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Last week Department Zero attended the 2011 Event Marketer Summit, a three-day conference for brands and agencies in the experiential marketing industry. There were some fantastic case studies, fascinating keynote speakers, not to mention a party or two. Everyone in the industry seemed to be energized, full of fresh ideas, and ready to kick this summer into high gear. Below are the themes that popped up continually across the conference sessions, and my thoughts on each.

  • If you didn't measure it, it didn't happen. Every dollar spent marketing products in a down economy must be justified. As event marketing and branded experiences continue to grow in importance to national marketing plans, the heat is on to determine the value of all that activity. If measurement and metrics are not determined before an effort has been outlined, it has already failed.
  • ROI measurement is not standardized. The value of target audience engagements should be and are different for a company selling $50,000 vehicles than they are for a packaged goods company selling $2 snacks. Every brand and every agency should be putting together customized ROI models for each effort, based on pre-determined goals.
  • Social media must be well incorporated from the beginning. The capacities available for pre-seeding, monitoring, participating, and extending the life of all campaigns are still only beginning to be used as they could. Many brands are still experimenting with social, determining how and why it may be right for them. For those that have made social media part of their communication channels, baking in a social media plan from the beginning nets the strongest results.
  • The recession fueled grassroots efforts. A large part of experiential marketing's recent growth has been driven by quick and nimble mobile tours with small footprints and fast turnaround times. In the rush, it is imperative that none of the elements mentioned above are lost.

Over the last 8 years, we've launched many opportunistic efforts for our clients in 6-8 week time frames. Our experience-honed process ensures all elements are addressed and reviewed while also incorporating the newest tools available.

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