Measuring Experiential Marketing
There’s much talk about ROAS, ROMI, ROO matrix, attribution and other analytics in our industry, and many companies that quantify media usage and consumer habits, but no clear standardized assessment procedure to measure the effectiveness and impact that Event or Lifestyle Marketing can have on consumers.
There was a time in my agency career, when presented with an event package from a radio station, I would evaluate its worth just on media value: How many :60’s or :30's does it include? :10’s or mentions? Is the media value within the package in line with the cost of the package? I’ve always felt this process grossly undervalues the emotional engagement and impact advertisers could have within the local community and with potential consumers by partnering with local radio stations using event and grassroots level marketing. And let’s state it now, no medium is more involved in their community than Local Radio. Whether it’s a festival, concert or cause related marketing, engaging with a consumer beyond traditional media messaging builds an emotional connection with that consumer, which is the foundation of Local Radio.
A recent Katz Media Group-Our Media July 2018 panel study found 72% of Americans appreciate when brands sponsor events in their local community and 62% are more likely to consider using those brands. Additionally, according to Forrester Research, ‘emotion is the #1 driver of loyalty. Building a base of emotionally loyal customers should be a primary goal for most businesses. Emotional loyalty entails a deeper level of commitment to the brand, as it goes beyond the financial extras the brand offers.’ A recent white-paper published by consumer marketer Annex Cloud on Emotional Loyalty, in collaboration with Dr. James Intriligator, professor of Consumer Psychology at Tufts University, states that most of our choices are based on emotion and it’s only afterwards that our rational brain steps in and tries to justify these choices.
Many brands focus their campaigns on rational or transactional loyalty (sales, discounts, incentives, reward points), but too much emphasis on the rational and you’re less likely to create a genuine connection with your consumer, who will only stay if you provide a specific transactional value. An emotional consumer is more likely to stick with your brand long term. What advertiser wouldn’t want an opportunity to build value, loyalty and enhance the consumer experience? Are marketers losing sight because they don’t know how to quantify the psychology of Experiential Marketing?
A study by the Association of National Advertisers and the Marketing Accountability Standards Board titled Improving Sponsorship Accountability Metrics sited that the total North American sponsorship spending for 2018 was estimated (ESP Properties, formerly IEG) at $24.2 billion up 41% from 2010, but among those respondents sponsorship spending accounts for only 17% of their marketing, advertising & promotion spend for the year. Among those same respondents only 37% reported having a standardized process for measuring return.
Among companies in the media measurement space, AI (artificial intelligence) tech company Veritone has their Veritone Platform, which records, transcribes, indexes and provides analytics only for the on-air media elements of a sponsorship, the spots, promo’s, live reads & mentions. Verification in near-real-time allows for audience (impressions) analysis plus their Attribution Modeling enables marketers to measure the impact of radio sponsorship through web activity.
Researchers like Scarborough and MRI/Simmons conduct consumers studies asking respondents about activities & behaviors, psychographic questions pertaining to product categories and their attitudes regarding advertising, but only in the traditional sense of commercials.
Event Production Company Endless, on the other hand, uses a mix of event apps, social media and survey tools to measure an event attendee’s engagement. By setting goals, establishing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and bench-marking through the various tools, brands can measure engagement in real-time by monitoring event registration, marketing blasts as well as apps to survey an attendees brand positioning & awareness and further nurture them for post-event consumer engagement.
Among those I reviewed, Endless come closest with their tools and methods to measure on-site event engagement, but it’s certainly not simple and ‘turn-key’. I think we’re far from any easy or standardized way to measure, but as a marketer if your goal is to curate an involved, engaged and loyal consumer for your brand, then you too need to be involved and engaged.
You knew I was going to circle back to this, so let’s review why it’s so important to include Local Radio and their event sponsorships in a marketing plan:
- No other medium provides a better platform for interactive, experiential engagement with consumers than Local Radio
- According to Jacobs Media’s TechSurvey 2019 – almost 9 out of 10 respondents agree ‘One of radio’s primary advantage is its local feel’ (Published: Inside Radio 4/2/2019)
- 9 out of 10 listeners actively engaging with their local radio station or personality
- Almost 7 out of 10 listeners have attended a radio station-sponsored event
- 51% have gone to a store location when their station made an appearance at the location
- 1 in 2 listeners have a favorite Radio personality
- 81% consider their favorite personality like a friend
- 77% of listeners would try a brand recommended by their favorite personality
I think GroupM CEO Tim Castree said it best in a recent Math & Magic podcast (minute 00:14:09), when iHeart Media Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman asked what foundational belief or lessen he learned about in the early part of his career that resonates with him today. Tim’s response: ‘This is all about making emotional connections with people. Even with the power of all of our data, technology & targeting tools, at the end of the day, it’s about moving people and the only way to do that is at the level of emotional engagement.’
What I know to be true, it’s Local Radio and their commitment to the community that can give brands & marketers the opportunity to grow engagement and foster connections in an environment that delivers passionate and involved consumers. Considering only 17% of marketing/ad dollars (ANA/MASB study) is spent towards sponsorships, this is an untapped well that marketers and brands should be investing in.