Out of home experts spend a lot of time discussing and plotting the various paths that a target demographic will travel from the time they leave their home, to the time they return. Many parts of that customer journey will be peppered with established OOH media spaces like billboard or transit opportunities that are used by smart marketers to intercept and intrigue people as they are out and about.
These OOH spaces provide one important dimension of a newer integrated approach for reaching people as they are away from home. In this approach, experiential considerations add an additional robust dimension that brings a campaign together so that it is more than the sum of its parts. Splice your OOH and EXP together to enter a marketing matrix where the channels act both independently and in-concert with each other amplifying reach, engagement, creativity and ROI.
One feeds the other:
Experiential campaigns tap into the awareness and scale generated by OOH, elevating that awareness to direct positive experiences with your brand via sampling, environments and creative real-world executions. Conversely, once experiential engages your audience, the awareness and activity OOH generates has a deeper resonance with a core set of consumers. This cycle between the OOH and experiential siblings will drive more results in combination.
At EMC Outdoor, we have written extensively about the reasons to include OOH, how it can drive ROI & online activation, or how OOH can be the missing piece to your media plan. Adding experiential into the mix is something that all brands and their agencies should explore more fully. As incentive, this from The Event Marketing Institute 2016 Measurement Benchmarking Report should help: 39% of consumer brands and 26% of B2B brands say their events see an ROI of 10:1 or greater.
How to begin your experiential / OOH integration:
So, perhaps you are just getting started with experiential. To start, know that EXP is not a 1-size-fits-all proposition. Finding a partner with deep expertise will bring quick answers to many of your initial questions, and get you on the path to fuller integration and amplification across your media channels. Start with a discovery session around your current marketing campaigns and goals, and how you engage most deeply with your audience. Experiential will build off that engagement to go deeper via a unique and creative setting. Don’t worry, the creative ideas will roll from your sessions with the right experienced experiential team.
If you are already executing OOH campaigns, you might want to consider the upcoming events scheduled in the markets you advertise in. As you generate awareness with your outdoor advertising, experiential footprints at those markets’ events can deftly secure additional market share. In this way, the OOH acts as an anchor for the experiential launches, as the experiential piggybacks on larger events, bringing your audience directly to you without much promotion at all.
If your OOH is digital (DOOH), you will have the flexibility to change your branding messaging to one that promotes your event. Again, like marketing siblings, this is an excellent way to integrate DOOH and experiential. Be creative and don’t forget your post-event messaging tie-in on the DOOH like a special “Thank You!” and imagery of the event and consumer engagement. This simple but effective technique will tie your experiential back to your OOH.
Remember, you are also being hyper-local with experiential:
Like all out of home, experiential is a hyper-local effort happening in specific places. In the same way that OOH reaches your audience locally with generally static messaging, experiential provides a localized experience for people to engage with and walk through.
Because you are focusing locally, at a minimum make your message and creative assets contextually relevant to the market where you have an experiential footprint. Don’t just paste your online or print creative on top of your live presence. Think about creative that will tell the local audience or gathered demographic that you “get” them. These types of small creative tweaks can translate into a big success and connection, and act as a magnet for your audience and their loyalty.
There are a gazillion choices for where to go hyper-local. Many brands focus on the go-to areas for experiential extravaganzas like Times Square, but excellent engaging experiences can happen anywhere. Like OOH, EXP can be launched with smaller budgets in smaller markets, and the engagement may be more deeply appreciated because they see less experiential activity than the top 10 urban centers.
Create buzz and ROI beyond your local footprint:
Although you are focused locally, you should extend your reach beyond the OOH + experiential footprint you create by feeding the fuller media channels with sizzle reels and imagery of your campaign.
According to the EventTrack 2017 Experiential Content Benchmarking report, “78% of consumers say they feel better about a brand after viewing video from branded experiences and events.”, and “over two-thirds of consumers say watching branded experience videos make them more likely to purchase the brand as a result.” Digital, social media, TV, print, and of course OOH can all share this content and benefit when you cross-pollinate the experiential assets you create. Allow your events to live on long after they are over, providing more ROI.
Keep it simple, as one does with all good design:
You are designing an experience and event, reflecting and building on your OOH and larger marketing strategy. Like good creative design for OOH, don’t try to say or do, too many things. Don’t dilute your EXP with too much busy-ness. What is the message that you want to communicate? What is your main goal? Build around that. Just like you can’t say and achieve everything with a single traditional advertising campaign, you cannot say and achieve everything with a single experiential event. Simple, across an integrated media and experiential effort, will equal success.
Let your customers do the talking:
OOH and Experiential both have their unique strengths. One major consideration that experiential can deliver strongest is putting your potential customers in front of your current loyal and happy customers. In other words, referrals are commonplace at experiential events that will typically include a mix of existing and potential customers. Let your customers do the selling for you, and reward them for it with an amazing experience. They are your best brand ambassadors.
Now is the time to jump deeper in to the experiential pool. Consumers in 2017 are showing more interest, and the Event Marketing Institute’s EventTrack study showed that 79% of brand marketers increased their experiential marketing in 2016. With 70% of people’s time spent away from the home, integrating your OOH with experiential is a strategy that goes a step beyond, splicing the two approaches for best results. Would you like to learn more? We’d love to chat and our expertise includes both experiential and out-of-home.
Please connect with me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on LinkedIn.