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5 Ways to Measure ROI on Your Next Experiential Marketing Campaign

The Experiential Marketing Hub

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You've created a killer experiential marketing campaign. So now what? In a recent webinar, industry experts outlined the five steps you should take to measure return on investment on your experiential efforts. Following these simple steps will let you gauge the success of your brand activations and put you one step ahead of your competitors.

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. Understand the Experiential Market

The first step to measuring experiential ROI is understanding the market. Brands are investing more in experiences, but the marketing industry is facing a number of challenges. One recent trend is zero-based budgeting, where clients need to justify all expenses before they provide investment.

"This is a really complicated and destructive time for marketers," says Christian Gani, vice president of development at integrated shopper marketing and brand engagement agency Match Marketing Group. In short, research the current market before you create a new experiential marketing campaign. Otherwise, you could fall at the first hurdle.

2. Define Your Main Marketing Goals

Marketers often don't have clear objectives when they create a new campaign. Defining your main marketing goals at the start of your project will help you separate what's important from what's not.

"It sounds like common sense, but I've been through a lot of experiential programs where brands and agencies haven't defined success," says Michael Vajda, managing partner at brand activation and experiential marketing agency Synertia Partners. "What do you want to accomplish? Defining success can be challenging, but without it, there's no way to see what's working or how things can improve."

Vajda introduces five ways you can improve success:

  • Sales enablement -- Are your sales teams pushing products and services at experiential events? If not, this is something you should include in your campaign.
  • Brand awareness -- Does your brand really need it? If customers are already aware of your brand, focus on other tasks.
  • Lead generation -- What information are you trying to capture? Be clear.
  • Social enhancement -- Incorporate this into every aspect of your program, especially if you are running a B2C campaign.
  • Product launch support -- Create a launch strategy that will get customers excited about your product.

You should also make sure your goals are obtainable, trackable and data-led.

3. Get Internal Buy-In

As a marketer, you need approval from colleagues and managers before you start a new project. This can be tough, but there are a few ways to improve your chances of success. "Understand your brand's voice, goals and pain points," says Vajda. "As marketers, we work with different brands. But do we really immerse ourselves in their day-to-day business? Do we think like a business owner? Do we anticipate our client's needs?"

"Marketers have a responsibility to know their client's business as well as -- or better -- than they do," adds Gani. "Thinking and acting like a business owner is a requirement for agencies and service providers, in my opinion."

4. Measurement

How do you measure attendee participation, social activity, leads and conversion ratios? Gani outlines a few key performance indicators that you should incorporate into your analytics strategy. He breaks them down into two categories: the "usual suspects" and "changemakers."

The Usual Suspects

These KPIs are often used by the world's top marketers, but they are extremely effective for measuring the ROI of experiential marketing.

  • Awareness -- Are consumers familiar with your product or service? This metric has a significant impact on future sales.
  • Affinity -- "This is based on the probability or likelihood that a consumer will opt to purchase your brand's product," says Gani.
  • Consideration -- Did an experience increase the likelihood of a customer making a purchase?


These KPIs are changing the game -- they are incredibly powerful for measuring ROI on experiential campaigns.

  • Segmentation -- Find out the customer groups that are interested in your products.
  • Propensity -- The likelihood of a consumer converting at any stage of the customer journey.

5. Leverage Digital Elements and Optimize

"Its important for every experiential activationist to create some kind of data," says by Russ Armstrong, co-founder and chief financial officer at Limelight. This could be onsite or post-event surveys, tracking tools, booth traffic, dwell times, contest entries or coupon offers. "Creating a standardized data set for your experiential campaign allows you to set benchmarks for what you're running and analyze your performance."

So what do you do with all this data? "Integrate this data into your customer relationship management system," says Armstrong. "Selecting the right digital elements can automate the process of putting data back into your marketing stack."

Using the right technology also provides you with attribution reports, which tell you where leads have come from and what caused leads to convert into customers.

"Oil is useless without it being refined and turned into something that we can actually use, like gasoline. It's the same with data," says Gani. "Taking all of this information and putting it into a refined process lets us communicate differently with each data point."

Successful Campaigns

In the Limelight webinar, the experts showcased some of their most successful experiential campaigns.

  • Voluntary employment benefit company Purchasing Power wanted to introduce their services to clients. Synertia Partners created a mobile bus tour that took place over three weeks in the eastern United States. The result? Purchasing Power benefited from face-to-face visitations with clients and set up meetings in important locations. The company generated more than 300 signups during the campaign.
  • Insurance brand Progressive wanted to create a memorable experience at lifestyle events. Match Marketing Group created an activation strategy at a motorcycle trade show that included slot car racing and custom tank painting. "This strategy was partly responsible for making Progressive the number one brand in motorcycle insurance," says Gani.

Follow the five steps in this list and become a more successful experiential marketer. By fine tuning the way you measure ROI, you could save more money, reach more customers and keep managers happy.

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