Expectations. We all have them. Especially when it comes to attending an event. We scout out who’s going to be there, guess what the entertainment will be like, what our exit strategy is in case it sucks. Most of the time we are pleasantly surprised by how it turns out. Sometimes we are underwhelmed. Either way, it’s usually not exactly how we envisioned it would be. Managing an event brings on the same jitters, and expectations.
I have a real appreciation for experiential campaigns done right — ones that are well-thought-out and not just one-off activations with no legs. And what I mean by that is, I appreciate experiential campaigns that are crafted to live elsewhere. Outside of that one day and venue. Ones that can be followed up and played out via other marketing channels. You will rarely have a positive ROI if you don’t think through how you can maximize your experiential investment.
Today more than ever it’s become harder and harder to connect with people face-to-face. Why? Because in our society, people — especially millennials and emerging generations — hide behind digital screens. Phones, tablets, computers, TV screens, wearable tech — it’s become, dare I say, almost an addiction.
Anyone in the event business can tell you about the all too familiar pit they had in their stomach last night watching Warren Beatty announce the wrong movie for the Oscar “Best Picture” win. To say that details matter in those situations is an understatement. One snafu and the whole operation goes haywire. What the heck happened?
With Valentine’s day on the horizon, I’ll get a little sappy — if marketing is all about romancing a consumer into wanting to buy a product or service that you are offering, then isn’t experiential marketing almost like a date? Meeting face-to-face has the power to establish a real emotional connection, and maybe even a life-long companion.
The lessons that I learned on tour were priceless, and all the experiences that I’ve gone through…I like to think that I wear them on my sleeves. Experiential is a lifestyle, like most businesses, but make sure not to take yourself too seriously.
I get a phone call asking whether I wanted to go on tour with Playstation via the Lilith Fair and get hooked up with a cush hotel room every night with gourmet catering. Or…I could work on another tour that would involve much more heavy lifting staying on a tour bus shared with 18 other hot and sweaty crew members, and perhaps a shower every other day. The Warped Tour. To me this was a no-brainer.
Experiential marketing has to be innovative for it to be memorable. You need the right creative talent, along with the kind of management that respects and fosters that talent. The freedom to create can make all the difference when getting to the big idea.
One of the most crucial parts of planning a successful experiential marketing event is the journey that it takes to get there. It sounds simple but make sure you have a process in place, hold people accountable, and stay on-brief.
Regardless of your end-goals, the live experience itself will always remain one of the most effective and engaging ways of reaching your audience. It’s so important to create and foster inclusive and social environments that are both one-of-a-kind and memorable.