Do you want to know what your customers really think of your new perfume? Just watch their faces as they spray that test bottle in the air. Do they nod in approval, or do they screw up their faces and wave their hands in front of their noses?
That’s unfiltered feedback you can’t get by simply showing a potential customer a picture of the perfume or watching her stare at the bottle locked in a store’s glass cabinet.
Experiential marketing is not a new concept, but as consumers become immune to traditional ads, it has become one of the most effective ways for brands to connect with an audience. These campaigns are all about having real experiences with real people, and they offer a superior level of quality interaction that brands so desperately need.
Adjusting to the Modern Consumer
Modern consumers are savvy and cynical. They don’t believe everything they see and read.
Given that 78 percent of Millennials say they’re more likely to consider a brand after a face-to-face interaction, experiential marketing is becoming an even more essential medium in today’s advertising world. While it does a great job of attracting customers, the biggest benefit is that it provides unfiltered consumer feedback.
Traditional surveys limit the scope and depth of feedback. But a face-to-face experience gives companies access to raw thoughts, opinions, and emotions. When experiential marketing is utilized properly, it provides profound levels of feedback that can be directly used to improve your product and expand your reach.
Here are five ways to maximize customer feedback during an experiential marketing campaign:
1. Capture personal information.
Do everything you can to gather as much personal information from customers as possible. Knowing the ages, genders, and locations of your customers is a great way to enhance your segmentation efforts for campaigns down the road. Be sure to grab their email addresses so you can continue the conversation after the event is over.
You can even indirectly gather this information by offering an incentive — like a giveaway — or hosting a sweepstakes. Make it as quick, easy, and noninvasive as possible, and ensure that the enticement aligns with your audience.
2. Hire the right brand ambassadors.
Hire brand ambassadors who fit both your target market and the general demographic of the event you’re activating. If you have an experience at a hip music festival, make sure your street team is young and fashionable. If you’re at a conference for women in tech, it could be wise for your ambassadors to be female techies. They’re your eyes and ears during the experience, so make sure attendees will see them as authentic and want to engage with them.
Also, make sure they’re extremely knowledgeable about your company and can enthusiastically talk about your products. The conversations they have with customers can reveal some very useful takeaways. Encourage them to document the most memorable feedback and provide event recaps each day to share results.
3. Ensure that others have a good time.
When people are relaxed and having a good time, they are much more likely to open up and provide valuable feedback. Make sure your campaign provides a fun and engaging experience for consumers, and capitalize on their good moods by asking revealing questions.
Consider hiring a camera crew to record your happy customers and capture their feedback. Take these instant testimonials back to share with your entire company. You can even post them online if you’ve asked the featured customers to sign the necessary waivers.
4. Get creative.
Come up with creative ways to engage consumers. Perhaps you can bring in a large canvas and encourage them to use markers to create graffiti wall art that reflects their feelings about your brand. It feels a little rebellious and fun, and it provides a unique avenue for them to express themselves.
5. Encourage social media.
Many modern consumers feel most comfortable communicating digitally, and they use their social media accounts to truly express their feelings. Make sure you provide a social aspect to your campaign. Establish a hashtag, create a Facebook page, and provide a photo area for them to take pictures in a fun way with a cool 3-D backdrop or green screen application.
The goal isn’t to go viral. While that would be nice, the true benefit of social media is being able to track opinions in real time and share content post-event.
While experiential marketing campaigns are highly involved and require preparation, they provide a level of customer feedback that no other medium can. Consider these five tips when constructing your next campaign, and use the resulting feedback to enhance your brand, hone your offering, continue the conversation with your tribe, and create other successful campaigns down the road.