Marketing Professionals Seek Engagement Experience Lessons at BCAMA

Last Tuesday, June 18, the fp. Marketing and Communications team had the pleasure of attending the BCAMA’s (BC Chapter of American Marketing Association) event “Engage your Audience and Drive Sales with Experiential Marketing” event to listen success stories of companies that engaged in experiential marketing. Actually “engagement” was a key point in all presentations.

Many of our clients work with clients in the B2C space and we thought we would share our thoughts and observations of this very interesting and thought-provoking event.

Held at Telus Science World, the venue was just about perfect for an experiencial marketing event.

The list of speakers included Kevin Kinghorn of the Canucks, Max Lenderman of MDC’s The Arsenal Group, Karrie Bushel of WorkSafeBC & BC Hydro, and Kenny MacIntyre of Red Bull. A B2B example of experiential marketing was lacking but the B2C examples covered both public and private sectors, including food, utilities, health, education, sports industries and more. It was difficult to see how we could transition this type of marketing into our B2B model, but it was intriguing and definitely stimulated the brain cells. It showed that the shift in marketing authentically is continuing into live spaces and across all channels.

With plenty of examples and insights, Red Bull Project Manager, Kenny MacIntyre, brought his fantastical jaw-dropping project experiences to the Vancouver Marketing crowd. From Music to Art To Fashion, Red Bull is one the most audacious companies for being a big sponsor of out-of-box ideas that translate into profound experiences for their public – and some would say, all of us. The most extraordinary example was Felix Baumgartner’s quest of base jumping from space.

Kenny pointed out that in deciding what to take on, Red Bull looks for ideas that are understandable, audacious, bold, perhaps even ridiculous, but mostly… simple. Our ideas should be similar, we need dream big, keep them simple and easily understood, and we need to have the courage to be bold, perhaps even fail sometimes.

We should take on projects that authentically relate to our brand, do them because we can and we can afford it. What we shouldn’t do is make the decision based solely on the ROI and second guess ourselves. Finally, we need to be fearless of failure because failing is means we are learning what does and doesn’t work.

He encouraged us to make our plans robust, as this is key to the success. “You don’t even want to look at the Gantt charts for such a project” − MacIntyre commented about the world’s highest jump, remarking that they had to make everything for the project as none of it existed or had been done before.

In the end, he said they had over 4 billion combined live-stream and YouTube downloads of this event. “Half the planet saw this. At that point the ROI is kind-of meaningless”. Yah. We can see that.

At this point every marketer in the room was drooling. If we could only have a portion of those budgets, sure we’d have guys falling out of capsules too! We’d invent sports, make cats and dogs get along, and have eagles delivering lunches too. There’s nothing we couldn’t do! But that wasn’t the point. The point was to dream big and remember to play. Even down here on earth.

For us, the main take-away from this example is that maximum effort should be spent project planning – now that’s something fp. knows! It means ensuring a great creative brief, organizing the schedule of creative activities and managing all people involved. Of course, that means creative project management software is an essential tool in this process and can assist all of us working in marketing and with creatives on building better projects. Hey, singing our song!

Another essential aspect of experiential marketing is not only to focus in the actual moment of the experience but to create a plan for pre and post activities.

Pre-event activities like social media posts are necessary to make your public aware of the event/experience and spark conversations and create a buzz about it. Once again, people begin the engagement with the event before the event.

Post-event activities are necessary to extend the interaction and deepen the relationship with your public. This is where the brand credibility really sinks in and can convert people into loyal ambassadors of your brand, and that pre-and-post activities can have a greater reach than the actual event.

The other speakers were excellent and Max Lenderman, along with several of the other presenters, made passionate cases for us to remember that clients, customers, consumers are PEOPLE. We should market as if we are talking to our brothers, our sisters, our Mom, Dad, our friends. We need to do away with the labels. One-on-one engagements happen no matter if it is online or in person, and we will get greater interaction and connection when we plan events and use language that is direct, personal and real.

We all agreed that experiential marketing is usually not cheap, but it is effective, and creative tactics can help reduce the costs. Those clients in the B2C space can use it well to build brand awareness and drive sales, and perhaps there are even uses for it in B2B. It is necessary to measure the results (ie. number of engagements and their length and the information exchanged between parties) and compare it to the cost incurred. Financial reports (i.e. ROI) along with a clear vision what went wrong and what worked well will help you make better marketing decisions in the future, keeping in mind it’s not all about the numbers.

As a conclusion, we should say that experiential markerting is not only about execution, but also includes strategy, creation and measurement as any other marketing campaign. It has great direct potential to influence and can be an excellent tool in the toolkit.

Do you have any stories about how experiential marketing has been used by your clients?

Marcom Team | fp. Productivity Software

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