Measuring the results of experiential and field marketing

Testing and measuring are key components of a successful marketing strategy. Stats and metrics prove return on investment to your business leaders, and learning from the last campaign is how you improve the next one.

Certain marketing efforts can be difficult to track, and experiential is definitely among them. It’s easy for marketers to get lost, trying to measure everything, or drowning in a sea of vanity metrics – none of which directly address your key aims.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t report, quite the opposite. But it does mean you should spend time on getting your reports right.

Here’s how we monitor the performance of our experiential marketing.

Start with the key goals

The first thing to establish is why you’re doing this. Not in an existential crisis kind of a way – more establishing the strategic goal or goals for your campaign.

Is your goal to attract new sales in a certain store or area? Is it to increase repeat purchases in a certain store area? Is it simply to raise awareness of your brand?

Once you have decided on your key goal, then you need to set metrics against that goal.

If the goal is brand awareness, you might be interested in tracking new social media follows, new website visits, brand mentions, event attendance and email signups. They’re the evidence that people are paying attention, i.e. that you’re meeting the goal you set.

If repeat business is the goal, you should track the amount of sales from existing customers in an existing store, and not let yourself be sidetracked by the social mentions.

The most simple goals for our clients are:

  • sales (in one form or another)
  • brand awareness
  • lead generation (with signups for future contact as the key metric)
  • new product trialling (with direct satisfaction and feedback tracking built into the process)

To track where a brand stands, in terms of competition and relationship strength with retailers, demands cross-referencing a wider range of variables:

  • activity and sales by product line
  • previous sales reports
  • cost per demo
  • sales uplift

In addition, field and experiential marketing are best tracked by location and schedule. If one store’s performing particularly well, or one aspect of your experience is outshining all others you’ll be able to highlight that performance and investigate what they’re doing differently.

Set up a process

Once your goals and metrics are made clear, you’ll need to set up a process that will continuously monitor, analyse and refine these goals. This will likely involve marketing dashboards for the different members of your marketing team, showing the key performance indicators – the metrics you identified at first, the sources from which you’re drawing your data, and a way to visualise performance so it can be understood at a glance. You’ll also need regular meetings to discuss findings, trace underperforming elements of your campaign to their causes, and make the strategic changes you need.

The important thing to remember here is that you can’t measure everything. The feelings people have when experiencing the brand, the impact, the long lasting impression – these are important aims of all marketing, but they can’t be measured in purely quantitative terms.

We can track what a particular customer has seen, how long they’ve lingered, what they did next – but to get the qualitative feedback on why they made those choices, you need to ask customers. It’s possible to build the feedback into the experience – the happy/neutral/sad response buttons you see at airports are a basic assessment of how people are feeling at a given moment – but to get at the why needs a discussion.

That’s why it’s important for brands to position themselves so they can manage these non-quantifiable factors. Fond memories mean positive feelings, and positive feelings mean profits. Guaranteeing those positive outcomes demands great strategy and, importantly, great execution.

Do you know what marketing efforts are working and what aren’t? If not, you need to reassess your goals and set up systems to monitor your performance against those goals.

To see how we generate winning results for brands, check out our case studies here.