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Extending Consumer Engagement: How to Optimize Return from Your Experiential Marketing Spend

For decades now, Consumer Marketers have struggled with the daunting challenge of maintaining customer share of mind and heart long after their live branded experience is over. No matter the scope or length of a campaign, the “buzz” factor wears thin post-event be it a street-team activation, publicity stunt or full-fledged mobile marketing tour. So how do you strengthen your limited marketing budget to expand upon meaningful dialogue with your consumer target post-experience? Interactive Marketing, that’s how. No, this isn’t a secret, far from it actually. Some of today’s leading marketers have defied the boundaries of the digital space for years. But one thing about their planning is abundantly clear. There is a well-defined digital marketing plan built into their brand-building programs. Microsites, or even app development, be it of the mobile or even social networking variety through Facebook, Foursquare or other help ensure your marketing spend has a pulse. More importantly, these engagement platforms help validate spend to your internal stakeholders. Most apps or microsites are created generally with a customer acquisition purpose in mind; give us a private piece of data (e.g.: email address, phone #, mailing address) and we’ll you reward you with a special incentive offer.  Sweepstakes, enter-to-wins and loyalty programs have long been built upon this sort of transactional relationship. Incentives aside, however, garnering real-time consumer feedback from a customer who may be predisposed to buying your product or service is the real Holy Grail. Marketers have this benefit afforded to them today and are turning to these digital and social platforms in increasing numbers. Let me share with you an example of this strategy to make the blog post hopefully a bit more relevant. For several years now, wedü has been working with Underwriters Laboratories (UL) on the company’s ‘Safety Smart’ edutainment-style tour. In brief, the effort visits hundreds of elementary schools across the country over a 9-month period, educating students on important safety ‘dos and ‘don’ts   through an immersive video and interactive game experience- all delivered around a gigantic inflatable projection screen.  Yes, wish school was this “cool” back in the day, but I digress… In preparation for 2010, UL charged wedu to translate all the excitement behind the offline tour to the digital space while protecting the underlying campaign message of “Safety Smart.” After some initial consumer research, we elected to build a microsite. And not just any microsite either. One tricked out with the latest and greatest interface design features including accompanying iphone and ipad apps.  But just as important one that purposely seeded engagement elements like product knowledge competitions and viral videos to give infinite life to the campaign’s message. Currently the site itself, its features and nifty applications compliment the tour and give students a central destination to interact, share and explore on a 1:1 basis with the UL brand. Performance impact gets realized in a number of ways as students, parents and teachers share thoughtful discussions. Discussions that frankly form the basis of future iterations made to the educational tour itself in terms of content enhancements. Best of all, the tool has become a permanent extension of UL’s broader integrated marketing strategy. Technological trends will continue — this is for certain. While not all will necessarily be ‘centric’ to your brand or business, the ‘online’ engagement model is one too important to ignore. The next time you’re at the boardroom table plotting your next consumer marketing strategy, why not lead its creation from the web to the field? Rest assured, the conversations you’ll generate will appease the powers-that-be for appreciable return from your investment. More and more brands are realizing the vast benefits of integrating online marketing tools into their offline experiential efforts. As a company that is uniquely positioned with extensive experience in both interactive and experiential marketing, wedu is the company to turn to for a truly 360 degree tour marketing plan. Contact us today to chat about what we can do for your brand.
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