How can experiential marketing deliver real-world ROI?

According to new research, 67% of B2B marketers expect their experiential marketing budgets to increase before the end of 2020, with a projected budget growth of around 24%.

What’s driving this growing investment? Well, three-quarters of B2B marketers think experiential marketing was their most successful tactic in the last year. Clearly, experiential is working.

It’s more difficult to pin down how, exactly, it is working. As many brands begin to nurture a holistic approach to experience design, measuring ROI can take a back seat as everyone gets excited about attention-grabbing sound and light shows. But for experience design to be successful, it has to have a system of evaluation built into it from the get-go.

Set the Right Targets

With clear targets in mind from the start, brand owners can ensure they get the most out of any experience they create. Aims and targets should be chosen and structured in order to demonstrate clear movement down the sales funnel, and should be pinned down as precisely as possible.

Ask yourself, which user behavior should a given experience drive, at which point in the process, and why? Events and activations can then be devised with targets in mind, revealing at the planning phase how they will concretely contribute to engagement and lead generation.   

Know Your Audience

Experiential marketing case studies are rife with stories of flash-mobs, contests, talking points and play spaces. All of which is well and good. But a great experiential marketer won’t throw every idea at the wall, just to see what sticks. It’s vital to understand your audience, first.

By truly getting to know a buyer and understanding their potential journey, B2B companies can tailor experiences to suit their audience’s preferences. You can’t waste time forcing interactions that buyers have no patience for. Otherwise, you risk being remembered for all the wrong reasons.

Keep It Personal

One commonly held misconception is that experiential design must have some kind of sensory wow factor. Yes, a wow factor is nice, but what’s even better is real, human connection. Creating connections and building relationships is a crucial component of great experience. Sometimes, bells and whistles can distract from the simple value of in-person conversation about a B2B product offering.

That’s not to say the wow factor doesn’t have its place. But when you hold discussions and have simple conversations with your buyers, you can take what you learn about them to create experiential wow moments that mean something to them on a more personal level. Those experiences, then, are more likely to drive the engagement that ultimately leads to conversion.

Discover tips for boosting your exhibition attendance with our brand-new guide, available now for download on The Knowledge.

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