Experiential Marketing Works! But can you prove it?

You did it! The absolutely perfect experiential marketing opportunity finally came up, and you got to take your brand on the road with the ultimate live brand experience. You had a custom Airstream trailer, a shipping container pop-up shop, a living floral wall, the perfect Snapchat filter, and a vinyl-loving DJ. The pics are gorgeous, and everyone you know says that you crushed it. 

But now it’s last week's memory, you’re back in the office, and it is time to face the music. The powers-that-be want to know, quantitatively, how the brand activation actually affected their business. What do you say? What do you do? You start frantically pulling together the daily recaps to show some kind of results, but the total attendance and number of free giveaways that you tracked don't seem to be enough information. 

Unfortunately, there are no magic wands or time machines. We can't fix what we forgot to track, but we can have a fail-safe performance measurement plan, moving forward.

The basic event metrics that are usually tracked, (Impressions, Event Attendance, Foot Traffic, Samples Distributed, and Leads,) should be your starting points. Beyond those, what are your brand-specific KPIs? What are your brand’s business and marketing goals? How does experiential marketing help to achieve them? Here are a few as examples, but every category and industry has its own.

  • Brand Lift - Conduct a short pre and post-event survey of event attendees to measure how their perceptions of the brand were affected by the event activation.

  • Engagement -  How many actual people interacted with your brand experience? What should qualify as a brand-specific engagement for this event?  What percent of total event attendees actually engaged with the brand?

  • Social Media - Make sure your Insta-worthy Airstream and floral wall are picture perfect, and encourage visitors to share. Create a short, memorable, and brand unique hashtag for your visitors to use when sharing their event experience on social media.

  • Cost Efficiencies - Take the total cost of the activation, from sponsorship, to display assets, to staff, time and travel, and calculate your CPE (cost per engagement), CPL (Cost per Lead), and ROI (Return on Investment)

  • Purchases (CPP: Cost per Purchase onsite) - How important is driving sales at the actual event to your brand’s stakeholders? Make sure you have reasonable projections of sales before the event.

  • Media - How much exposure did your brand get, from involvement in the event, and what is the value of that exposure? 

If you plot out all of your key performance metrics ahead of time, get buy-in from the brand stakeholders, and project your results before event set-up ever happens, you’ll be better prepared to achieve greatness. And once the event has wrapped, your KPIs are reported and exceed projections, you will be be championed as the experiential marketing visionary you truly are.