8 Questions to Ask Your Experiential Agency - Event Marketer

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8 Questions to Ask Your Experiential Agency

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It’s time to take your brand to the next level, and you’re ready to immerse your soon-to-be customers in an experience-based campaign to captivate their attention…
 
But it’s no secret that this level of marketing isn’t exactly easy.  Experiential marketing is a bit like a fashion show: one fantastic model can have eyes in the room glued to the catwalk – which is the kind of attention that every designer wants.  However, one revealing wardrobe malfunction, and now everyone in the room is looking at the catwalk malfunction not the designs -which is the kind of attention that no designer wants.
 
If you want to pull off your experiential marketing campaign seamlessly, then you’re going to need an experiential agency that’s up to the task.  Here are the top 8 questions you should ask them, in order to determine if they truly are going to get you the kind of attention you want.  
 
 
#1: Can They Create Big Ideas?
 
I’m sure you’ve probably got some jaw-dropping ideas, like putting up a giant banner in Manhattan with your logo on it, or doing a fireworks show over Sunset Boulevard. 
 
However, what if you might be able to go even bigger, and see even better results?  Some agencies merely just follow the CMO’s ideas, but that’s not why you hire an experiential agency …you come to them for THEIR ideas, because they know what can be done.  What gets more attention…
 
A banner?  Or putting up a massive snow globe in Times Square that’s the equivalent size of the Arc de Triomphe?  If it can be done …the latter.
 
 
#2: So They Are Creative …But Are They Practical As Well?
 
But remember my criteria on #1, which is that the idea must be feasible.  Experiential marketing is basically event planning on steroids – and if the logistics fail, then you’re going to attract the negative brand-killing kind of attention.  Anybody can think up big ideas, but it takes a good experiential marketing firm to actually pull them off.
 
I’m talking about timing, money, networking, talent, resources, people, ROI, and being able to convince the city council to let you strap a jetpack to your company mascot on top of city hall.
 
 
#3: Are They a TRUE Experiential Firm?
 
There are experiential firms, and there are marketing companies that merely look like they could possibly do stuff that real experiential agencies do.
 
The key is that they need to have a reputation for success in this very, very specific and excruciatingly intense marketing niche.  If they’re kind of a ‘jack of all trades, but a master of none’, then you basically have a firm that hasn’t the foggiest clue about what they’re doing.
 
 
#4: Do They Listen?
 
This question is HUGE…
 
Basically, your company’s brand is about to make its mark on the world.  Depending on the situation, the public’s perception of your brand may never be the same after this …which is why your experiential agency has got to listen closely to what you want out of this campaign.
 
You define the goals here, not the agency.
 
 
#5: Are You Comfortable Being Honest With Them, (and Are They Honest With You)?
 
This one’s a bit of a touchy topic, simply because every company is different… 
 
One reason why some brands feel uncomfortable with disclosing information, like budgeting and resources, is because they might be wary of competitors acquiring that info.  Your experiential marketing company should have a reputation for honesty, and ESPECIALLY a commitment to confidentiality.  Additionally, does the agency have a reputation for delivering what was promised and contracted? For example did the 6 hour street team activation actually run for 6 hours? If you get that gut feeling they might just be telling you only what you want to hear – then keep on shopping.
 
 
#6: Do They Set Expectations?
 
Success metrics in experiential marketing campaigns are, by nature, difficult to quantify …simply because each campaign will make the word, ‘unique’, seem like an understatement.
 
That’s why you need an agency that will set expectations in two ways:
 
●First, they will measure success, based on your company’s goals
●Second, they should have their own way (KPI) of measuring a campaign’s success.
 
This is also about defining what you want, then comparing and listening to their analysis of what you can expect from a campaign.
 
 
#7: Do They Pay Attention To ROI?
 
At the end of the day, this comes down to that big black bottom line – and a good experiential marketing agency will understand this.  Essentially, their ideas need to mesh with your goals, and in order for that to make any sense …the end results have to be worth every penny to your company.
 
Advertising is an overhead cost, but experiential marketing should be seen as an extremely lucrative investment.
 
 
#8: Do They Have a Great Network of Talent?
 
Here’s a quick anecdotal bit of script from Catch Me If You Can (2002) to explain the importance of this last question…
 
“Carl Hanratty: Tell me this, Barry Allen, Secret Service. How did you know I wouldn't look in your wallet?
 
Frank Abagnale, Jr.: The same reason the Yankees always win. Nobody can keep their eyes off the pinstripes.
 
Carl Hanratty: The Yankees win because they have Mickey Mantle.”
 
A stellar experiential marketing agency simply gets results, coming to the table with an undeniable track record for success.  They’re not only pros at keeping people’s eyes on the pinstripes -but they also know where to find the ‘Mickey Mantle’-level industry talent.
 
You hire the right agency, and they’ll hit the home run! 

 

Phil Provost is an experiential & event marketing expert, Integrated marketing consultant & President, PSP Media, Inc. You can connect with him at phil@pspmediainc.com

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