Target Christmas Spectacular Event

With Christmas months away here is one of our favorite events we did  with Target one year for the Christmas Spectacular Event. Customers and event-goers were able to personalize their own ornament and get into the spirit of Christmas at this exciting event.





If your company needs on-site personalization at an upcoming event please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at or email

Experiential Activity Marketing: Winning Over Today’s Customers, One Event At A Time

A great article from Forbes. Solomon explains why experiential marketing wins over customers in today’s market.

Experiential Marketing: Winning Over Today’s Customers, One Event At A Time

“Experiential activity marketing” is a term that’s batted around more and more these days. In case the phrase still sounds like futuristic gibberish to you, let’s spend some time with Bharat Rupani, President of Interactions Marketing, an experiential marketing agency and subsidiary of  Daymon Worldwide in San Diego. Rupani, who has 20 years of experience in leading the development and expansion of brands in both the consumer products and retail sectors, explains the term as “work done with retailers and brands to connect directly with shoppers – usually through an event that happens inside a store or externally in the community.” Like what?  “In terms of our company, experiential marketing can range from anything from us handing out samples in a store, to staffing grand opening celebrations, to being behind the truck of a mobile tour.”

I wanted more examples, so Rupani took me first to the grocery industry, where Interactions Marketing has done work for Giant Foods on the East Coast of the U.S. (Giant is a part of the mammoth Ahold USA corporate conglomerate.)  “At the Giant Landover, Maryland grand opening, our team created a three week long extravaganza for the store that featured a flash mob, a custom miniature ice cream truck, a selfie booth, kids craft area, outdoor grilling event, and a number of food sampling events. It was a way to connect with shoppers in what we feel was an unforgettable experience, and to help cement Giant Landover within its local Maryland community.

Mini Ice Cream Truck by Interactions Marketing, Giant Food Grand Opening, Landover, MD • Credit: Interactions Marketing

Mini Ice Cream Truck by Interactions Marketing, Giant Food Grand Opening, Landover, MD • Credit: Interactions Marketing

He then spoke about their relationship with Advance Auto Parts, for whom Rupani’s company has created a mobile tour (with a 44-foot RV) that reaches Advance Auto Parts’ shoppers at over 30 automotive events across the nation. The RV-based tour interacted with nearly 50,000 people in 2015 alone, of whom they managed to sign up more than 15,000 new members for Advance Auto Parts’ loyalty program, Speed Perks.

Interactions Marketing for Advanced Auto Parts, Daytona Bike Week • Credit: Interactions Marketing

Interactions Marketing for Advanced Auto Parts, Daytona Bike Week • Credit: Interactions Marketing

Experiential activity marketing, of course, also has digital components.  In the case of Advance Auto Parts, this year, Interactions Marketing augmented its program by developing a game (“Rev it Up!”) that allows customers and prospective customers at home to test their diagnostic skills, with prizes that include gift cards.

There are many challenges involved in any customer-focused enterprise, and I spent some time with Rupani talking about problems and issues that have come up for Interactions Marketing as it has grown.  He let me know that the  biggest challenge is talent acquisition, not for technical skills, but for the human, customer-focused element: “Rapid growth always comes with its challenges and growing pains to an organization. And one of the primary challenges for us has been keeping pace with the growth and being able to find and deliver the top quality talent that Interactions is known for providing. Often in hiring talent for experiential marketing, we find a shrinking pool of candidates who have a passion for human interaction and face-to-face encounters that is necessary for the work we do. Personal engagement is an art we must keep alive – it’s upon us to hire and train those who can emote and connect with people.”

Finally, I wanted to draw Rupani out on principles of experiential marketing that would be useful whether a company is of a size that can engage his company’s service.  He told me that, absolutely, the answer is yes; “Experiential marketing doesn’t have to be overcomplicated – it’s about the human to human experience and word of mouth which are both extremely powerful marketing vehicles.”  First, he says, “realize that with each interaction during your day you are creating a memory for someone; in this sense you already have a role in selling and in creating experiences.”

Next, “take that concept beyond your team, and beyond your office and you can be creative in the way you engage with shoppers.” The key, as with any marketing or advertising tactic, is to know your consumer: “For example, if you want to conduct a street team event, think about your target audience, where do they live, where do they congregate, what messages and offers would appeal to them? When you know the answers to those questions, and a few more like them, you’ll know where, when, and how to stage your event. Ultimately if people try your brand and like it – you’ve made an impact that traditional marketing (radio, print ads, TV) can’t produce.  With so much focus on technology today, experiential marketing is still the real and organic interaction with a brand that so many of us still enjoy and value.”


