- Is the footprint as clean as possible (no trash, dust swept, electronics wiped down, floor mopped, carpet vaccumed)?
- Is there adequate lighting within the footprint during all hours of the activation?
- Are all tents and other assets weighed/strapped down with the necessary equipment?
- Are all power cables taped down with gaffer tape or covered with Yellow Jackets to prevent tripping hazards?
- Is the music suitable for the event and playing at an appropriate volume level?
- Are all the branding elements and informational signage (A-frames, retractable banners, feather flags, yard signs, etc.) properly positioned within and around the footprint?
- Is the back of the house organized?
- Have all the staging, stairs, and railings been leveled?
- Is the footprint set-up so that there is sufficient space between the different stations to accommodate the foot traffic?
- Are the event staff smiling, dressed in proper uniform, and appear ready to welcome consumers?
Each program will be different as far as what will entail the most optimal footprint for that activation. The checklist below is a standard guideline that should be applicable for virtually every event.
Planning for the fixed costs such as permitting, vendor fees, vehicle rentals, insurance, and staff salaries for your mobile-marketing project is generally straightforward. However, don't forget to budget for the variable expenses that almost inevitably occur during the course of the tour.
Vehicle Repairs and Maintenance
This is a particularly big one if the tour is running with an experiential vehicle, like a BizBox. Graphics, staging, doors, and flooring will likely need repairs/replacement during the tour. For this reason, it is important to try and negotiate some kind of warranty with your fabricator during the production phase of the project.
If the tour travels with an onboard generator, even a simple PM service can cost up to $500 for a heavy-duty diesel generator.
Throughout the tour you will likely need to ship supplies, premiums, uniforms, and other items to the field team. Larger items can easily cost hundreds of dollars to ship, especially for rush deliveries.
Whether it’s registration tablets, TVs with promotional content, VR systems, internet servers & routers, or photo booths, today’s mobile-tours incorporate many different technological elements. Very often these functions will need professional troubleshooting when systems are jarred during transit.
Unexpected Labor Costs
What if the Tour Manager must suddenly leave for an emergency? Or your tour driver is out of DOT hours due to severe weather conditions, therefore not being able to finish the drive to the next market. Finding last-minute replacement is always costly, and can really strain the operating budget if not planned for in the beginning.
While retail activations are nowhere near as glamorous as music festivals, sporting events, or trade shows, they are an important piece of the fast growing experiential marketing field. Retail events provide the opportunity for instant metrics in terms of tracking sales during the activation. In addition they substantially reduce or even eliminate one of the biggest costs that an activation incurs at a major event - the vendor fee.
Whether it be a food/beverage sampling, a new product promotion, scheduled mobile-tour stop, or a store grand opening event, the field team can greatly increase the success of the retail activation by implementing the following strategies:
When creating an experiential marketing plan, selecting the right events is a critical factor in the success of the activation, as well as the overall ROI for the program. Some brands are universally accepted and can therefore activate at virtually any kind of outing. These include Coca-Cola, Anheuser-Busch, and General Motors. Other brands like KeVita, Subaru, or Razer electronics have a much more selective following. These niche brands need to be strategic in selecting the right events that represent their key customer demographics. Trade shows, conventions, and ethnic group cultural events are examples of targeted events, while art fairs, food and drink festivals, and sporting exhibitions are considered general public events.
A NASCAR event might bring over 100,000 attendees over the weekend race, but it might not be a good fit for your brand to activate, A cool experience can certainly fill a footprint making it seem like thousands of people were interested in the promotion. However, if only a handful of those attendees end up converting into customers, that will not result in a positive ROI. That is unless the goal of the promotion is to purely increase brand awareness, like social media engagement, without a concern for driving sales.
When researching potential opportunities for your activations, try these tactics to get an understanding of what the event will be like:
In recent years the upsurge of digital and content marketing such as social media, blogging, SEO, eBooks, and online publications have changed the face of the entire advertising industry. Some facets of marketing like yellow pages and newspaper are virtually nonexistent today. One channel of marketing that has seen a consistent rise is experiential marketing, and here is why it is here to stay:
Founded in 2002, Event Marketer is the world's most respected source of content for the event and trade show industry.
Chief Marketer provides marketing professionals with detailed information on measurable marketing strategies, tactics, and techniques. Chief Marketer publishes the annual CM 200 - recognizing the top engagement and activation agencies.
Published monthly, Promo Marketing is the leading publication for the $18 billion promotional products industry. They offer a free subscription for industry professionals.
Guerrilla Marketing is more of an art than a science. The concept has long been around as “grassroots” advertising, and it remains an integral aspect of Experiential Marketing. Try these 5 tricks for your next campaign:
1. If possible, conduct a site check for some of the areas around town where you plan to execute prior to sending the street team out. If you have a commercial vehicle that will need parking, this is a great time to scout for parking options. Also, you want to identify some key landmarks that can serve as good meeting spots for the team before, during, and after the promotional activity is complete for that location.
