Tip: More than just a pretty face, performers can act as a functional piece of decor.
Promotional Idea: Natural Juice – Smoothie Company. Redefine your taste tests by transforming them into a fantastical journey. Image your current sampling campaign meets a Mid Summer’s Night Dream.
Aerialists in custom outfits can perform on custom cirque equipment that will transform our performers into nature spirits performing in a mythical forest. Higher performers can call attention while performers closer to ground level can provide the ultimate Instagram or Snap Chat post. Guests can snap pictures or videos of our aerialists pouring samples from high up in their mythical trees amidst mid performance.
Tip: People love simple competitions they can play with friends. A game like Connect 4 is all that plus it plays on nostalgia and can easily be painted to match company colors.
Promotional Idea: Cell Phone – Technology. Tell the story of how family game night was transformed from a physical to digital experience. Create a booth that uses giant games to attract attention. Match the physical games you have set up to corresponding tablets & phones you have on display. Then show costumers how technology can help connect families in all sorts of interesting and fun ways while getting the actual product in peoples hands.
(T-Mobile’s Family Game Zone Activation produced by M2W at Maryland State Fair.)
Tip: There are endless possible options, but each photo type has a feel to it. Pick the photo option that matches the feel of your event theme.
Promotional Idea: Universal – Any Company. Use your photo booth to help customers engage with your message. Using Pride as an example, you can have customers choose which color on the pride rainbow they are and express why. Two photos are printed, one for the customer to keep and the second can be attached to a piece of decor that becomes the centerpiece of a growing activation.
(T-Mobile’s Voice Your Inner Color Activations produced by M2W at NYC Pride 2016)
Tip: Illusionists, mentalists, magicians are perfect ice breakers. They can approach lonely parties and bring them back into the group. They are a great way to build excitement easily and early. Use them at the start of your event.
Promotional Idea: Cell Phone / Technology companies – magic evolves with the times. Illusionists today use phones to do many of their tricks. Imagine having an illusionist perform within a cellphone store. The illusionists can perform short show times every hour that we promote around the mall. All of the tricks will revolve around the phones on displays. A few quick tricks will pull people into the store, but won’t distract the sales force for too long.
(Doug McKenzie showing how “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” )
To have a little fun, to give a shout out to our vendors and to help you appreciate a little deeper the crazy world we help manage for you, M2W has come up with it’s own spin on the holiday classic.
On the 12 Hours of Set Up…
For the next 12 days we will give you 12 different activation possibilities and tips for using each at your promotional event.
On the first hour of set-upM2W produced for me…
The Perfect Set Design
(Floor plan & corresponding image from M2W T-Mobile NYC Pride Campaign)
Tip: The entire design of the event layout needs to facilitate the efficient movement of your guests. It needs to guide people out of the main event and bring them fully into the “world” of your activation. If you do not take people out of the main event, you will never capture their full attention.
Promotional Idea:Universal – Any Company. The perfect set design for a mobile tour is transport-efficient. The easiest way to create a cost-effective, mobile world is to highlight one or two signature décor pieces, and support those pieces with vinyl backdrops that can be easily rolled, transported, and hung.
Clare Wynne was honored to be a guest on our partner’s Vlog discussing experiential marketing, staffing and glass-side trucks. Thanks to Rod at www.bulldogbillboards.com for having her on!
Rod: This is episode 3 of the Bulldog Vlog where each week I will be choosing a topic, and often plan to bring other industry experts to the show. Today we have Clare Wynn from M2W.
Rod: How did M2W come to be named?
Clare: M2W stands for Marketing to Win and Wynne is my last name.
Rod: This is our episode 3 and you are the first bonafide experiential marketing expert that we’ve had so I’m really excited to have you on and get to pick your brain about experiential marketing. Tell your website to everybody.
Rod: There’s a lot of examples of fantastic out of home advertising here as well. Let’s talk about experiential marketing. How long have you been doing this?
Clare: 17 years with M2W, previously I was with CBS broadcast doing events.
Rod: What’s the first time you ever saw experiential marketing?
Clare: Probably doing Blue Diamond Almonds at NFL or at Super Bowl games.
Rod: One of the reasons why I’m excited to have you on and I’m telling you the truth here: I don’t know anybody in the industry that travels as much as you, gets your hands dirty and involved in the campaigns as much as you do, and has as much fun as you do.
Clare: You don’t?
Clare: A lot of us in the industry are like that.
Rod: I tell you, I travel a fair amount. I don’t have as much fun. It’s not as glamorous as you make it sound.
Clare: It’s not glamorous.
Rod: You take some time, and you and your team seem to have fun and you take some time to smell the roses and I need to learn how to do that better.
