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How is Personalization Changing the Face of Marketing?

This is a great article from Marketo. It shows us readers how personalization toward the consumers is changing marketing and that this trend is here to stay.

 

How is Personalization Changing the Face of Marketing?

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In 2013, 84% of all email traffic was spam. The average person sees around 1,700 banner ads each month. Your audience is bombarded daily by companies trying to sell their products. In an oversaturated market, it’s common for consumers to get annoyed and end up ignoring all advertisements

But what if their online experience was different? What if it was completely tailored to their interests, and their friends? Feeling connected makes the difference. It creates a sense of community yet individuality all at the same time. Personalization in marketing works. We’ve interviewed several marketing gurus to get their opinions on the why’s and the how’s

Specified Content

John Jantsch (@ducttape) is a speaker, marketing consultant and bestselling author. His book Duct Tape Marketing, partners with a blog of the same name, which was named one of the 100 Best Websites for Entrepreneurs by Forbes magazine. Jantsch commented that how you define personalization makes all the difference

If you stop at adding someone’s first name to an email I think you’re missing this changing face idea. To me, personalization happens when a marketer or salesperson can take a piece of content and make it more useful for a specific prospect or customer.

My favorite way [to do this] is to create customer- or prospect-specific news feeds, topic pages, and content collections

Most consumers know that just because their names appear at the top of an email doesn’t mean you typed that email specifically for them. Personalization isn’t just about fancy software, it’s about providing relevant content.

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A Sense of Identity

Small business expert and internet pioneer Susan Solovic (@SusanSolovic)was one of the original co-founders of the first video news sites for small businesses, Small Business Television. She is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author, and sought-after keynote speaker.

When it comes to marketing, Solovic agrees that personalization is the best.

We live in a high-tech world, yet consumers crave high-touch. They are tired of their calls being answered by Silicon Sally, and they want to be recognized as human beings, not a username and password or account number. Personalized marketing gives customers a sense of identity. They cease to be one of the masses, and instead become an individual with unique wants and needs. Consumers tune out mass marketing because they are bombarded by it everywhere. A personalized message that is relevant is much more likely to attract their attention and to seem more credible.

When asked what ways her company embraces personalized marketing, Solovic responded with how she engages with her customers.

Currently, I use social media as a way to connect with my audience. I don’t outsource this function because I think it is important to truly engage to be authentic. Later this year, I’m launching The Small Business Expert Academy, and I’ll be using personalized video emails to virtually coach and mentor my audience.  

Nobody wants to feel like a blank face in a crowd. Focusing on the individual needs of customers will give them the sense that they are truly being heard.

Responsive Design

Jessica Sprinkel (@jessicasprinkel) earned her MBA from University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and a BA in Economics from Wake Forest University. Sprinkel is currently the Director of Marketing Programs and an analytics software startup called Logi Analytics in Washington, DC. She explained how the latest technology allows companies to personalize their marketing.

More recently, marketers have been able to use dynamic content, which means instead of setting up individual campaigns, and trying to route prospects into the optimal one, you can create ONE campaign, ONE email, and ONE landing page – all of which display differently depending on who is on the receiving end.

The personalization of marketing is about more than just messaging.

Maybe the most important way you can personalize your website experience is through responsive design. For one of our recent campaigns, we discovered that as many as 32% of visitors were using a mobile device, and yet the page was designed for a desktop. We just rolled out responsive landing page templates across the board, with mobile-friendly features like swipe and click-to-call, and have seen conversions increase by almost 2x.

Personalization is about convenience. When a page or email is customized for him, a customer will feel like the company took the time to know him.

The Future of Marketing

Personalization is here to stay. Elle Woulfe (@ellehwoulfe) is a revenue-focused marketer with expertise in digital marketing and demand generation. She is the Director of Demand Generation at Lattice Engines.

Woulfe shared interesting insight about the future of personalization in marketing.

The next wave of personalization techniques will manifest themselves in offline touches. Smart marketers are tapping into predictive analytics and are using account level buying signals to make sure their sales reps know that a prospective customer has a product need even before the customer does. Brands that successfully implement these technologies and harness all the relevant buying signals stand to achieve a substantial competitive advantage.

Personalization in marketing is just going to get more personal. As businesses utilize new technology, soon consumers will be able to access all their “likes” before they even have a chance to search for them.

Get Personal, Get Results

Email personalization boosts open rates by 26%, and click-through rates by 97%! By 2016, more than half the dollars spent in US retail will be influenced by the web, and customer-centric marketing increases online sales by 25%. There’s no denying it: If you want a steady increase of sales and loyal customers, personalization is the way to go.

