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March 14, 2024

The Biggest Challenge for Experiential Marketers (And How to Fix It)

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Experiential teams are used to the fight: for budget, headcount, and even cross-functional visibility into the impact of their programs. These teams lead the way for brand growth and loyalty. However, the combo of a lack of data to show success and oftentimes siloed operations makes it especially hard to gain ground. Each faces their own set of hurdles. 

But, experiential teams throughout the industry are in agreement and face the same challenges. We surveyed experiential marketers and leaders to learn what their 2023 was like and what’s at the top of their minds moving forward. When asked what the biggest challenge was in their experiential marketing, there was a consensus:

The biggest challenge for experiential marketers is a lack of team resources. 

What experiential challenges are most prevalent

The Biggest Challenge

Bandwidth, headcount, and hours in the day are major stumbling blocks for experiential marketing success. That’s not a surprise, and it’s clear why if you look at the current marketing landscape. 

It’s a fact that traditional marketing, like social media, digital ads, and even billboards, is easier to get a budget for than experiential marketing. It’s cheaper and has standardized metrics to measure success since it’s been around longer. More time has been spent defining and measuring success, and marketing teams reap the benefits today.

Meanwhile, experiential marketing has a bigger impact but is harder to prove, execute, and scale. So, budgets are scarce for immersive teams, making investing in internal growth and resources tricky.

So, let’s review the parts of this problem and how to unlock your team resources. 

Getting More Budget for Headcount

When asked, we found that 60% of teams surveyed rely solely on in-house management. Experiential teams are stuck between a rock and a hard place without the extra agency support and can’t hire new staff to help spread the workload. 

When it comes to getting more budget, brand experiences can have a hard time showcasing their impact on cumulative growth. Return on investment is a hot-button topic. With such high investments in experiences, if there’s no way to measure and prove ROI, teams can’t know what’s working, and stakeholders have a more challenging time understanding (and proving) the value.

Different kinds of experiences have different definitions of ROI; even different brands offering the same event can vary greatly in how they decide their strategy was successful. Some determine their success based on ticket sales, like brand homes, for scaling and improving. 

Events use a variety of success metrics, like marketing opt-ins, loyalty program sign-ups, and NPS ratings. Honing in on your goals and what you want to achieve and picking a metric to determine the way forward, outside of attendance and ticket sales, can be a game-changer. 

For those looking to prove the value of the event itself in a simple, tangible way, we personally like brand conversion rates and their impact on purchase behavior. 

Proving value can vary from NPS to feedback, impact, and more.

What is a brand conversion rate?

A brand conversion rate measures how an interaction changes a consumer’s opinion of a brand. Unlike net promoter scores (NPS), it’s a living metric that shows change over time vs static in-the-moment responses. You can find your brand conversion rate by taking the number of consumers who previously identified as detractors or passives, according to NPS results, but leave your experience as promoters. Detractors think poorly of your brand, and passives are more apathetic.

The detractors and passives are divided by those who became promoters during your brand home experience, then multiplied by 100. 

What is purchase behavior?

Purchase behavior is the buying trends in a target demographic around a certain product or type of product. Typically, brands will buy consumer research to learn more about the process and patterns of their audience’s spending habits. Experiential marketing is a great source for zero-party behavior data since your target consumer offers it directly. By looking at how consumers’ buying behavior changes after they attend an event, you can understand the influence of each event on their spending. 

Pulling Bandwidth Out of a Hat

Burnout is real, and balancing all the different needs and demands of experiential marketing can be incredibly draining. Usually, event teams must prioritize and let “nice-to-haves” fall by the wayside for “need-to-haves.” 

Increasing bandwidth without dropping off important pieces of marketing strategy to make room is a balancing act many teams are already in the middle of. 85% of the same survey stated that they use technology to support their experiential programs.

In 2024, many brands have already accepted that we need technology to assist their team’s work; these frontrunners understand that bandwidth relies on automation. 

What areas of experiential can be automated? A couple of examples that come to mind are registration, data capture, and analysis. With all the consumer responses, bookings, and last-minute changes teams get, it’s essential that they don’t waste bandwidth sifting through hundreds of data points to understand who is engaging and what worked well.

AI can be of use here. For example, Pinpoint, AnyRoad’s AI-powered feedback analysis, takes all the feedback your brand receives and pulls out common negative and positive trends, so you have a broader vision of the good, the bad, and the downright weird. (Control the rain because that’s definitely something you can make happen). 

See how it works for yourself.

The Takeaway

Team resources are a rare commodity, but finding ways to make more of what you already have can lighten the load and set you up for success. By finding metrics that matter to your brand’s overall goals to make a better case for budget, you can fight for a bigger piece of the pie. And even if you’re not in budget proposal season, you can still find new and exciting ways to automate the tasks that take time away from the real work — creating an immersive experience that wows your consumers. 

At the end of the day, we all want to dream big and make waves with our efforts, no matter the challenge.

Step 1: Evaluate Your Scheduling Software Needs

Before researching online booking systems, evaluating your business needs is essential. After all, you don’t want to overspend on bells and whistles when you only need an online form. For newer events looking to scale, a more sophisticated system might be the goal but not the starting point.

Consider the type and size of your business, the nature of your services, and the volume of transactions you handle. For instance, if you run tours and tastings, you should look at solutions meant for high-volume enterprises that can include add-on shirts, beer steins, and more.

Scheduling Software Flowchart

We made a helpful flowchart to help you decide if you’re ready to invest fully in online bookings or look into a free scheduling app, like Google Forms, as a better starting point.

As someone trying to make smart investment decisions, you don’t want to buy a booking and ticketing solution that doesn’t meet your needs. Use our guided questions to determine where you are in your investment journey.

Booking System flowchart
Use the flow to gauge where you are on your journey!

2. Compare Booking Page Features and Pricing

Booking Page Features

Once you have a clear idea of your business needs, you can compare online booking systems that meet your criteria. Have a list of your most essential needs and what would be nice for you to have. Some features you should consider including on your list include:

  • Website integration
  • Branded booking page
  • Configurability to match your brand
  • Payment processing and add-on sales
  • Automated reminders
  • Automatic data analysis
  • Feedback collection and analysis
  1. Website integration
  2. Branded booking page
  3. Configurability to match your brand
  4. Payment processing and add-on sales
  5. Automated reminders
  6. Automatic data analysis
  7. Feedback collection and analysis






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