No one is perfect. And no one marketing tactic is perfect either. Whether you are a Marketing Consultant with a number of clients or a Marketing Coordinator for one firm, you know the golden rule: what works for some won’t always work for others. Event marketing is no exception. It’s not for everyone. Victoria Harris in her blog post, Freshen Your Thinking To Retain Your Best Clients put it well,
“Big, creative campaigns are often the key to winning business, but it is worth analyzing the long-term benefits of these and whether they resonate in consumers’ minds for a long period of time. The investment required for experiential activity must be worthwhile and perhaps some simpler ideas that will lead to media coverage will be more beneficial.”
There are some limitations to event and experiential marketing which, if are insurmountable, can eliminate the tactic from your marketing mix. Experiential and event marketing, at its core, involves direct communication with your target audience and bringing your brand to your consumers in a public space. Therefore it would be ineffective when:
- You’re trying to reach an audience which is unreceptive. Some audiences prefer less intrusive communication methods and would not participate in the event or may disagree with a brand invading their personal space.
- Trying to disseminate information to the masses. You are reaching only the people who see or participate in the event. It is not a method of information dissemination that lives on and continues to be searchable many years later like a blog post would be.
Now that you are aware of these limitations it is important to incorporate them into your planning process. How do you determine whether this would be the most beneficial tactic and will compliment your marketing mix? How do you overcome these limitations?
- You should know your customers better than any PR or Marketing consultant. That being said don’t be afraid to turn down a pitch or an idea, you know what will get their attention. When considering experiential marketing you have to imagine yourself as a customer of your own business. How would you interpret the proposed event? Is it aligned with your current marketing strategies and brand image? Would they be willing to participate or are they unreceptive? What would attract and engage them – is this doable with your budget and resources? If they are unwilling to participate maybe there is a less invasive tactic to build awareness or distribute a message.
- Is there a location that you can reach a large number of your target audience? This could be a trade or industry show, mall, store or even a busy street. If there is no obvious location for your event to be held where you can intercept a large number of your target audience then experiential marketing may not be the best route.
- One of the limitations of event marketing is that your reach is limited in comparison to other tactics. Which is true, the potential reach and number of impressions are far less in comparison to what social media can offer but the majority of impressions are of a higher quality. Yes you will have quite a few people attend your event that are outside of your target audience and won’t act on your message, however, you would have chosen a place that’s crawling with potential customers. You have the opportunity to engage and interact directly with your target audience. You can get your product samples in the hands of your consumers, receive feedback, make clarifications and essentially create a memorable experience, something social media cannot offer. Large events also will attract attention and as a result lead to publicity, to further your reach incorporate social media into your event. That way you are reaching both the online and offline worlds.
- How to Give Your Customers an Unforgettable Experience (scottsmarketplace.com)
- What’s in Your Marketing Mix? (business2community.com)