Personal interactions with customers at live events are brand magic. They can turn vaguely interested prospects into devoted fans. How do you capture that, measure it, recreate it? If you are struggling with this question, you’re not alone. Only 6 percent of marketers are confident in their ability to establish ROI for experiential marketing (XM).
The good news is that new forms of data capture and experiential marketing technology are changing all that for the better. These advanced tools and techniques are helping marketers run, manage and measure the effectiveness of XM. By bringing offline experiences into online metrics, marketers can attribute sales more accurately and improve performance of their next events.
It’s no wonder why XM is taking off. A recent Harris poll found that in 2014 78 percent of millennials would rather spend money on a desirable experience than a desirable object. Similarly, Econsultancy reported that offline events have become the key battleground for customer attraction and retention.
Brands that are not addressing the issue related to measuring the value of XM in their marketing mix are losing budgets, missing results and giving their consumers a poor experience. New research shows that businesses are losing up $62 billion every year due to a poor experience alone.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Take a look at a few key tactics that brands can deploy immediately to reset their XM priorities and give customers a positive experience:
The experience begins the first instant the customer encounters your brand, including registration, check-in, and anything else that has to happen before the main event.
More and more brands are finding success with unique registration experiences that are customizable and personalized. A good example is the Acura Mood Road event at Sundance. Inside a round motion simulator, passengers were hooked up to 30 sensors that measured inputs like mood, heartbeat and facial expressions. Based on the data, each was served up a personalized driving experience.
In the words of Hyundai Motor America’s CMO Dean Evans “I don’t have to tell you we’re undergoing a paradigm shift when it comes to how people are buying cars.” One of the ways auto brands stay connected throughout the customer journey are with personalized emails before, during, and after events.
Why it matters: Leading brands are pulling ahead by giving consumers the kind of experience they want and deserve. Data-informed personalization helps them increase LTV, drive conversions and hold on to customers in the face of intense competition. EY found that 72 percent of consumers said that an improved buying process would motivate them to go to dealerships more often.
The quality of personalization customers have come to expect can only be achieved when data flows bi-directionally. To achieve that, brands must integrate data streams from the web, dealerships, email, mobile and more into a single, central view of the customer.
That way, when new information is collected, a consumer's profile is instantly updated. Sales and service reps will be able to make more intelligent decisions on the spot. At live events, brands the ability to see who attends what, their purchase preferences, when they are looking to buy, if they want to be contacted by a dealer, or if they're just looking around.
It's no wonder that 50% of executives say data analytics is a critical skills gap necessary for mapping and improving customers’ journeys, according to Forrester.
New tools can integrate with any third-party partners as well, so that if a contractor runs a contest for your customers, all the data they collect will flow back and be instantly available to you.
Your messaging can have a bigger impact more often when you are working from a single view of the consumer. From that vantage point it’s easier to identify what is causing the customer pain and how to relieve it. Louis Falco, Cadillac’s Head of Customer Relationships and Brand Loyalty, explained, “The most important thing… is identifying the moments that matter and the pain within the journey. You succeed as a top brand by understanding what consumers value and where you're failing to deliver on the value for those consumers.”
Why it matters: Integrated data from multiple sources, online and offline, gives you better visibility into ROI, attribution, plus better lead volume and quality so you can increase conversions. A good example is Kia's new chatbot Kian, which already has a 21 percent conversion rate compared to just 7 percent of website visitors. In fact, top performers as a whole are 3X more likely than peers to have an integrated, cloud-based tech stack, according to Econsultancy.
Autoshows are no longer the first choice to find the most advanced tech in the industry. OEMs are bringing their latest advances to wheelstands, kiosks, and digital displays to maintain brand's competitive edge and entice consumers to try something new.
The introduction of mobile tech like app-based photo filters, prize-filled games, and video marketing, are frequently coordinated with creative activities at live events. On the back end, automakers are streamlining marketing production with consumer-facing software that they can update on the fly, similar to Wix or Squarespace, but for an enterprise environment.
In his report on the future of car sales, Dr. Klaus Stricker, a partner at Bain & Co, advised, “Automakers and dealers must adjust to the changing expectations and needs of the digital natives, whose importance to the broad automobile market continues to grow. Enabling customers to seamlessly interact between digital and traditional channels requires enormous investments in omnichannel concepts."
Similarly, a report by HBR Analytic Services found that "best adopters" (defined as those who get good results from their event/XM tech investments) on average are also more likely to see business value from events, to consider themselves better positioned for future success—90% consider themselves well positioned, versus 65% of non-adopters—and to find it easy to demonstrate an event’s impact on their business.
Why it matters: By innovation their own internal processes, managers increase internal efficiencies many times over. They will have to operate leaner with greater flexibility and automation to stay competitive in the years ahead. Accenture's white paper on digital transformation in the auto industry detailed how a German OEM vastly improved efficiency and performance numbers at the same time. They reduced defect rates while while increasing output 8.5X AND keeping employment levels constant.
The quest to capture data from live events and integrate it with existing software presenting marketers with a world of possibilities. Armed with this new tech, marketers have been better able to create personalized experiences, craft a single view of the customer for better decision-making and streamline their back office processes to do more with less.
These tools are becoming more critical as automakers strive to differentiate themselves in a crowded market with shallow customer loyalty. At the same time, they are finally achieving the marketers' dream of connecting specific customer experiences to hard numbers in the financial performance bracket.
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