A quick Google search for “experiential marketing agency” brings up an excess of results, many who claim to be #1 or the best in the business. But how do you wade through the overwhelming pool of candidates to find the agency that will transform your brand identity into a fully immersive experience?
Before you hand over your business’s entire marketing budget, make sure you know what to look for in an experiential marketing agency.
Review Track Records
Chances are you’ve attended an immersive event that inspired you to take the plunge with your own business. Maybe it was a pop-up promoting the latest TV show revival. Or perhaps you found your new favorite brand at a trade show after experiencing their product through VR. No matter what events left a lasting impact, they all had something in common – an experiential marketing agency working behind the scenes to bring a vision to life.
Knowing that, when trying to execute an event that garners an emotional reaction, research the team that was responsible for your favorite experiences. You already know what they’re capable of achieving; that immediate level of trust will make your event-planning all the more seamless. Maybe you haven’t been to a wow-worthy event, though. If that’s the case and you’re starting from scratch, you may want to search for agencies that are familiar with your industry or have the bandwidth to learn about your target audience. While you want to create a memorable event, you also want to see a return on investment.
Before choosing an agency to partner with, review their portfolio and connect with clients who can speak to their level of work. You want to see that they’ve executed successful events in your industry. If you’re in a competitive industry like the entertainment business, it makes sense to partner with an agency with a proven track record in Hollywood (like MC² Experiential Studio – shameless plug).
Address Your Budget and Goals
Once you have a few experiential marketing agencies queued up, it’s essential that you schedule a consultation to address your goals. A physical meeting with the agency at their offices will give you a sense of the working dynamic before jumping into a long-term partnership. Be clear about how much you are willing to spend, how many people you expect to attend the event, and what you hope the experience will achieve. Laying out all of your needs up front will help you determine if an agency is capable of creating the event you’re envisioning.
While you shouldn’t stray too far from your brand, you’re looking to hire an experiential marketing agency because you need their help – don’t write off their suggestions before hearing their rationale. They are full of innovative ideas that you may have never considered before, and those ideas can lead to the next trending campaign.
Establish an Agreement
At this point, you’ve probably narrowed down your experiential agency options. Now it’s time to determine how you will work together. You want to trust that an agency will go above and beyond in conceiving and executing your vision. Twenty-nine percent of companies who run experiential campaigns report 10-1 returns on their investment … so the odds are in your favor. But creating an experience that reflects your vision means that you’re involved in the planning process. Create an agreement that establishes expectations for your partnership. The last thing you want is to be blindsided by your agency.
Make Sure They Can Measure Event Success
When all is said and done, you want to make sure your efforts paid off. Having tangible measurements starts with knowing your goals. If you want to increase your social media following, make sure you’re able to gauge your growth. Maybe your immersive experience is centered around promoting a new product, and you want to evaluate how its effecting sales. Your answers are in the analytics. For that reason, smart technology like lead capture software will help you recognize a customer’s first point of contact. Make sure your agency is equipped to leverage technology to measure and provide you with the metrics you’ll need to evaluate the success of your event.
Like any strong campaign, the work doesn’t stop when your event ends. With your measurements, you can assess audience response, but you can also determine if the agency delivered results as promised.
Do you need help planning your next event? Let’s talk. In the meantime, see how we’ve helped leading brands build successful campaigns.