The Problem With Current Marketing Campaigns and How Experiential Elements Can Help
At VisualFizz, we talk about Experiential Marketing and how it relates to Digital Marketing quite a bit, and there’s a reason for it. Even the best digital marketing campaigns out there will likely be ineffective if they do not engage their audiences on emotional and sensory levels. We’re here to describe some of the core flaws of the current marketing game and how adding experiential elements to your marketing can help improve the ROI from your marketing channels.
Related Reading: How To Add Experiential Elements to Your Branded Event
Traditional Experiential Campaigns
First, let’s list the types of ‘experiential’ marketing strategies that are common. These don’t include the standard digital strategies like PPC, SEO, etc, and will focus mainly on what is considered “experiential”.
IMPRESSION BASED MARKETING
Let’s face it, impression-based campaigns are a dying breed. Google reported that 56% of online display ads are not actually seen by consumers, and a study by Lumen shows that only 35% of ads get any actual views at all. Unfortunately, and to further compound this evidence, marketing companies that push these kinds of campaigns are known to skew statistics reported to their clients.
With newer generations, this type of marketing is not only becoming considerably less effective, but it also can’t measure one of the most important ROI factors – the emotions that influence decision making and someone’s perception of the brand.
Creating marketing content with the intention that it hopes to “go viral” is a technique used to reach a target audience with the hope that the content will rapidly spread across the web through peer-to-peer sharing. “Going viral” can set unknown brands on the map of their target audiences and set them apart from their competition.
However, it’s extremely difficult (if not impossible) to measure the number of qualified leads that come through from the campaign, and since ‘going viral’ is a chance event that happens organically and almost at random, this strategy is generally an ineffective target when compared to well-planned, well-executed traditional marketing campaigns. In fact, most marketers will give a good hearty eye roll when a client insists that their messages need to “go viral” as soon as possible. Sorry to break to you, but most viral marketing is BS. Clickbait, guilt factors, and fear-based messaging (think “share this or you will be single for the next 47 years”) are all spammy af and should not be used as the main marketing strategy.
Not only is lead tracking from viral campaigns difficult, but it’s also extremely difficult to measure the response of exposed consumers. Ultimately, the way that consumers perceive the viral advertisement is left entirely up to the audience, which can lead to a potential backfire with negative results.
Want to learn more about how viral attempts can backfire, and what you can learn from others’ mistakes? Check out Biggest Brand Failures of 2017.
“HOW DID WE DO?” SURVEYS
As this type of data gathering becomes increasingly overused, consumers are becoming more and more immune and even apathetic to the standard “How did we do?” survey. Estimates by Benchmark suggest that less than 15% of all survey emails get opened. The inability to tell businesses why consumers liked the experience and the actual impact the campaign had on their brand perceptions is one of the largest drawbacks of the traditional “how did we do” survey – it just doesn’t collect enough specific information to make informed, data-backed decisions that can be confidently applied to future campaigns.
Surveys are often very easily manipulated to provide false information. Survey info has been known to be skewed by employees who coach customers on how to respond in an effort to maximize their incentives. Even the slightest adjustment in verbiage can have an effect on a consumer’s response, and discrepancies and inconsistencies can radically skew data collected.
Even in a perfect data collection world without falsified data, there are far too many factors at play and far too much grey area between “yes, I liked it” and “no, I didn’t like it” that the true value of surveying consumers is lost. Businesses traditionally end up spending large budgets just to ask “would you recommend us to a friend”, even though these vague questions with even more vague answers almost never provide enough insight for the company to apply findings to future marketing.
Guerilla marketing is a term used to describe marketing tactics that are innovative, unconventional, and usually, very low cost, aimed at obtaining maximum audience exposure for a product. If executed carefully and correctly at the right time and place, a Guerilla Campaign can succeed with flying colors. However, similar to that of viral campaigns, these types of initiatives are heavily based on luck and run the risk of unpredictable exposure.
In addition to the lack of surefire evidence that these campaigns will be successful, companies also have to worry about the way the marketing effort will be perceived by exposed consumers. There’s always the risk of misinterpretation that can hurt rather than grow a brand.
The key factors to a good guerrilla marketing campaign are actually quite simple and are similar to the factors that make up a successful general marketing campaign:
- Focus on the audience. Understand your target market and make sure that a guerrilla campaign is appropriate for the clientele.
- Have a call to action. It’s easy to get focused on the actual “surprise” factor of the campaign and forget to have a call to action telling interested consumers where to go next.
- Make it memorable. What good is a guerrilla campaign if it doesn’t stick with the audience and create a lasting, positive impression? Not very. Connecting emotionally with your target audience is the only true way to make a lasting impression that will positively reflect your brand.
An EventTrack study reported that 65% of the consumers surveyed said live events helped them have a better understanding of a product or service, vastly surpassing digital efforts and TV advertising as methods of recognizing and learning about a brand. Modern-day consumers want more than ever to experience and interact with a brand, rather than learn about it through traditional marketing channels.
Another impressive statistic found the same EventTrack report shows that 98% of users feel more inclined to purchase after attending a branded activation. This serves to further back the idea that experiential marketing influences consumer decision making and ultimately leads to more sales.
Well-tracked digital campaigns with added experiential elements give companies the ability to learn about and tap into their target audience like never before. Accurately measured data can not only help companies engage with consumers in more effective ways, but this data can also help companies learn and truly understand what turns searchers into loyal customers.
Have you seen examples of excellent digital campaigns that have experiential elements? We’d love to hear about them!