Experiential Marketing – Faith or Fact?

In a recent research study, it was found that nearly 80% of senior marketing executives were concerned about the lack of any robust measurement of ROI for their Experiential Marketing campaigns.  Despite this concern, Experiential Marketing continues to grow both in scope and scale and, in principle, marketeers rate the value of experiential very highly – greater than conventional broadcast advertising, for example.

They know that it is the most effective medium for making their brand memorable for consumers, as well as building loyalty, encouraging recommendation and prompting an immediate impact.  But for most, this is an act of faith rather than proven by facts.

This faith has a long tradition and heritage.  Long before these techniques were re-branded as ‘Experiential Marketing’, they were used to grow brands and create business success.

In the 1930’s, Paul Ricard started to market a more refined version of France’s popular aniseed based spirit, pastis, in the bars of Marseilles.  He did it by visiting each bar and appointing a ‘brand ambassador’ in each one, giving him an allowance to buy rounds of the Ricard brand for all his friends in the bar.  On a strict ROI basis, the cost of doing this could never be justified by the increased sales in generated in each bar, but it did start the process of creating a successful brand.

This belief that spirits brands are created and grown by on-trade experiential type activities became part of the marketing genetics of his business.  It was an act of faith.  Ricard became the most ubiquitous spirits brand in France, overtaking its older rival, Pernod and leading to the acquisition of Pernod to create what is now known as Pernod-Ricard, the second largest spirits company in the world..  These techniques helped drive the Chivas Regal brand to its position as the leading premium scotch in the Far East.  And it was all an act of faith.

But now there are relatively simple techniques that can measure the real ROI generated by Experiential Campaigns using the concept of “Effective Net Preference” (ENP).

ENP is a simplification of the general usage and attitude surveys that are regularly used to check attitudes towards brands.  Typically, such studies ask consumers to rate brands against two to three dozen attitude statements, but in reality these can be grouped together into five key drivers of consumer preference:

 

Relevancy                Do I need it?  Does this brand fit my needs?

Identification         Do I want to be associated with it?  Is this a brand I would be proud to be associated with?

Accessibility           What’s the time, effort and cost involved?  Can I easily buy and use this brand if I want to?

Value                         Is the benefit I’ll get worth the effort and cost?  Is this brand good value for money?

Confidence              What are the chances I’ll be disappointed?  If I bought this brand, am I sure that I will be completely satisfied?

 

These can then be used to calculate the ENP score for the brand.  This score is not just a number for the sake of it.  It’s important because there is a well-researched and proven relationship between ENP score and brand market share – the higher the ENP score, the higher the resultant market share.

If you measure the ENP score before and after the experiential event, the results will look something like this:

 

The positive shift in ENP can be directly correlated to an increase in market share.  What started out as an act of faith can now be justified by the numbers.

 

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