Your Guide to Measuring Events and Experiential Marketing

The Paine of Measurement

Dear Measurement Fans,

“You have to be in their face to get their attention.” We’ve heard it before; everyone is so focused on their devices that no one actually ever truly connects. Which is why “experiential marketing,” i.e., any attempt to achieve your goals via some in-person interaction, is such a hot trend these days.

Whether it involves an expert speaker at an industry conference, a party, a pop-up store, or a booth at a festival, brands of all types and sizes are jumping on the experiential bandwagon.

And of course, where the money goes, measurement must follow.

The search for value from in-person events is nothing new. Two decades ago my measurement business would put our staff into trade-show booths to find out whether attendees had actually learned anything at the booth, and if they were likely to purchase as a result. In one striking example we had to give a large personal computer client some awkward news: Considering what they had paid for the space and the booth, relative to the number of qualified leads they acquired, they would have been better off just giving away laptops.

In some ways, things haven’t changed much. Sure, you now have all kinds of other things you can measure, like hashtags, and click-throughs, and even motion tracking technology, but the bottom line question every VP will ultimately ask is: “Was it worth the money?”

The hardest part remains the same: Pinning down that definition of “worth.” According to a survey by experiential event producer Freeman, for CMO’s the value is in creating “relationships” and “engagement.” But judging from the metrics used by most marketers, the sum of experiential marketing value is measured by the extent of social sharing and “earned media value.” Somehow that effort magically turns into revenue. I wonder if their CFO would agree?

Is an event’s value measured in leads? Awareness? Preference? Increased trust? Better understanding of your strategy? Reduced opposition to your plans? The key as always is to get agreement on your SMART objectives and stick to them. Read our three-part how-to guide to measuring experiential marketing in these articles:

If you are just getting started measuring events or experiential marketing—or for a reminder of what’s most important amid all the details—then take a look at:

As usual, the world of events has its Mavens to celebrate…

…and its Menaces to boo:

And, speaking of bad measurement, let’s not forget that even the biggest companies make mistakes. Big mistakes. Here’s the story of the faulty research behind one of the least successful product launches ever:

We hope you enjoy our Measurement Advisor issue on experiential marketing measurement. Keep in touch.

Party (and measure) on!

(Animation by Bill Paarlberg based on an image by Helaine6 on Pixabay.)

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