September 16, 2022

Experiential marketing tactics are sexy, but when do they make strategic sense?

Pop-ups, interactive kiosks and custom semitrailers are commonplace for big brands with big budgets. Even challenger brands seem to think that vehicle wraps, mobile tours and other experiential tactics are their ticket to legitimacy and perhaps a shot at Goliath. But is this what consumers are looking for, or just an opportunity for agencies to stroke brand manager egos?

Unless your brand has more budget than it can spend, here are three questions you should be asking your agency when their big idea gets pitched?

  1. How multi-dimensional is this tactic? To create more impact with your marketing dollars, a tour or event needs to either reach more than one audience, create awareness through multiple channels or contain a significant educational component. The education piece of this is especially important if the brand’s product or services are highly considered -- meaning they require technical or category knowledge to fully understand their benefits. Reaching influencers, as well as the decision makers, can add significant ROI to a large line item on the budget.
  2. Where is the opportunity for earned media? And, no, this doesn’t mean just sending out a news release. One of the smartest ways a brand can punch above their budget weight class is to harness the power of earned media. This question should be asked in the early stages of any experiential marketing tactic and should drive a lot of decisions. If you don’t have a unique angle that will appeal to consumer (or industry) media then it’s likely not to be compelling for consumers either. Even more importantly, earned media allows you to reach tens of thousands whereas an event usually results in an event that is measured by hundreds.
  3. What’s sticky about the experience? The spectacle and/or the cool experience can’t be it. There should be a meaningful outcome from the brand experience. You need the audience, even those who interact with the experience/event through earned media coverage, to learn something and associate the knowledge with your brand. Essentially, how do we continue the brand impressions beyond the event? Tchotchkes may be a part of it, but there must be more.

DMH was recently tasked with transforming a regional pet food manufacturing brand (American Nutrition) into a national umbrella brand (American Pet Nutrition) and competitor in the premium dog and cat food market. The campaign idea needed to engage new retail partners and achieve national awareness with a 5:1 spending differential. Bolstering awareness in a crowded market with a limited budget got us thinking one thing...Road Trip!

DMH launched a nationwide mobile tour, setting up outside in grocery store parking lots and dog parks across the country to educate pet parents about pet nutrition and positive reinforcement dog training in a decked-out vehicle known as The Good Stuff Pet Truck. The earned media alone offered a great ROI, but the pet owner events both supported new retailers and resulted in a 38 percent lift in sustained sales for each location.

Check out the Good Stuff Pet Truck and learn the whole story!

< Back to News + Articles