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 www.digitaleventsinc.com or email info@digitaleventsinc.com.

IS YOUR TRADE SHOW STRATEGY WORKING?

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

IS YOUR TRADE SHOW STRATEGY WORKING?

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

FAULTY DEFAULT TRADE SHOW STRATEGY #1: KEEP DOING THE SAME THING FOR YEARS

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.

FAULTY DEFAULT TRADE SHOW STRATEGY #2: LOGISTICS OVER MARKETING

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.

MOST COMMON TRADE SHOW GOALS: GENERATE LEADS, INCREASING AWARENESS, STRONGER RELATIONSHIPS

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.

WAYS TO GENERATE MORE TRADE SHOW LEADS

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.

WAYS TO INCREASE AWARENESS AT TRADE SHOWS

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.

WAYS TO STRENGTHEN RELATIONSHIPS AT TRADE SHOWS

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.

EVENT & 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.

KEEPING THE GOAL IN MIND

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.

MEASUREMENT

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.

BUDGETING

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 VALUE OF EVENTS

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.

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.

Pirelli-tires-formula-1-brand-activation

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

Ray-Ban-never-hide-consumer-activation

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.

Conclusion

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.

Having It Their Way: The Big Opportunity In Personalized Products

A great article by Forbes detailing the way large companies produce products that allow customers to personalize their items elevating customer loyalty and engagement with the brand.

Having It Their Way: The Big Opportunity In Personalized Products

Sellers of everything from dress shirts to handbags and even consumer packaged goods are discovering the value of letting customers create their own unique products. Retailers use Big Data to present a personalized set of products to their customers—it’s been a driving force behind Amazon’s success. Now brands are taking personalization a big step forward into mass customization. They are discovering that they can elevate customer loyalty and engagement—and use their customer base as an engine of advocacy to potential buyers.

Product customization helps brands boost sales on their own websites or gain share on a retailer’s site. For example, Pepperidge Farm customers now design Goldfish crackers, and Jawbone customers configure their own Jambox speakers. Trek enables cyclists to build a bike from the ground up. And Brooks Brothers allows men to create their own suits.

A Bain survey of more than 1,000 online shoppers found that while less than 10% have tried customization options, 25% to 30% are interested in doing so. While it is hard to gauge the overall potential of customization, if 25% of online sales of footwear were customized, that would equate to a market of $2 billion per year.

Beyond the pure size of the opportunity, our survey showed that those customers who had customized a product online engaged more with the company. They visited its website more frequently, stayed on the page longer and were more loyal to the brand.

Equally, customization helps companies differentiate their products from those of their competitors at a time when the Internet is rapidly making it easier for customers to compare the prices of products with standard features.

With the proliferation of social media and online publishing, styles and trends now change faster than ever. Customization helps companies gain insights from customized designs and fine-tune products to stay one step ahead of the competition. With each design choice, customers share real-time shopper preferences that go well beyond what they would say in a focus group. For example, what Brooks Brothers learns from its customers in one season is used to help it deliver the next season’s product line.

“All of this activity points to rapid growth in mass-customization offerings across categories. Early pioneers like Oakley have demonstrated strong consumer demand for customized products, and successfully orchestrated programs are delivering positive ROI and consumer engagement,”

according to Kent Deverell, CEO of Fluid, a digital agency and software as a service provider that helps companies launch customization offerings.

In our experience, all successful companies follow five rules.

1. Before testing the waters, companies should be clear about the strategic value they hope to achieve. Some companies use it primarily to engage with customers and build brand advocacy. Others pursue customization of a chosen product line largely for its direct profit potential. Consider Longchamp’s self-design versions of its iconic Le Pliage tote bag. On the extreme end of the spectrum: building a core business around a customized offering, such as Wild Things has done with its design-your-own Insulight jackets.

2. Companies also must determine how much customization they really need to offer. Some brands allow consumers to design a unique product that will be built to order, with a range of features that can be added. Others offer minor customization options—engraving a name on a briefcase, for example. Some companies only allow customization in fit or design. And others, like Serena & Lily, provide “consumer-choice bundling.” Shoppers at Serena & Lily’s online store design their own bedding combinations, buying existing products that are then collected from a warehouse and shipped to them. For most retailers, it’s the option that makes the most sense—they can sell from a standard product line.

3. Successful companies offer customers a simple and easy design template as a starting point, as opposed to a blank canvas. If the online design process is too complicated, difficult or unattractive, many potential shoppers will be turned off. They may also reject too many options.

