Everyone wants to have great experiences in life and experiential marketing is a way to offer just that. Bringing those experiences to life is what makes my job so fun!
The thought of managing an experiential event from start to finish can be scary if you’re still fairly new to it. There seems to be a hundred things to do, where do you start? The road may seem long but over the years I have learnt a few things to make the journey a smooth one. Here’s an A-Z list of what to consider before, during and after planning an event.
Who are your target audience? Have you done your research to know their behaviour inside and out? Knowing your audience will help to make decision-making throughout the planning process much easier.
B- Be Brave
One of our Banana Kick values is don’t be scared to try something new or different. Just because it hasn’t been done before doesn’t make it wrong – just make sure it is well thought through!
C – Competitors
What are your competitors doing? Make sure that your event delivers that ‘extra’ element compared to any of your competitors’ activity so you are front of mind for the consumer.
D – Digital
This one is a given – it’s important to have digital and social media in mind when creating the initial experiential ideas. Whatever you’re doing, you want your audience to WANT to share it on their social media, or tell their friends about it. Encouraging user-generated content from the start is a way to take your event even further than just offline.
E – Emotion
People won’t always remember what you said to them, but will remember how you made them feel. Make sure the experience evokes an emotional connection to build that brand loyalty.
F – Footfall
Have you thought about how best to pre-promote the event to drive footfall? Is it going to be ticketed? If more people than expected arrive, have you got a plan to manage queues and expectations to keep the consumer happy?
G – Giveaways
Everyone loves a freebie but it is also a great way to remind people of their experience and if they are branded, you keep the brand in peoples minds. It’s better if it can be used again and again. For example sunglasses at a festival or hand warmers at an outside sports game.
H – Handbook
AKA the ‘event bible’. I cannot stress enough how much this will help your mental state of mind! Make sure there is a couple of folders (always need a spare) that have all the information anyone would need in one place. Details of key contacts, timings, accident forms etc.
I – Imagery
This is in two parts…make sure you are capturing the event with a good quality camera. But also think about how you can provide opportunities for consumers to capture their experience – an ‘instagrammable’ set up, or snapchat filter etc. Remember though if any of the images you are collecting are going to be used across any marketing, you need to get consent from consumers beforehand.
J – Juggling
You can be the most organised person in the world but sometimes it may seem like you are juggling 100 things at once and it is all too much. Things constantly move and change in events but the key is to just accept the change, don’t panic and adjust. Just take a step back, take a breath and prioritise – YOU CAN DO THIS!
K – Knowledge
We are always learning and 2 heads are better than 1, so if you are not sure – ask! Make sure you are not alone in everything as someone else’s knowledge could save you a lot of time, effort and money!
L – Location
Where and when? Site visits are essential when delivering events as you will have to ensure the different access points, assess the health and safety situation and take measurements of everything. Also make sure there isn’t any other local events going on nearby – traffic would be a nightmare!
M – Measurement
Experiential is quite a tricky thing to measure in terms of ‘the emotional connection’ that has been made with consumer. However if there are specific ROI measurements needed e.g. How many people attended the event this can be easily planned into the event/customer journey to ensure that data is captured.
N – Numbers
This isn’t just how many people are at the event and making sure you have sufficient supplies, space and staff but also the financial figures and managing your budget accordingly right from the start. Don’t go mad and make sure to keep your budget up to date!
O – On brand
Does what you are doing shout out about your brand values and personality? Without a logo would your customers recognise what you were doing? I think we would all recognise a big red lorry with Santa on…
P – Personalisation
Tailoring the event to be as individual as possible makes the consumer feel special. It isn’t always possible but just even a little thing of asking someone’s name makes it feel more personable.
Q – Question
Question everything – assume nothing. The devil is in the detail so check, double check and check again and if you’re not sure ask and find out.
R – Review
An event debrief can be very easily overlooked, but it’s important to know what went well and what you would do differently if you were to do it again. Did the event achieve the objective? Make sure all results and debrief notes and recorded and saved somewhere safe.
S – Safety
Health & Safety isn’t always the fun part of event planning but it is by far the most important. Make sure there is an in depth risk assessment and plan accordingly.
T – Timings
Never underestimate how long something could take. There are always things you can’t expect to happen from a flat tyre to equipment failing so give yourself plenty of time to make sure everything is ready to go in good time and if it isn’t you have time to rectify the situation.
U – Expect the unexpected
Always prepare for the unexpected! You can’t always predict everything, but always have a plan B ready to go should any problems arise. It’s always good to know where your nearest supplier is if you should need any more supplies/emergency equipment.
V – Video
Capturing the event on video is a great way to reminisce on social media with your consumers, reminding them of how good it was and to pre-promote and repeat for future events.
W – Weather
It is either your best friend or your worst enemy! It is the one thing that you can’t control so plan for any occasion where budget allows or a back up location where weather doesn’t affect the event.
X – X-Factor
Try and always think of how something could be made that little bit more special to really impact the consumer. Generation Z live to share their experience on social media so if you can offer something that they can really shout about then you’re onto a winner.
Y – Your team
It is important to understand who is going to be working at the event, how experienced are they? Are you happy they have been fully briefed on the event? It is always good to build up a good rapport with your team so they are passionate on delivering a great experience.
Z – Zombie
Delivering an event can be a hard and stressful time and as a consequence you could feel like a walking Zombie. I suggest you plan in a well-deserved treat for after all your hard work pays off so you have something to look forward to and keep your motivation high.
The list may seem long and of course, there’s a lot of things to balance but all the hard work DOES pay off and it will all be worth it when you see all of your efforts playing out.
Written by one of our Senior Account Managers, Claire H.