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Experiences are a rich way to reach customers from beyond a screen. But even if you’ve created a killer campaign that knocks your attendees’ socks off, the experience needs to be good for business, too. If you don’t get business results from a customer experience, it wasn’t a wise use of your marketing resources. 

The only way marketers can be 100% sure that an experience was worthwhile is to measure ROI. While experiential marketing definitely gets results, it can be a struggle to measure the ROI of these offline interactions.

ROI is famously hard to nail down for experiential marketing because it’s difficult to have eyes on every aspect of the customer’s journey. Although it’s hard to measure attribution and ROI, it’s certainly not impossible. You can measure ROI in a way that makes something intangible like brand affinity a trackable, measurable KPI across all of your experiential campaigns. 

5 tips for measuring experiential marketing ROI

ROI might not be easy to measure, but you can still assign meaningful numbers to things that are ineffable. As a marketer, it’s your job to justify your efforts and prove that experiences are worthwhile.

Not sure how to do that? Follow these five steps to set up experiential marketing analytics that properly measure experiential ROI.

Every experience is different. That’s why your team needs to set goals for each experience before the event planning process. The SMART goal-setting framework will help your team assign quantitative values to your campaign goals—even for more qualitative goals like “brand awareness.”

1. Set goals first

For example, instead of saying, “We want more people to like our brand,” you could set a SMART goal such as, “Our net promoter score will improve by 10% three months after this event.” That’s a highly measurable and quantitative way to understand how much an experience made consumers like your brand. 

You can’t track experiential marketing analytics without setting goals first. You always need a goal to compare your KPIs against so you know if you truly made it across the finish line. It’s tempting to dive into planning a cool experience but focus on your goals before you get into the nitty-gritty of creating a program.

2. Choose KPIs that serve your goal

Once you know your goal, you need to choose the metrics that indicate you’ve met your goal. These metrics will make up the meat of your experiential marketing analytics.

Consider KPIs like: 

  • Number of attendees
  • Purchases
  • Email captures
  • Conversions
  • Event engagements
  • Brand affinity 
  • Social media reach and engagement

It’s important to remember, however, that every experience and every brand will have different KPIs. Don’t be afraid to customize your KPIs, so the data you collect at an experience is actually valuable.

3. Create a digitized customer journey map

Sure, ROI might be difficult to measure, but digitizing certain components of your brand experience can make it much easier to measure your experiential marketing analytics. In fact, digital components are a key part of getting attribution right. 

You might measure success in terms of first-interaction attribution, where you assign all of the credit to a customer’s first interaction with your brand. That could include signing up for your event or talking to a rep at a conference. Last-interaction attribution, on the other hand, gives credit to the final touchpoint customers have with your brand before they convert.

The issue with first- and last-interaction attribution is that they don’t represent the real customer experience. You’re missing out on the dozens of micro-interactions that happen in between that first and last interaction. This is why experiential marketers need to set up customer journey funnels so you can give credit where it’s due. 

A customer relationship management (CRM) platform can help you see the customer journey much more clearly. This system will track every interaction a customer has with your business—both online and offline—so you have a better understanding of which touchpoints actually generate ROI.

4. Track performance before, during, and after your event

Here’s the thing: you need data to make a CRM work. Without proper data collection, you risk tracking the wrong experiential marketing analytics that say nothing about your true ROI. 

In terms of data collection, this means:

  • Tracking how many freebies you give away at a booth. 
  • Keeping track of how many people your sales team interacts with (business cards are a great low-tech way to track this).
  • Collecting email addresses when people sign in or if they play a digital game at an event. 
  • Setting up Google Analytics to measure website traffic and performance during the experience.
  • Creating unique landing pages, codes, phone numbers, or hashtags to measure the impact of your experience. 
  • Measuring brand affinity or sentiment with pre- and post-experience, as well as live or in-event attendee surveys.

5. Conduct an ROI-focused post-mortem

Your team will collect a mind-boggling amount of data at any brand experience. You need to consult your experiential marketing analytics after an event to make sure you actually achieved your SMART goal. Marketers are often afraid of event post-mortems, but thanks to proper attribution tracking, you can embrace them as an opportunity to grow. 

See how your event KPIs stack up against your SMART goals. Make sure you look at all of your KPIs at once to get a holistic picture of what’s really going on. For example, if you received a lot of website traffic during an experience but few engagements or sales, it means you might need more conversion-friendly offers at your next event.

The idea is to look at your data so you get more out of your next investment. Instead of making the same mistakes over and over, you can rely on your experiential marketing analytics to get more results over time. 

Make the most of experiential marketing analytics

Creative, out-of-the-box experiences are essential for connecting with more customers. After all, innovation doesn’t mean much if your business doesn’t get tangible results from experiential marketing. Follow these five steps to plan an easily measurable experience that’s both creative and effective. We know that experiential marketing analytics can get complicated, though, especially if you’re a growing brand. Trust the Nitrous Effect to design your next brand experience for greater ROI. Contact us to learn more or get started today!

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