4. In addition to making the design process enjoyable, companies need to make the return process seamless. All customers seem to want the option of returning goods within a reasonable period, typically 30 days. Our survey determined that demand for customization falls off precipitously if consumers think they could be stuck with something they don’t like—even though early adopters of product customization have found that return rates are lower than for standard products.

5. Another important consideration: helping consumers share their creations with friends and relatives. For example, the North Face has launched a gallery of designs created by customers for its Denali jacket, which serve as inspiration points for others. Jeld-Wen enables real-time, online collaboration for customers to co-create and share customized door designs.

As more retailers and brands give their customers the design-it-yourself option, they should see a boost in profitable revenues, stay connected to their best customers and lower costs. Winners will be those that know their objectives, understand how much customization they really need, keep things simple and create a repeatable model for delighting customers again and again.

 

Reaching The Unreachable: How Experiential Marketing Targets Brand-Savvy Millennials

This is a great article by Forbes. It tells us how millennials are targeted with experiential marketing pointing out that in addition to loving the experience of experiential marketing they also crave the authenticity of brands and handing out free swag is a sure fire way to get your brand noticed through following different social platforms on and sharing photos on social media with hashtags.

Reaching The Unreachable: How Experiential Marketing Targets Brand-Savvy Millennials

By Joey Kercher

Marketers are having a difficult time reaching millennials because tech-savvy and brand-savvy millennials tune out most forms of traditional marketing. They use ad blockers when using search engines, stream their entertainment while simultaneously blocking commercials, communicate and share news via social media, and ignore even the most brightly colored highway billboards or snail mail postcards. eMarketer reports that millennials choose to ignore ads, making it more difficult to catch their attention. Millennials know how to use technology to find products and services that meet their needs, but perhaps more importantly, millennials are brand savvy.

So how can experiential marketing target these brand-savvy millennials?

1. Millennials Love Experiences

It’s a sweeping generalization, but millennials are well known for their love of experiences. They eagerly attend festivals, concerts, trade shows, exhibits and sporting events and explore local nightlife and popular attractions. They want to experience the latest thing and are always looking for the next new and exciting thing. In fact, a study from the Harris Group reported that 72% of millennials would rather choose an experience over a material item.

When you take your product or service and highlight it at one of these events, you are sharing your brand with millennials in a context that they enjoy. You are integrating your brand into the millennials’ environment, ensuring that your brand will be on their radar. For brands to integrate themselves into the millennial environment, they need to seek out spaces millennials frequent such as malls, festivals, concerts, sporting events and college campuses (your exact target space will depend on your target demographic).

2. Millennials Crave Authenticity

It may seem counterintuitive to say that millennials crave authenticity when they spend hours each day on social media glamorizing their own lives and altering their personas. However, millennials are interested and attracted to other people and brands that are honest, transparent and authentic. You appear as an authentic brand when you connect person-to-person with millennials. You show them through personalized conversations with another human being what your brand stands for and how your products or services can help them. A Cohn & Wolfe study reported that 87% of all global consumers believed it was necessary for brands to “(act) with integrity at all times.” In fact, consumers went so far as to say that “authenticity” was more important to them than things such as “product uniqueness,” “product utility” and “popularity.” This is a distinct change compared to prior data and is theorized to be the result of millennials, as their “vote” in these studies push the results towards the need for authenticity from brands.

A great example of authenticity in an experiential marketing campaign is to develop a campaign designed to educate and share a product with your consumers rather than get something from them such as an email sign-up. Our agency has worked with Adidas on several campaigns where the goal was to share the latest sneakers with consumers by authentically having conversations about the new design aesthetic and performance changes. The goal was not to push the sneakers through sales but rather develop interest in them by authentically conveying why they were different to consumers. The goal was simply to have a conversation with consumers about the brand.

3. Hand Out Free Swag

Millennials are happy to share their feelings about brands on social media and branded events are no exception. In fact, Splash found (and shared in Adweek) that 81% of millennials shared photos on social media at a branded event, 71% used the event’s hashtag, 67% followed the brand on social and 56% signed up for an email list. All of this interaction took place at a branded event where millennials received products such as bottles, t-shirts, hats, glasses, totes or pens. Although branded swag isn’t required for millennials to talk about their branded event experience on social, it does help when it comes to images. Give millennials something to wear and share and they will.

The best way to encourage millennials to talk about their branded swag is to ensure that you give them a reason to show it off. This can be accomplished through a contest at the end of the day that requires a photo to be taken with the product or while wearing the branded swag. Sometimes it can be as simple as having a really unique and cool branded item that millennials are bound to use and want to show off immediately. In this way, branded swag can masquerade as a free product.