A great article by Skyline. Check out some new Trade show tips.


Let’s tackle this two ways. First, discuss the 2 least-effective “strategies” that are the default strategy for too many exhibitors, and second, what strategies work best for the most common trade show sales and marketing goals.

tradeshow strategy events exhibiting


Some trade show exhibitors (hopefully not you!) are stuck in a rut. They go to the same shows, they bring the same booth staffers, they offer the same promotions, they have the same booth design, no matter what show they go to. This is the strategy driven by inertia.

There is no measurement of past shows or research of potential new shows to alter their show schedule. No measurement of qualified lead counts from booth staffers to identify keepers and staffers to stop bringing to shows. No changing of booth graphic messages to adapt to different industry shows. No testing of anything to find a better way.


Whoever manages your trade shows must handle hundreds of minute details about shipping, hotels, plane tickets, vendors, executives, timing, and more. It’s a lot to keep track of, and without it, the show doesn’t go on. So, all that must-do activity crowds out the optional, but actually essential, marketing activity.

What gets put on the back burner, and then often not done, is training the booth staff on how to take more leads and then qualify them in the booth, creating a marketing campaign with promotions that get more attendees into the booth, better lead management to ensure better follow up, and more measurement to then decide what is generating sales and marketing results and what needs to be improved.


Do you already have a primary business goal that you are trying to achieve by your trade show activity? It helps to hit a target if you know what you are aiming for. It may be that your trade show goal has also been stuck in a rut, and it’s time to reevaluate why you are exhibiting at trade shows today, as your company – and its place in the marketplace – may have changed substantially.

The most common goals are generating leads, increasing awareness (of your company, of a new product, in a new industry), and strengthening relationships (with key clients, dealers, business partners). To achieve your primary strategy involves excelling at several trade show tactics, and adapting them to your specific needs.


To get more leads, you need more booth traffic, and then have your booth visitors want to continue the conversation after the show. To get more booth traffic, you need to be at shows where your buyers walk, an attractive exhibit, desirable promotions, and most of all, more and better staffers to get people out of the aisle and into a fruitful dialog. So, do you know what shows have a higher number and percentage of attendees that match your buyer profile? Do you know what kinds of promotions appeals to their demographic? Does you exhibit have enough visual impact to stop attendees? Have you trained your booth staffers how to convince attendees your company offers a viable solution to their problems? These tactics will boost your lead counts.


While the tactics you use to generate more trade show leads will also help increase awareness, your focus alters some if your main goal is to increase awareness. Increase your company visibility with an entertainer or activity in your booth that creates a buzz. Or use a promotion that will get talked about, or a giveaway that everyone will see, like a bag or a sponsorship. Run ads, send email and direct mail, and interact on social media promoting your at-show presence. Try to get your top management or subject matter experts placed as speakers at the show. If you are launching a new product and want to increase awareness of that, then enter any contests or special show floor areas or public relations opportunities the show offers around new products. These activities may also bring you leads, but they will boost awareness even more.


When your goal is to strengthen relationships via trade shows, you are almost always deciding to focus on a smaller audience than when your goals are awareness and leads. That means a shift in scale. Your exhibit may be designed more like a lounge or an office, with spaces for comfortable meetings to honor your key contacts. You may even have a double-deck exhibit with a conference room on top. Your promotions will be fewer, but more expensive, and your booth staffers must be top-notch, either part of executive management, or the best people-persons you have. When your goal is relationship-building, your show plan extends beyond the booth, to include meals (dinners, breakfasts) outside exhibit hours, and even special events (a fun activity in the show city, a night on the town) with the most important people you want to bond with. And your promotions will be more personalized, with account managers contacting their clients, or channel managers inviting their partners.

For business-to-business marketers, trade shows are perhaps the best medium to achieve your business goals. I hope you now have better ideas on how to focus your trade show strategy so that it aligns to reach those goals, to ensure your trade show strategy is working.

Event and Experiential Activity Marketing Trends

We love the blog by Skyline. Here is an article by them about event and experiential marketing trends.


By: Kayla Goeman, Marketing Associate, Skyline Exhibits

I took a look at one of the world’s most comprehensive annual research studies on event & experiential marketing to breakdown industry trends for you. You can use this data to help justify your trade show or event budget and presence to leadership.

Here is what I found.


As with most marketing projects, the end goal has to be kept in mind when making tactical decisions.

What is the goal or strategy for events and experiential marketing in 2016? Unsurprisingly, the top two goals for investing in events or experiential activity marketing are to increase brand awareness and drive sales. You can also expect to see significantly more events and experiences hosted by companies in 2016 than in the past, with a whopping 79% of respondents planning to execute more event and experiential activities this year.


