4 Signs Your Experiential Marketing Lacks Purpose

From interactive philanthropic experiences to augmented reality, experiential marketing is on the rise, with more brands looking to create memorable experiences for consumers in order to drive sales.

According to a 2018 Mosaic and Event Marketer EventTrack study, 84% of brands use events and experiences to promote their products and services to consumers. But simply following a trend, doesn’t guarantee success if your brand doesn’t have purpose. 

So what does it mean to be a purpose-driven brand? It means defining who you are—your mission and values—and then creating business and operational models that deliver on those goals. It’s about making a lasting and positive change in the world. And when that message resonates with consumers, there’s a lasting impact.
According to new Accenture research, two-thirds of consumers prefer to purchase from companies that stand for a purpose and reflect their own values and beliefs.

Create Purpose-Driven Campaigns

One of the quickest ways to learn what consumers think about your brand and the message it’s sending is to meet them where they’re already voicing their opinion: on social media. Strengthen your brand-consumer relationship by practicing social listening and responding to comments—both positive and negative—in a timely manner. This allows you to tap into consumer sentiment, get feedback on products and marketing campaigns, and even recruit brand ambassadors.

After learning what consumers want, you can use that knowledge to create an experiential marketing campaign that aligns with your brand’s purpose and determines where changes need to be made in your current marketing efforts.

Here are four signs your experiential marketing efforts are lacking purpose:

1. They don’t align with your brand values or could be perceived as offensive

For an experiential marketing campaign to be successful, it has to authentically tell your brand story in a way that’s relevant to consumers. Consumers are savvy and can detect inauthenticity and bravado a mile away.

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Brands also need to ensure they are not sending the wrong message. One marketing push that caused offense was an Amazon promotion for its show “The Man in the High Castle.” The show looks at what life might have been like had Germany won World War II. The promotion included a New York subway car decked out with Nazi eagles, an image that looked similar to the Japanese rising sun, and more. Riders complained, and the ads were pulled.
Reach out to your public relations or communications team to share ideas and come up with a strategy to handle negative attention from the media should things go awry.

2. They’re not attracting the right consumer

Every campaign should start with an intimate understanding of consumers—who they are, what motivates and excites them, and why they buy. This helps brands identify their best source of business and target other consumers who think and act similarly. When brands create experiences that don’t resonate with consumers, they’re not utilizing their marketing dollars effectively.
However, this doesn’t mean you should be afraid to think outside the box. Ford Europe took a unique approach when it made the unprecedented decision to launch a vehicle at a gaming event. While Ford Europe’s executive director of communications and public affairs admitted that gaming tends to attract younger consumers who aren’t in the market to buy a car, he said that he views it as a way to make a lasting impression on future customers.

3. They’re boring

Consumer trends continue to accelerate at breakneck speed. If people have “been there, done that,” your event or experience isn’t going to gain the buzz you’re looking for. Brands need to constantly think of new ways to bring their brand story to life in innovative, groundbreaking ways.
One successful campaign that piqued the interest of passers-by was from Lean Cuisine. Women at New York’s Grand Central Station were encouraged to weigh in on custom-built scales. But the “scales” were actually boards that weighed women’s accomplishments rather than their pounds. They included things like “finishing med school” or “caring for others.” The overall campaign encouraging healthy lifestyles instead of only focusing on weight garnered more than 200 million social media impressions.

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4. You haven’t gained consumer insights

Experiential marketing offers a chance for brands to gain deep insights into their consumers and provide real-time data tracking on sales, awareness, sentiment, and customer relationships. This data informs marketers’ future experiential retail ideas and campaigns by allowing them to pinpoint what drives sales and eliminate less successful elements from their marketing strategies.
In an EventTrack study, consumers were asked to describe an experience or event they attended that had a lasting impression on them. Based on those responses, here are a few tips for brands that are looking to create an insightful and meaningful experiential marketing campaign: Make the experience welcoming, immerse consumers in interactive games or competitions, provide samples, create a sense of discovery, offer an emotional tie, and make sure it’s entertaining.
When it comes down to it, advertisements and social media strategy simply aren’t enough in today’s evolving world of marketing. Take your brand to the next level by creating an experience that resonates with consumers and reflects their values. That is what creates brand loyalty for a lifetime.

Ready to take your experiences to the next level? Check out our Definitive Guide to Event Marketing for more on creating unforgettable experiences.

Download now

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