Millennials are not unreachable when you take the time to develop an authentic campaign aimed at connecting instead of selling and building brand awareness.

 

WHY FACE-TO-FACE COMMUNICATION WITH CONSUMERS IS IMPORTANT AT EXPERIENTIAL MARKETING EVENTS

Here is a great article by Factory. This article explains the benefits of why being face to face with your consumers at experiential marketing events is important and how these events build better relationships with your targeted audience.

WHY FACE-TO-FACE COMMUNICATION WITH CONSUMERS IS IMPORTANT AT EXPERIENTIAL MARKETING EVENTS.

One of the ways that experiential marketing differentiates itself from other forms of marketing is it allows brands to engage in face-to-face communication with their target audience. Regardless of what type event you plan on hosting, it’s strongly recommended that you have brand ambassadors communicating with your guests in some way. Why is this so important? Here are some of the many benefits of engaging in face-to-face communication with consumers:

Ask and answer questions

Using traditional forms of marketing such as TV commercials, print, or radio advertisements, brands are only able to engage in one-way communication with consumers. Brands can speak to the consumer, but the consumer cannot respond to the message. Unfortunately, this means that consumers won’t be able to get their questions answered. At an experiential marketing event, consumers have the chance to speak directly to the face of the brand and ask as many questions as they’d like to learn more about the brand and its products or services.

Letting consumers ask your brand ambassadors questions also helps clear up any misconceptions that the consumer may have about your products. For example, let’s say a company that sells allergy medications is hosting an experiential marketing event. As a brand ambassador talks to a guest, he may realize that the guest is under the impression that the allergy medication is available by prescription only, when it is actually sold as an over-the-counter medication. By engaging in face-to-face communication and asking each other questions, the brand ambassador has the opportunity to identify and clear up misconceptions.

Interpret reactions

There are other ways for brands to engage in two-way communication with consumers, such as on social media channels, so what makes face-to-face communication so important? Using social media channels, brands only get to see what consumers say, but they don’t get to see their nonverbal cues, which are sometimes more important than the words that have been spoken. A brand ambassador who is engaging in face-to-face communication with a consumer has the opportunity to listen to what each consumer has to say while also picking up on nonverbal cues. For example, let’s say a brand ambassador is speaking with an event attendee who asks the ambassador about the retail price of a certain product. Upon hearing the price, the attendee responds politely, but the ambassador is able to pick up on nonverbal cues that indicate he is not happy. The brand ambassador now has the unique opportunity to tailor the

conversation based on how he has interpreted the guest’s reaction. Instead of continuing to talk about the features of the product, the ambassador could begin to discuss rebates or special discounts to draw the consumer back in.

By interpreting nonverbal reactions during face-to-face communication, brand ambassadors can adjust the conversation as needed to ensure that the consumer remains engaged.

Build relationships by establishing trust

In order to sell to a consumer, you must have some sort of relationship with him, and there’s no better way to build the foundation of a relationship than with face-to-face communication. Why? Researchers have found that face-to-face communication is essential for building authentic relationships with other people. More specifically, studies have shown that making eye contact while engaging in face-to-face communication is key to building trust. If a brand ambassador at your event gets the chance to speak and make eye contact with consumers, these consumers may begin to trust your brand as a result of the conversation. Although trust can be established with consumers in other ways, it is typically created much faster during face-to-face communication than it would be using other methods.

Opportunity to show the brand’s personality

It can be difficult to show your brand’s personality using traditional forms of marketing. After all, there’s only so much that you can say and do within a thirty second commercial or a one-page magazine advertisement. However, it’s much easier to help consumers understand who you are as a brand using face-to-face communication at an experiential marketing event.

In order to show your brand’s personality, it’s important that you take the time to thoroughly train brand ambassadors so they understand how they can best represent you. For example, if you want consumers to see that you are a fun and playful brand, brand ambassadors should be relaxed, talkative, and friendly when speaking to consumers. If you use words such as “wise” and “reliable” to describe your brand, then your brand ambassadors should be trained in a different way. In this case, brand ambassadors should be able to answer every question thrown their way and should remain professional and courteous at all times. Properly training your brand ambassadors can ensure that they are ready to communicate directly with consumers and convey your brand’s personality to your target audience.

Gather feedback

Companies often pay thousands of dollars to market research firms so they can gather feedback about their products, messaging, and brand in general. But, why waste thousands of dollars on this research when you can gather feedback from consumers at experiential marketing events? Brand ambassadors have the unique opportunity to speak one-on-one with guests at the event and hear what they have to say. As long as brand ambassadors are trained properly, they should be able to collect all of this feedback so you can thoroughly review it after the event.