Interestingly, the criteria for measurement has changed in the past two years, with total attendance or participation as the highest form of measurement, followed by Facebook likes or social media activity, followed third by leads. The second and third place measurement of social media activity and leads is intriguing due to the complexity of tracking ROI these metrics give. In a perfect world, a lead gathered includes detailed information about a prospect that includes a timeframe for purchase. These types of details are harder to flesh out when someone is retweeting a post or sharing an exciting Facebook status from your company.

A lead will often automatically be entered into your company’s marketing automation or CRM platform, whereas tracking someone through social media into your CRM system can take multiple steps. What you measure should be dictated by your end goal for hosting an event or trade show. If brand awareness is the end goal, social media buzz will be a relatively easy measure to track and give you the most reach, whereas if driving sales is a key goal, detailed lead information will set your company on track.


So, we know we will be seeing more events and more experiential activity marketing taking place over our year. With more events to host, and theoretically more competition for attendance and “buzz” at these events, a sizable budget to help companies stand out has become important to respondents- as budgets are expected to increase over 6%. The 2015 average growth rate of budgets is nearly three times the level of recent U.S. GDP growth.


The goal is to increase brand awareness and generate sales, which will be done by measuring the total attendance, social media presence, and number of leads with an increased company budget. But why? Why are events worthwhile?

We live in a consumer-driven world, where the customer is expecting much more from a company than ever before. Why is the investment of an event worthwhile? The consumer values events. A significant 98% of survey respondents said that participating at the event or experience made them more inclined to purchase.

Is there anything else your marketing department is doing right now that leads to a 98% more inclination to buy? If not, it’s valuable to consider hosting an event. It may even be a good idea to host an event for your best clients if you are exhibiting at a trade show.

If you are attempting to justify an investment in an event or trade show to your boss, know that these consumer and event trends are increasing, and shows the pulse of what’s to come.

Under Armour Event – Engrave Your Shoelaces!

Here is some wonderful event photos from when we worked with Under Armour. At the event shoelace tags were engraved for all the sneaker heads.

For more ideas about your next event please contact us at

Brand activation and its role in driving consumer engagement and awareness

A great article by econsutancy about brand activation and its role with consumer engagement.

Many popular brands are using activations to build popularity and give the consumer an experience that will make them feel a real personal connection to the company.

What is brand activation?

Have you ever noticed when you go to buy a popular brand’s product, do you ever stop to ask yourself, how did they become so trustworthy and admired?

When a product is first manufactured it is virtually unknown to the general public.

Take Volvo as an example. when the company tried to enter into the US car market in 1962, Americans knew very little about this Swedish car maker.

Through the uses of consumer engagement marketing channels, such as memorable ad campaigns, experiential events, viral growth, and consumer participation strategies, Volvo managed to gain the acceptance of the American consumer as being a tough and reliable automobile.

Sales tripled within five years with the campaign “drive it like you hate it” being a huge success.

The process of making a brand well known and loved by consumers is called brand activation.

Consumer brand activations are a very crucial part of building a positive perception of a brand

This can be done through product samplings, in-store retail marketing, sponsorships, and experiential events.

This also encompasses the brand figuring out a few core features that will distinguish them amongst their competition in crowded marketplaces. They have to find brand positioning that will uncover assets that will highlight long term benefits to the company.

Brands must find a way to reach potential customers that can shift perceptions and create a real emotional engagement. These marketing events must bring up positive feeling in the minds about them in order for them to become loyal customers and purchase their products.

Key principles

  • To inspire demand for a particular brand, they must tap into the consumers’ passions using creative strategies and ideas.
  • Timing plays an important role in connecting consumers at the right time, and the right place so that the consumer becomes a motivated user and fan of the brand.
  • Using activation strategies, such as in person experience events, this can lead to the consumer starting to believe in the brand and what it stands for, which is a closer step in the path to purchase.

Brand activation case study

Here is an example of how brand activation can work. Pirelli Tires relies heavily on a strategy built on key partnerships with Formula One grand prix events, in order to promote its tires as being high performance.

There is a huge value with being a part of this world class racing event, as is the value of the premier performance and technology of the tires.

Having the name and logo as a part of the F1 racing circuit emotionally engages the consumer and all fans of racing, since the events are associated with high performance vehicles and expert driving.


Strategies for implementing a consumer brand activation campaign:

Experiential events:

Live experiential marketing events are being used by global brands to help position the brand into the consumers’ minds by attracting and emotionally engaging them in personal experience.

