What does it take to pull off a successful experiential marketing program? You could say it’s in the creative, or the ability to execute flawlessly, or showing amazing ROI or maybe it’s those overly caffeinated event staff.

I’ve been running an experiential marketing company for the last 14 years and can say with absolute certainty that success almost always comes down to thorough planning.

Planning isn’t a season or a set length of time. Instead, planning is a well thought-out process to organize and build a working strategy to embrace the following:

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+ What you’re doing
+ Why you’re doing it
+ How it will be done

Unfortunately, planning is often done in haste due to whatever the current circumstances are. However, every project has short deadlines, varying parameters, tight budgets and unique expectations. Without dedicating the time and resources to prepare, important details may get left on the table. And that can lead to budget inefficiencies, missed goals, headaches on the road and unhappy clients.

Failing to plan, is planning to fail.  

Planning is about exploring, analyzing and taking a deep dive into all the various elements of an experiential marketing program. This not only keeps everyone on track, but also gives opportunity for clients to offer their feedback and expectations. Here’s an example of a few questions we address early in the planning process:

  1. Purpose: Why are we doing this & how will we pay it off?

  2. Goals + Expectations: How will we know if this is successful?

  3. Experience Layout: What does the consumer see and do as they move through the activation?

  4. Locations + Footprint: What will the space look like? Are there any special requirements or permits needed?

  5. Assets + Materials: What items needs to be fabricated, sourced, developed, purchased or rented?

  6. Technology: How does it work, what’s the backup plan if it fails?

  7. Operational Efficiency: How can we be the most efficient with time, energy and money without sacrificing quality?

  8. Event Staff: What are their roles, responsibilities and expectations?

  9. Production Calendar: What are the timelines, deadlines and requirements to produce and secure all the materials, site fees, permits, vehicles and staff?

  10. Reporting: What information does the client need? How would they like it presented and how often?

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