Or, are you an established brand that attendees will already be familiar with, but looking to reinforce your place in the market?
Are you looking to convert interaction to direct sales right on the show floor, or are you looking to make an impression to get a follow-up appointment? These distinctions will affect the way you design and work your exhibit.
In the creative phase of development, consider the audience journey. Define the touch points of their interaction with you. Also, consider the context of the entire experience. For example, their journey before interacting with you will be entirely different if you are exhibiting in a traditional trade show vs. an experiential event. In a trade show, the experience tends to be one dimensional, they encounter you as one of a few hundred companies combined together in endless rows of exhibits as they are herded through the show floor.
Their perspective is entirely different when attending an experiential event that integrates interaction, inspiration and exhibits. In this environment they will approach you as a brand authority. This is because the experiential event is already curating an experience to foster connection and conversation between the attendee and the exhibitor.
One size doesn’t fit all; and neither should your message. One unfortunately common mistake is that most companies fail to recognize there are multiple influencers attending the event. Define different content about your brand based on the person you are intracting with. What you talk about with the bride or groom should be different than your conversation with a mother of the bride or a bridesmaid. Ultimately, these people will have significant influence on the buying decision. Millennials love to get buy in, so don’t make the mistake of overlooking their influencers.
Consider the subgroup journey. Some attendees are attending primarily to gather information, and your interaction with this group should be different than the interaction with the group that is attending specifically to book business at the event. Think of your exhibit staff as brand advocates and train them to key in on the specific need of each attendee so they can direct them to more information or introduce them to the member of your team that can discuss the contract process.
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