These events give people a chance to try a product, ask questions about it and participate in some way that makes them feel apart of the brand.

This can be achieved by blending physical and digital experiences together, so that the participants are encouraged to play apps and games, have their photos taken or ride on virtual reality car and bike simulators.

The purpose is to reach people on multiple levels (emotional, rational, psychological) so that they walk away from event remembering what is was like to touch, taste, and feel the product rather than just reading about it.

Promotional marketing:  

Promotional marketing involves raising awareness of your brand and its products in order to generate more sales and gain a loyal customer base.

The targeting of promotional marketing can take many forms, it can be targeted at businesses, to retail and wholesale companies or it can targeted at the end consumer.  Consumer promotions can be executed by using reward loyalty programs, giveaways, special offers, product samplings as well as point of sale displays.

Business promotions can used in workshops, event sponsorships, trade show booths and direct mail campaigns.  Wholesale trade promotions may consist of using incentives, or providing entertainment value or other methods like bonuses to reward resllers.

In store retail marketing


In store retail marketing activations can help a customer choose one brand over another inside a department store. It helps to enhance the image of a product or brand and as well as feature the benefits it offers or introduce the lifestyle associated with purchasing the product.

There are different types of retail marketing, a brand can be activated using point of purchase displays, attractive design or hosting, retail product launch experiences that allow consumers to experience and try a particular product.

For example, Ray-Ban launched a retail consumer activation tour called ‘Never Hide’ inside a number of high department stores, which engaged consumers by allowing them to try on the new polarized sunglasses and encouraged them have their photos taken inside a branded Ray-Ban photo booth.

Other engagement activities involved participants playing the Guitar hero simulator while wearing the shades.

Metrics for brand activation campaigns

When you want to create a brand activation campaign, the underlying objective should be to develop a face to face two way conversation with your customers.

Consumer brand activations help to bring life into a company and can build a very loyal fan base. The caveat is you need to create engaging and memorable experiences that strike real emotions with your consumer.

Here is a list of some of the measurement factors to keep in mind.

  • Consumer reach. How many targeted consumers would this campaign activation touch and reach?  Is it a national scale, worldwide tour, city wide or hyper local?
  • Brand relevance. Is this activation strategy and campaign relevant to the brand’s message and core values?
  • Return on investment. Can you measure the benefits vs the cost? Activation awareness campaigns should not always be measured in financial terms and sales. Were you able to capture consumer data, such as emails, social media followers and other future marketing leads and opportunities?
  • Long term potential. Do these activations campaigns give the brand any potential to gain sizeable long term benefits?
  • Integration capabilities. Will this brand activation campaign compliment and have the ability to integrate with other types of marketing channels within the company?
  • Uniqueness. Does your brand have a unique value or selling proposition that get consumers attention and make them want to talk about it?
  • Amplification. Is it possible if needed to be able to make changes in order to increase the amplification of the overall activation campaign?

Advantages of consumer brand activations

Here are a few of the benefits of consumer activations:

  • Brand activation events, the consumer can give you feedback on what to change or improve as they are interacting with you.
  • It can bring life into an aging brand and even reach younger Millennials audiences.
  • It can help to reinforce the brand’s positioning in the minds of the consumer.
  • Helps to cut through the traditional advertising clutter (TV Commercials, Print, Web Ads)
  • It makes your brand more prominent.


Do not underestimate the influence of experiential brand activations can play shaping the future and now relevance of a brand.

  1. Brand activations are not meant to be measured in terms of sales made. Instead, they should be viewed as a way to generate awareness and visibility for a company through cultivating real life engagement experiences with the target consumer.

60 Ways Personalization is Changing Marketing

A great list found from a fellow marketing blogger listing great points of marketing and why personalization is changing the market.

60 Ways Personalization is Changing Marketing

In ThoughtLead’s latest Future of Marketing series, 60 speakers (including HubSpot’s own Mike Volpe) spoke for 60 minutes about the personalization revolution. The roster of speakers included industry analysts, leading technologists, CEOs, authors, and bloggers.

If you have 60 minutes to spare, reading the transcript or listening to the audio recording is recommended. Listed below is the main points from each of the speakers.

1. Customization is not personalization. Customization is explicit, but personalization is implicit.

2. There is a growing willingness to trade in privacy to get a personalized experience.

3. IP recognition software will provide an experience that is dynamically constructed for individual users.

. You can achieve intent-drive personalization by understanding engagement and what people engage with on your site.

5. Never forget that the key to great marketing is having an in-depth understanding of users. No matter how much technology changes, that never does.

