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Julia Manoukian


July 18, 2018

Experiential Marketing Measurement: 4 Common Pitfalls Hindering Performance

Julia Manoukian

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It's summertime, and experiential marketers across the United States are busy brainstorming their fall and winter campaigns. Live shows, product activations, once-in-a-lifetime experiences — brands are thinking up new and exciting ways to connect with their customers. However, unlike other forms of marketing such as digital, social and advertising, experiential marketing measurement, for many, is still in its early stages.

Luckily, there's been talk in the industry of how to move this area forward so marketers can optimize their strategies, gather more actionable insights and improve the overall consumer experience. Read on for a roundup of common pitfalls many XM marketers have fallen into around measuring their experiences, and how to start fixing them.

Watch our latest webinar, "Event & Experiential Trends in 2018: What Consumer  Experts Are Saying," and learn what major brands are doing to drive engagement  and lift sales.

1. You're Probably Not Measuring Your Data Properly

The research is in — and it's conclusive. A massive 88 percent of marketers still aren't measuring their data properly. And you're probably one of them. Despite the overwhelming amount of data available to brands, marketers don't know how to use it, according to a recent study published in Adweek.

To make matters worse, consumers are demanding more from brands when it comes to marketing — they expect customized experiences, for example — and marketers are struggling to keep up.

The Adweek article points out that brands are spending lots of money on data collection and analysis. Companies shelled out more than $20 billion in 2017 on data activation solutions and third-party audience data, according to a study carried out by the Data and Marketing Association, Interactive Advertising Bureau and Winterberry Group. But despite all of this investment, marketers aren't really getting their money's worth.

2. Categorize Your Metrics For More Effective Results

With so much data at your fingertips, it can be difficult to know where to start. Which KPIs provide you with the most bang for your buck? Which ones just aren't worth the effort?

Categorizing your metrics will provide you with a return on your investment and help you engage with prospects, according to a recent article by brand experience firm agencyEA. "A well-rounded ROI strategy will reflect both return on investment and return on engagement," they say.

agencyEA notes that there are two main ROI metrics: quantitative data and qualitative data. Quantitative data refers to information like mobile app adoption rates and net-promoter scores — in essence, data about numeric values. Qualitative data, on the other hand, can't be measured, but it provides you with valuable information about a customer's motivations and behaviors. Sentiment analysis a new area of marketing that helps brands measure how consumers react to their experiences. 

Understanding the difference between these two types of metrics — and their pros and cons — will help you evaluate the success of your live events. Using a combination of quantitative and qualitative data collection methods, for example, will help you engage with your customers on a deeper level. 

3. You're Measuring the Wrong Metrics

Event attendance, social shares and email sign-ups are just the start. In a recent article for Campaign Live, Ivan Entchevitch, the executive creative director at experiential agency SET Creative, argues that marketers that need to redefine their measurement tactics.

"[Social media shares, branded event attendance and email sign-ups] are absolutely the wrong metrics to focus on," he says. "They may be good measures of whether you had a cool or successful event, but they do very little in the way of telling you whether you are reaching your brand and product goals."

Entchevitch recommends you measure the impact of your live events instead.

"Experience impact needs to be measured in a model akin to a full attribution funnel currently used in digital advertising, tracking each part of the consumer journey from awareness to the final decision," he adds.

4. Create Direct Connections With Your Customers With the Right Metrics

Last fall, Adweek published a piece about how some of the world's biggest brands are investing in experiential to create more meaningful relationships with customers. "It’s easy to see why Jaguar, Absolut, MasterCard and more are turning to experiential marketing," they say.

It's true — experiential lets you nurture direct connections with your customers as they move through the sales pipeline.

Adweek notes, however, that marketers often find event measurement a challenge. In the article, they cite data from Bazaarvoice, who discovered that 75 percent of brand-side marketers and agency buyers aren't completely confident that the data they use reaches in-market consumers.

Perhaps these marketers aren't using the right KPIs — or using data analytics properly. Forty-nine percent of large organization executives say their greatest skill shortage is in data analytics, according to a study by digital recruitment firm Harvey Nash and professional service company KPMG.

Despite the popularity of experiential, marketers still find it difficult to measure their the outcome of their live events.

These four recent experiential marketing measurement trends illustrate the importance of tracking your campaigns properly. Instead of focusing on vanity metrics, measure the impact of your live events, categorize your metrics and create direct connections with consumers with the right KPIs. As a result, you'll gain deeper insights into event attendees as they progress through your sales funnel.

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