2. Check online to see if there are other events going on in the city at the same time. For example, if there is an art walk happening in a particular district, that might be a great spot for you to come in and piggyback of the event's attendance. Of course be mindful of any competitive vendors, and make sure that your team does not impede on the event. You don’t want security called with complaints.
3. Look for prominent landmarks unique to the respective market to act as photo opportunities during promotional activity. A photo of a consumer holding a sample with the state capital building in the background is a great image for recap.
4. Have a strategic route for the team to follow throughout the day. Certain locations, such as train stations, are much busier during rush hours. Other places, like shopping malls, typically get busy after business hours.
If the street team is to split up into smaller groups, have a second and third option for them ready immediately in case they are asked to leave or the location is slow.
5. Create a group message thread with the team to facilitate and expedite communication regarding route changes, lunch breaks, inventory counts, and other general announcements.
//1. Zip Ties
Zip ties, or cable ties, are very easy to use be use. They can fasten together items such as wires, cords, and signage poles.
2. Gaffer Tape
Considered the ultimate production tape, Gaffer tape is a cloth tape perfect for taping down electrical cords at the exhibit space.
A quality multi-tool, such as a Gerber or Leatherman, is essential to carry on the road. It should have a good blade, fold out into pliers, and have a Philips/flat head screwdriver piece.
4. Magic Eraser
An inexpensive and great cleaning source for scuffs and stains, especially on anything white.
5. Bungee Cords
Bungee cords are used to tie down materials during transport. They are durable, versatile, and very easy to use.
6. Box Cutter
A sharp box cutter will make life much easier when it comes time to open premium boxes and cutting other tough material.
7. Allen Wrench
In today’s design, chances are high that Allen screws are used in at least some part of your production.
Velcro is a strong adhesive used to hold many of the décor items such as shelving, signage, and skirting. It does wear out during heavy use but can easily be replaced with new strips.
In production, you work all hours of the day and night. A quality flashlight and headlamp is necessary when working with limited light.
No production kit would be complete without the quintessential hammer.
Handles a variety of promotional responsibilities at the footprint. Duties may include drawing attendees to the activation, engaging consumers to relay key brand messages, conducting event registration, assisting with set-up and teardown, and manning the different event stations.
The sampler specializes in sampling food, beverages, or alcohol via in-store tastings (off-premise) or at bars and restaurants (on-premise).
A product specialist receives in-depth knowledge on the product to educate consumers during the activation. The Product Specialist role is most often associated with automotive events.
Hired for event set-up, teardown, and other manual labor duties throughout the event.
Field Manager/Event Manager
Manages a promotional team to execute the activation. This person is also responsible for coordinating event logistics, completing post-event recaps, capturing event photos, and submitting staff timesheets. May refer to someone who manages a one-time activation or an ongoing program.
Most often refers to the person who oversees a continuous experiential marketing program within a given metro area or region. The Market Manager will have a pool of staff to book for ongoing promotional events, and is usually involved in hiring and training new staff throughout the program. The Market Manager will function as a direct liaison between the agency and the client.
Manages all functions of an experiential marketing tour. For a mobile-tour, the Tour Manager will often function as the Tour Driver as well. For a Fly-in/Fly-out tour, the Tour Manager will typically fly to and from each tour stop as the event logistics are transported by a different person.
Responsible for safely transporting the tour vehicle to each tour stop. Depending on the vehicle size, the Tour Driver may be required to possess a commercial driver's license (CDL).
Specialized talent who uses a microphone to act as an event announcer, crowd gatherer, or presenter.
As social media continues to gain popularity among consumers, strategically incorporating the different platforms can significantly increase the audience engagement for your mobile-marketing program. For example, creating a unique hashtag and twitter handle for the tour is an excellent way for people to follow the brand story throughout the tour.
These tour vehicles provide effective examples in which the social media tags are clearly imprinted as part of the vehicle wrapping. Once the social media tags area created, it is important to actively manage the social media pages to fully capitalize on the engagement opportunities.
Visit the Big Idaho Potato Instagram page (https://www.instagram.com/bigidahopotato/). The page encourages its followers to continually check back to find information regarding the upcoming tour stops, as well as follow the brand story as it relates to the tour.
Ugin Rapoport is a highly-motivated and passionate Experiential Marketing tour manager. He has worked with a number of Fortune 500 companies in showcasing their brand messages and creating a unique brand experience for attendees at various high-profile live events. Ugin has experience managing activations at concerts, outdoor festivals, sporting events, trade shows, conventions, and street team promotions.