It has been proven that experiential marketing has the power to drive sales. According to Eventtrack 2015, 48% of brands realise an ROI of between 3:1 to 5:1 to their events.
In the same study, 98% of respondents said that assuming the product or service promoted was one they were interested in, participating at the event or experience made them more inclined to purchase.
A further 70% of event and experience participants that purchase once then become a regular customer. Loyal, repeat customers are the ideal result of any marketing practice.
As such, this article will demonstrate the many faces of experiential marketing and the power it has to drive sales, especially for FMCG brands.
How Experiential Can Drive Sales for FMCG:
“We’re only at the beginning of the pop-up revolution.”
He’s right, pop up shops have become a popular choice for the online retailer who wants a physical outlet. However, the low cost and flexible lease terms serve to benefit all brands equally.
In terms of statistics, in the UK, pop-ups contribute £2.3 billion a year to the economy, with 12.3% revenue growth in 2015 according to Wearepopup.com.
It is obvious that the pop-up shop is a massive sales driver for brands when executed well. This is particularly true for FMCG brands, typically purchased with low involvement and without a large financial commitment for consumers.
Providing Post-Sale Service
Customer service is integral to any successful business, on average, loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase according to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs. Whilst the importance of customer service is universally agreed, customers are typically frustrated by customer service call centres. The smart marketer recognises this and takes customer service out of the call centre, to the customers.
“Ask your customers to be part of the solution, And don’t view them as part of the problem.”
By hosting these after-sale service events, brands present their human face, rather than a system of recorded messages and endless hold music. Furthermore, it is easier for brand representatives to solve an issue when they have access to the product and therefore the problem.
This, once more, demonstrates experiential marketing’s ability to drive sales, as, according to Lee Resources, resolving a complaint in the customer’s favour leads to them doing business with you again 70% of the time.
By hosting events which provide after-sale services you improve the consumer’s experience of the product, whilst increasing the likelihood of retaining a valuable, loyal customer.
For FMCG brands, events aimed at increasing product utility rather than troubleshooting will be more appropriate, but just as successful, people always want to get more for their money.
“81 percent of marketers who have used influencer marketing judged it to be effective.”
The benefit of partnering with an influencer for an event, is that consumers can co-create content: photos, videos, snapchats etc. with the influencer. It can be expected that this content will receive vastly more interactions and therefore more exposure than the customer’s natural content would, due to the exclusivity.
More than two-thirds of marketing and communications professionals surveyed by Schlesinger Associates cited content promotion as a tactic for which they engaged with influencers, due to influencer generated content being more trustworthy. According to Nielsen, 92% of people trust recommendations from individuals (even if they don’t know them) over brands.
Youtube influencer Jack Maynard at Star Wars: Rogue One Gatwick activation (Credit : James GIllham for Disney)
Influencer content is a genuine tool to drive sales and improve brand perception. Logically, if a consumer takes a photo with their favourite celebrity, it’s fair to assume that it will feature as their profile or cover photo for a significant period of time. Branding this content with a unique snapchat filter creates a long-lasting, earned, advertisement.
For FMCG brands, influencers are plentiful, particularly in nutrition, fitness and similar areas. These fields have dedicated followings who will attend, engage and share the content produced. Take this campaign from Zespri Sun-Up as an example:
Seventy-nine percent of consumers have taken some form of action after seeing an out-of-home ad, with 62% doing so after seeing a digital out-of-home advertisement, according to a study by the Future Foundation.This synergises effectively with experiential marketing, which has the ability to create a deeper bond, leaving a lasting impression through interactivity.
For FMCG brands this is especially pertinent, as the category typically suffers from low consumer involvement. By creating a bond between the brand and the consumer, the brand instantly elevates itself away from all other brands with which the consumer has little to no involvement.
One creative example of this is Lucozade’s ‘wait training’ campaign working with out-of-home specialists JCDecaux, which inspired commuters to take part in ‘bus stop fitness classes’:
Creating Holistic Campaigns
A holistic approach is the meta in modern day marketing, it israre to find a successful company who has not unified their marketing efforts for the better. Experiential is simply another spoke of the marketing wheel. The power of event-generated content to go viral is undeniable, as seen in Pepsi Max’s Unbelievable Bus Shelter (7,710,964 views) and Coke Zero’s Unlock The 007 in You (11,494,276 views).
Experiential activations generate user-created content, video content, images, survey data, PR and live-streaming opportunities. According to Eventtrack 2016, 98% of consumers create content at events and 100% of these consumers share the content among their social networks. Similarly, email, social posts, PR, content and direct marketing can all be used to create a buzz, driving consumers to the event creating more potential brand evangelists.
Experiential marketing plays a beautifully unique role within marketing strategy, which enables it to ‘supercharge’ other channels. In the context of FMCG this boost can be enough to differentiate your brand from the noise in traditional marketing channels and drive sales.
Price Promotions and Samples
Price promotion is an essential tool for any marketer, experiential is no different. VoucherCloud revealed that 57% of shoppers are motivated to complete a first-time purchase when they are able to redeem a coupon. In fact, 91% of buyers who redeem coupons say they would visit the same retailers again.
Product sampling is another activity which adds value to the consumer experience. So much so, that 80% of Eventtrack 2015 respondents agreed that sampling or product demonstration was the biggest influence on their decision to purchase at events.
According to theatlantic.com, Interactions distributed beer samples at several national US retailers, boosting sales on average by 71 percent, whilst its samples of frozen pizza increased sales by 600 percent.
An example of an FMCG sampling campaign is the Mountain Dew Roadshow. According to econsultancy, the campaign achieved an ROI of £1.85 for every £1 spent, 55% of people targeted by the campaign went on to purchase Mountain Dew, more than one third of whom were first-time purchasers. The takeaway being that these are tried and tested methods to drive sales.
Corporate social responsibility has become a huge concern in many FMCG categories through fear of ‘race to the bottom’ in the attempt to cut production costs. The modern British consumer is becoming increasingly savvy as to where their products are sourced. Organic, sustainable and fair-trade are all buzzwords effecting purchase decisions.
This is supported by a study by researchandmarkets.com, which found executives agree that it is more important to be transparent to customers about CSR than five years ago. As such it is important to be up front with consumers, demonstrating the human side of the brand.
Experiential marketing is not only a perfect opportunity to be open about your brand’s CSR practices, it allows consumers to become a part of it. Google’s Bay Area CSR campaign is a sterling example of CSR in experiential marketing, receiving over 400,000 votes for various non-profit projects.
The positive PR from CSR-based activation is invaluable in the age of the informed consumer and could easily tip the purchase decision of consumer in a category as competitive as FMCG.