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March 26 2017

When it comes to marketing, the biggest challenge many businesses face isn’t coming up with creative campaigns. In fact; this is far from the hard part.

With advancements in technology and sources of inspiration coming from all sorts of places; generating the ideas for experiential marketing campaigns can even be fun.

The real challenge begins, when you being to look at measuring the success of these campaigns.

Measuring the ROI of your Search Engine Optimisation activity and Pay-Per-Click advertising is relatively easy in comparison. You simply check out your Google Analytics and compare your website visits, ad clicks and website rankings to last months or a previous period.

You’re presented with a colourful graph showing your progress, and there you have it – a clear measure of success.

With experiential marketing, things are a little different.

How are you supposed to get an accurate idea of how many people saw your wall mural or 3D street art? Is this the only way to really measure how impactful and successful your campaigns were?

While you can’t count the clicks like you can with PPC, or see your website climb the Google rankings like with SEO; you can measure the success of your experiential marketing – you just need to know what to measure.

And that’s what we’re going to share with you today.

As a leading experiential marketing agency, we’ve worked for many years to hone our craft and expand our knowledge. We’ve tried and tested a whole host of methods to identify the best ways of measuring the success of these kinds of advertising and marketing campaigns.

So whether you’re just about to launch a campaign and you want to know how to track its success, or you’re at the early stages and just exploring your options and you want to pitch in the idea for an experiential campaign to your client or boss; here are four key ways of measuring the success of your experiential marketing campaigns:

1. Define Your KPIs

Before you do anything – even come up with some killer campaign ideas – you need to have defined your KPIs.

There’s no denying that planning a successful campaign takes a great deal of time, expertise and creativity. But it stems from having a clear set of goals in mind. After all, just running in blind is one of the quickest ways to become a marketing flop.

Your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) need to, in the first instance, be obtainable. But they also need to be trackable and data-led. The key to outlining your KPIs is identifying what a successful campaign means to you.

  • What outcome is the sign of a successful campaign?
  • What are the steps along the way that have to be completed for your campaign to be a success?
  • What are the KPIs that have to be reached for your campaign to be a success?
  • Can you afford to fall short of any KPIs and still have a successful event? If so, what are they?
  • How will you track, monitor and measure these goals?

When you know the answers to these questions, you should be able to define a set of KPIs for you and your team to stick to.

Once you’ve defined your KPIs, you need to identify which metrics you’re going to use to track its success. Some will be more obvious that others – such as sales and online mentions – and others will be harder to monitor – like brand sentiment.

Either way, having a clear set of goals in mind makes it a whole lot easier to define and measure the success of your campaigns.

2. Brand Sentiment

Brand sentiment is at the heart of every marketing campaign, especially those focused on building brand equity and awareness – making it the perfect measure of success in an experiential marketing campaign.

It refers to the attempts by brands to build positive associations through advertising. The idea here is that if you see branding enough, you’ll form a positive association. When you then need to purchase a similar product, the idea is you’ll choose that specific brand.

For example, Cadburys’ Share the Joy tagline is reinforced by their hugely positive television adverts.

Each campaign they release is designed to be a metaphor for eating and enjoying chocolate. Every time you see an advert for the brand; you instantly feel positive. Every time you crave chocolate, Cadburys is the first name you think of.

Brand sentiment itself – and the art of measuring it – can be complicated, but it will provide you with in depth data and insights into how your customers and the general public perceive your brand.

Here are some of the different ways to think about measuring it:

  • Brand awareness research – This is perhaps the most obvious method, and the easiest technique to employ. Sending out surveys – websites such as Survey Monkey allow you to create them for free – to your customers and to the general public is a great way to assess brand awareness before, during and after your experiential campaign.
  • Brand influence – Brand influence is another important component of brand sentiment. Take Apple as an example. When they release a new product, hard-core fans rush out and purchase it right away. While you might not be as big as Apple, you should have fans that are this loyal.
  • Social media – Read point two, for more insights on this!

3. Social Media Engagement

Social media is a hugely powerful tool for marketing and should be a key partner in any experiential activity. Tracking everything from brand mentions to hashtag usage is a great way to see who’s saying what about your business and campaign.

Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are the key platforms where your customers will be discussing your campaign; you need to make sure you have a presence here to respond to any comments.

In an earlier blog post, we discussed how social media plays a huge part in building a buzz around 3D street art. As well as creating a sense of intrigue; you can also use social media to track the success of your experiential marketing.

One of the best ways of tracking social engagement is through hashtags.