6. Personalization is the next wave of the communal public user experience.

7. Delivering personalized messages to specific audiences at the right time is the holy grail of marketing.

8. The future is in making websites, products, or experiences personal in a deeply meaningful way.

9. The personalization of search results offers an opportunity to increase your visibility for really relevant searches.

10. The social, gesture, and location aspects of personalization are the key elements driving online advertising.

11. The potential to engage customers contextually based on a need and serve that in real time will drive mobile devices as they become payment vehicles.

12. The advent of newer technologies, social networking, and database profiling offers the ability to help people find what they need and serve them what they desire.

13. Personalization has moved beyond segmentation to algorithmically-driven content.

14. People want to share what they do and information about themselves if you give them the chance to do it.

15. Personalization is about leveraging what you can from individuals when they come to your inbound customer touch-points.

16. Don’t think about different groups you want to market to. Think about the power of one and how to reach that person in the most customized and creative way.

17. There are three vectors of personalization: real time, what is hot, and local.

18.  Use personalization and customization of landing pages to drive better conversion rates.

19. The three step approach to personalization is: listen, educate, engage.

20. Think in terms of customer-centric recommendation engines rather than company-centric selling engines.

21. There is a growing need for social media managers to rationalize what they are doing.

22. The future of personalization will reward publishers that provide better content.

23.   Personalization is about creating a natural process of conversation between companies and customers.

24. Use personalization to give customers a great experience.

25. Personalization is not just an opportunity but is a part of a set of broad, very profound societal changes where there is a trade-off between privacy and personalization.

26. The three keys to balancing personalization and privacy are company transparency, consumer choice, and being accountable to those choices.

27. With personalized ads, the goal is to reach the highest point of relevance for the lowest sense of intrusion.

28. For personalization to work, you want to gain your customer’s trust and not abuse it.

29. Engage your customers and prospects without secrecy.

30. Use the available technology to make sure you touch your customers in the right way at the right time with the right information.

31. A development in online privacy to keep an eye on is the possibility of a ‘do no track’ list, which is an idea being discussed by the FTC.

32. Privacy is not the issue. It’s about the value proposition we give to consumers.

33. The key to personalization is not algorithms or automation. The key is to work your butt off. To personalize, you need to put in the effort.

34. Worry less about technology and focus on human emotions and what turns people on.

35. Go beyond what your product can do for you customers and focus on what your product says about them.

36. The three Ms to successful personalization: motivation, message and media.

37. To get a shot at your customers’ pocketbooks, first capture their imagination by getting them into a dialogue.

38. Personalization convinces consumers that they are buying things thinking it’s their idea when, in fact, it’s not.

39. Marketers can get too focused on the details and forget to focus on the most important aspect: relevancy.

40. Filling your channel with content is going to personalize that relationship between the brand and the consumer.

41. Personalization comes to life by delivering relevant and compelling experiences to your end user.

42. Business is personal. It takes time to build trust but less to establish likeability, which is the first step towards long-term partnerships.

43. The challenge is to create an emotional and psychological contract with your customers that separates you from everybody else.

44. Get rid of the scripts. Create a Personal Emotional Connection (PEC) by encouraging reps to be themselves and have their personalities connect with customers’ personalities.

45. Treat your customers like VIPs at every touch-point.

46. Customers now expect your business to use their personalized information to offer better service.

47. Get personal with your prospects and customers, but don’t get creepy by using all the information you have when communicating with your customers.

48. Personalized marketing is not just for customers and prospects. It can affect change within an organization.

49. Personalize to the why of the intent to increase the value of the customer experience.

50. One-to-one marketing is all about personalization; less mass communication and more mass customization.

51. In face-to-face marketing, body language is the key. In online marketing, the key is taking note of the digital body language of your web visitors and customers.

52. Mass personal relevance allows you to target individual offers tailored by data and driven by customer input.

53. With customer behavior changed by the recent economic downturn, more is now dependent on how a retailer or brand can communicate their relevancy to the customer.

54. Personalization is about engaging customers using technology in ways that mimic how we would do it if we were face to face.

55. For mobile, location-based marketing and location-based services are going to be very important for companies trying to reach consumers.

56. After search box and site navigation, product recommendations are the third key method that consumers use to navigate a retail site.

57. The trend is for consumers to click on relevant ads only, and personalization platforms are helping to drive this trend.

58. We’ve moved from an opt-in, permission-based and customized address fields in personalization to online relevant conversations that engage and excite.

59. The long-term effect of personalization where everyone becomes their own brand is that personal expertise will be an asset that can be traded for currency.

60. The company of the future takes all of its disparate information and unifies it because that is what everything else is based on.

What would you add to this list?