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The Top 5 Experiential Marketing Mistakes

experiential marketing mistakes

So, you’ve decided to delve into the world of experiential marketing. Logically, your first step is to hire a reputable experiential marketing company. Check. Next on the list is finding an idea to promote. Check.

The next step is turning the key and revving your big event. You want to showcase your product or idea in the most captivating way possible. But the question is, how do you do it successfully?

Your overall goal is to ensure that your experiential event will stand out and capture the attention of a vast audience. However, as great as the vision of the event might be, a poorly planned event can be its downfall. Without hammering out the details and sustaining stellar communication, your event could be a flop. Here are a few mishaps that may occur on the road to completing the event, along with ways to avoid them.

1. Having Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen

Which is better: One master chef orchestrating an entire meal with a complete vision of how everything’s going to fit together, or the chaos of several assistant chefs, working on various parts of the course? What if all these people don’t work together and their dishes don’t coordinate or complement the main course? What if one chef drops the ball entirely and completely backs out before the guests even arrive?

Experiential marketing is the same way. The more companies involved, the greater the chance for mistakes and miscommunication. It is better to hire a solid team with a streamlined process, than outsourcing to multiple agencies.

Effective coordination is key.

2. Unable to Evaluate and Measure Performance

During and after the event, conversations are sure to flow, concerning your overall event’s strategy and implementation. One of the biggest mistakes is being unable to gauge the audience’s view of the masterpiece. If you don’t readily make this aspect accessible to the audience, then how will the audience be able to express their views about your experiential event’s success?

At this point, you’ve got to ask yourself a few questions:

  • What is your audience talking about concerning your event?

  • What is useful feedback and what isn’t useful?

  • What worked, and what didn’t?

  • How do you know if your event impacted the audience as you intended?

  • Does the experiential marketing company you hired have their own KPI (key performance indicators) in place to make these assessments?

  • Will this overlap, confuse, or benefit your brand’s own KPI measures?

One good way to track this information is through social media, which is highly useful for gauging your audience’s reactions to your event. This way, you gather information for future marketing strategies and experiential events.

3. Making the Message Too Complex.

So, your giant robotic cowboy successfully made it to the middle of Times Square. Great! But what’s the point? Is it clear to the audience what the message is supposed to be? What on earth is the main focus of that mechanized wrangler? Does the cowboy contain obvious (and intended) rhetorical ties that lead back to your brand?

The experiential brand messaging needs to be clear and simple to understand for the consumers you’re marketing to. As someone creating an event, don’t create an experience so complicated that the audience doesn’t get it. Even worse, don’t create an experience so unrelated to your brand that while your target market might find it ‘really cool’ ...the interpreted message doesn’t lead them back to your brand at all.

4. Don’t Collect Data and Don’t Follow Up.

Now your event has been completed, reaching your intended audience, as planned! Your idea was promoted with laser focus on your target market demographics and everything went off smashingly well (and no animals or humans had been harmed in the making of this campaign).

Unfortunately, one big mistake often made by companies is to just have the event’s back end processes stop right there. You just did an amazing experiential event and reached all these people. But here are the next 3 questions you now need to ask:

  • How are you going to drive brand awareness beyond the event’s activation and conclusion?

  • What is your company’s next big step after this big event?

  • What ways can we further leverage the event, based on the results from our KPI?

Finding advantageous ways to utilize information from this event truly makes the entire campaign worth the time, effort, and of course, the allocated budget.

5. Putting Business Goals Ahead of the Brand Experience.

Perhaps the most important aspect of experiential marketing is that it gives you an avenue to create a unique experience for each person. You essentially want your brand to pop and sizzle! So, have you achieved this goal through your event or has your event fizzled in the eyes of the audience?

Don’t simply host an event with brand ambassadors, droning on about how the particulars of your brand are better than that of your competitors. You want to create buzz, a conversation that lasts and not recite meaningless product benefits and facts (because that’s what everybody else is already doing).

Instead of listing mundane pointers about your company’s product or service, which is definitely going to bore an audience that’s already time and attention-strapped as it is; instead, you should think about what feelings, knowledge, or awareness that your audience should experience.

You essentially want to drive that message home and not get stopped at the gate of their attention filter.

The Takeaway: Because It Matters

What is the takeaway message that your experiential event has inspired?

Don’t just answer that question for your audience, because instant gratification is a cheap commodity in the lives of this commercial-saturated market. But in leading them, via your company’s experiential marketing event, you’ll find that consumers tend to invest in your brand’s uniqueness in a much deeper way.

Phil Provost is an experiential & event marketing expert, Integrated marketing consultant & President at PSP Media, an experiential marketing agency based in NYC. We have over 20 years experience in creating turnkey experiential marketing experiences nationwide. Whether you need help coming up with your next pop up shop idea or simply want someone to help take over the operations and management, our event experts are ready to help. NEED HELP WITH YOUR EVENT? Click here to get a Free Event Quote today.

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Phillip Provost is a senior media executive who has worked in experiential event marketing for years. Phil is currently President of PSP Media Inc.

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