A feature of Twitter, Instagram and now Facebook; encouraging people who post about the campaign to use the hashtag is a great way to hear exactly what people are thinking.

We recently worked with a client on one such street art campaign, and used Twitter to track the experiential interactions. We actively promoted a specific hashtag for the event, and kept a close eye on how it performed.

In the three days following the event, the hashtag picked up 1.5 million impressions.

That’s a staggering figure for any business, and is reason enough to use social networking sites to track and measure the success of your campaigns. Here are a few tips for doing just that:

  • DO: Be sure to use a simple, memorable hashtag so people can share their photographs and thoughts
  • DON’T: Use a long, complicated, or easily misunderstood hashtag or you could face a PR disaster like the #susanalbumparty drama of 2012!
  • DO: Promote your hashtag in and around the event and with your other marketing collateral
  • DON’T: Keep changing the hashtag throughout the campaign

It’s important to remember though, that this is just an engagement figure and won’t reveal everyone who saw the campaign. It’s also important to remember that someone may have skim read a Tweet about the campaign, and then continued scrolling.

As long as you have a solid understanding of the metrics, social media engagement is certainly a measure worth using.

4. Sales

Perhaps the most obvious way to measure the success of experiential marketing is through sales. However, this is a little easier than it sounds.

After all, how can you tell that a sale was the direct result of seeing your campaign?

The truth is: you can’t. But you can spot trends in your customers’ buying patterns and that’s perhaps the best, and closest indicator you’re going to get.

Let’s say you’re creating a piece of 3d street art to promote a specific product; like Walls did with Magnum in this example from our portfolio.

This will invariably be one, small part of an overarching marketing push – albeit an impactful one. When you get your sales results, can you see a distinct peak in sales at the time the campaign was running?

One way in which you can track sales at the time of the event is selling the specific product close by, Using the Magnum example; Walls could have had sales staff at ice-cream stations around the artwork selling the exact ice-cream.

They would have then had a clear indication of exactly how much had been sold at the event, and how popular the product had been.

While this is logistically impossible for some companies and some products; tracking sales is a great indication of how successful your experiential marketing campaign has been.

What’s more; any good experiential agency would be able to offer you tips and advice on the best ways of doing this depending on the type of campaign you’re running.

5. BONUS – The High-Tech Way

Of course, you can use technology to give you that added edge over your competition.

At Street Advertising Services, we’re one of the first experiential agencies to measure the success of campaigns at the event itself – with facial recognition and tracking software.

Yep, it does sound like something out of a sci-fi movie but it is fast becoming one of the go-to methods of tracking audience demographics. Even Tesco are using it.

So how did we use it, and what did we learn?

We used the software to measure the campaign at the event – something we’ve already mentioned is super difficult – to give us accurate, real-time data around:

  • Dwell time
  • Gender
  • Age
  • …and even the number of smiles!

This allowed us to see our campaign in a whole new light. Coupling this data with all our other tracking methods helped us to see genuine customer responses, and how they corresponded with sales data for instance.

This is, as I’m sure you can imagine, hugely beneficial to businesses and is something that you should definitely consider if you can get your hands on the software.

It’s important to remember though; that this is perhaps the most costly option of all we’ve mentioned and is best left for brands and businesses who run a number of experiential marketing campaigns.

Another thing to remember is that facial recognition software isn’t always 100% accurate and would work best alongside all these other methods of measuring marketing success.

The Final Word

Running a marketing campaign is only half the story.

Accurately measuring the success of your marketing – and most importantly learning how to analyse and learn from the data you acquire – is a key element to any campaign.

Armed with this information, you can move your marketing on to the next level. You can learn what your customers like – and what they don’t – and you can identify what it is that drives sales.

Measuring the success of an experiential advertising campaign is no mean feat; it takes hard work, dedication and a little creativity, but it makes the whole thing worthwhile.

After all, you wouldn’t run any other type of marketing campaign without analysing how effective and successful it had been.

To find out more about using experiential marketing for your business, contact us today.

Post Note: Event Magazine, have recently published a fine article on their blog, debating whether the measurement of experiential marketing matters and if so, how can it be done. Experiential Marketing covers such a diverse range of marketing ideas and projects that comparing the success of a corporate tradeshow to a yoghurt sampling is impossible but the ultimate test for any campaign should be in sales. A pound spent on experiential is comparable toa poud spent on billboard ads as the final outcome is always measured in a pound in sales.

You can read the article here: The fatal flaw in attempts to measure brand experience