Julia Manoukian

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January 2, 2019

Beyond Experiential Marketing Technology: A Strategy for Success [Part 1/2]

Julia Manoukian

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Like anything, if you want to see better results, you need to examine what you’re currently doing to know where to improve. The same goes for experiential marketing technology.

While there are important differences between experiential technologies, success is often primarily determined by three things:

1. Your strategy and process

2. Your people (or 3rd party partners)

3. Getting started: think big, start small, and move quickly

Without considering these areas, it will be difficult to get a good return on experiential marketing technology. The more time you invest in planning your strategy, people and process now, the easier it will be to scale experiential marketing technology and reap the rewards later.

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.

When reading the following principles, keep in mind they vary based on your organizational state. The overarching goal is to reach maturity and connect experiential marketing with the rest of your omnichannel strategy.

For those who have not made the switch from traditional service and tech-enabled service businesses before, rolling out technology may seem like a daunting task. However, it’s not as difficult as it sounds. Technology is here to help you deliver amazing consumer experiences—so long as you follow these guiding principles, your life (and your consumers lives) is about to become a lot easier.

Here is your suggested roadmap for rolling out omnichannel experiential, which we’ve based on our own work with 9 brands and analysts’ work such as Forrester’s “The Omnichannel Advertising Playbook,” and McKinsey’s “A truly omnichannel customer experience”.

Strategy And Process

1) Assess your current state

2) Ensure stakeholder buy-in and alignment

3) Review (or create) personas

4) Chart or review a single consumer journey map, including experiential

5) Identify moments that matter & opportunities for experiential

6) Setup experiential objectives in alignment with customer journey

7) Build analytic capabilities: 360-degree view of the customer

Resources: People for Success

8) Your team: roles & responsibilities

9) Aligning with other channels and teams

Implementation: Getting Started

10) Setting up your experiential program for success

11) Testing and scaling through pilots

12) Bringing the effort to scale

1) Assess Your Current State & Identify Gaps

Before you are ready for implementation, you need to set a clear goal, make a robust assessment of your current position and map out the steps required to get there.

To assess your current state, evaluate your current maturity. Once you understand where your organization stands, it will be much easier to determine where you need to go, and how to get there.

2) Ensure Stakeholder Buy-In And Alignment

Sometimes your executive team won’t immediately see the value of a digitally transforming your experiential marketing efforts. But convincing them is key—without their buy-in, your initiative won’t gain the support, guidance and accountability it needs to be successful.

If you don’t have executive buy-in, you’ll need to understand their priorities, and what issues stand in their way. Then you can position experiential marketing technology to address their specific concerns.

For example, if marketing leadership is concerned experiential keeps losing budget to digital, position experiential marketing technology as a way to measure the ROI of experiential as a channel, and show how it impacts revenue.

For a CRM leader, who prioritizes the agile validation and transfer of data, position experiential marketing technology as a way to instantly send, transfer and integrate data across channels and systems.

If you do have executive buy-in, great work. Keep reading.

3) Review (Or Create) Personas

The most effective way to maintain a single, customer-centric strategy starts with a clear understanding of customers and their journey.

Customers' behavior usually falls around a few major variables. These become the basis for creating "personas," which describe major segments of the customer population in a richer way than traditional demographic-based segmentation allows. Your organization might already do this. If so, make sure that all your efforts are in alignment.

The most effective segmentations go beyond demographics and are generally clustered advanced analytics solutions that incorporate demographics, psychographics, behavior data, and attitudinal data.

Let's face the facts... as marketers, we need to stop with the generalizations.

Effective segmentation allows you to drive tailored messaging, tailored experiences—or better yet, let consumers define their own journey.

Ask yourself:

- Are my personas segmented by demographics, or do we go deeper than that?

- Do my segmentations allow me to clearly drive tailored messaging?

- How can I enhance my personas to let them define their own journey?

If you find yourself answering negatively to these questions, it's time to revisit your how you define your target personas. Remember, not all women want pink cars, not all New Yorkers want compact vehicles and not all millennials are averse to car ownership.

4) Review Or Chart A Consumer Journey Map, Including Experiential

"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."

- Louis Falco, Cadillac’s Head of Customer Relationships and Brand Loyalty

According McKinsey, Forrester and other firms focused on digital transformation, customers often take multiple journeys for each product or for each stage within the life cycle.

There shouldn't just be one journey. Map each potential customer journey to understand how you can serve customers across products and verticals. Below is an example developed by Cadillac’s customer experience department.

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Brands need to plan around those moments that matter and pains within the journey. It is a take on the classic marketing model with stages like Awareness, Consideration, Conversion, and Loyalty.

For automakers, the journey is typically broken down into six interdependent stages: learn, shop, buy, onboard, use, own.

Onboarding is a clear example of a moment that really matters. It is probably the most invigorating part of the ownership experience not because you're learning about the car, but because you just want to show off your new car to everybody. There's that excitement.

In the case of automotive brands, particularly for leases, the financing outlasts the excitement of the new car and the reality of ownership can dull their enthusiasm. These consumers need a very different approach to content that will keep them engaged and loyal to the brand.

This is part 1 of a two part series. To read the second installment, click here.

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