Clare: I always tell people I’m really 27 I just look old.
Rod: No you don’t. Tell me what’s some of your favorite experiential marketing campaigns that you’ve been involved with?
Clare: A lot of them actually have to do with very not so sexy clients and not so sexy products. The Cellular phone industry
Clare: We didn’t really have anything chaotic. A lot of times you’re wildly ripping down a door, they broke in. I think the worst thing that ever happened was Macy’s allowed us to go in and do a flash mob for the Blackberries.
Rod: Right. So you got to combine social media with experiential.
Clare: Correct.That’s key.
Rod: Fantastic. You have a lot of brand ambassadors, right?
Clare: We have over 8500 brand ambassadors nationwide to date.
Rod: So they’re part time employees or contract employee?
Clare: They’re both. Ones that are consistent, they are part time employees. The big thing now is you can’t have independent contractors so we’re slowly but surely converting them all over to being employees.
Rod: Do you provide the staffing services to other companies?
Clare: Yes. Absolutely. We’ll see some of the larger agencies that you work with. Some of the big ones, because we’re a pretty small shop, we often contract out. They don’t want to do that. They just want to do the creative and let me tell you, staffing is tough.
Rod: What campaigns are you working on now that you can tell us about?
Clare: You know I’m trying to get Galbani, which is Italian cheese, through another second glass truck. This year, it’s going to be in Chicago. Last year we did it with you in Boston and New York. That’s how we met. I’d love to get your giant glass cube without somewhere in maybe seaport or New York or somewhere like that. Under one of our campaigns.
Rod: We’re in the advertising display cube and that is the XL glass wall truck. That’s the largest vehicle I have. Those would be fabulous cheese marketing cheese.
Clare: They would be. Other things we’re working on is an environmental tool with Blue Diamond almonds, which comes out very soon. We are also working with MoneyGram International. They’re based here in Texas. We do a lot more with them as far as … We call it football. Soccer effects.
Rod: Today on your website for the 3rd time in my life, I watched your video Saving The Universe. I love when the one guy, the lone marketer, is sitting as his computer and turns around and he says, “I got 4 lights today.” Wha wha”. Tell me the inspiration of that video.
Clare: What happens is that everyone tries to get an ROI on everything. You’ve got to have data entry, you’ve got to have names, you’ve got to collect leads. That’s fine but you’ve also got to impress your brand peer on peer so if a female who’s 40 who looks super buff and super cute is selling Quaker Oats rice cakes, she’s going to do great when she sells that to another 40 year old who’s looking buff who wants to either lose weight or wants to be looking good. Peer on peer marketing is fun, it’s exciting, and I think what happens is too many people get tied up in the analytics of how many people came in from my newspaper ad or my email blast or my postcard. But peer on peer, you can literally take them from the street directly into that store to buy a product.
Rod:Remember that you have a choice in your marketing mix so choose to integrate experiential marketing and out of home advertising.
Social Media displays, sweepstakes, performers, games, and branded giveaways are just a few of the many attention-grabbing tactics exhibitors use to try to get your attention. But are they effective?
They can be, but they can also be the single biggest reason a trade show booth is ineffective. No matter how “cool” or innovative a tactic may be, if it doesn’t fit with the audience, or match with the key messaging it can be a complete fail.
The key to matching the right tactic with the right audience comes by knowing when you should identify tactics within the planning process.
The next time you are thinking about designing your trade show booth, here is the order in which you should make your key decisions.
1. Identify your audience
Who exactly are you targeting? Don’t be general or vague. Spend an hour+ really thinking about who your dream audience will be.
Don’t think marketing manager for a small to mid-size firm. Think about their demographic, their age, their company size, their preferred social media (or traditional medium). Dig deep, the more specific you are the more fruitful this exercise will be.
Not only is this a vital step in crafting the right message; it should be the main determinate of which trade shows you participate in.
For help creating a customer profile you can check out these articles
A big mistake I’ve noticed is that companies fall for the “prestige” of a trade show, instead of selecting the right trade show. For example, just because you are an events company doesn’t mean you need to exhibit at TSE. Your audience may not be there, and even if they are, the trade show message you’ve constructed may be out of place or inappropriate for this particular trade show. If you aren’t going to be effective, then don’t exhibit. If you need a presence just attend.
Identify the tradeshows that your target audience attends, but also pay attention to the location and the type of conference. Geographic factors can play a role in “what’s relevant”, so your message although directed at the same audience, might not be as effective. Look for trade shows that apply to the right audience, and have the same tone / feel and take place in a similar geographic or demographic region. This way you will get the most bang for your buck across multiple trade shows.
For help identifying the right trade show
Talk to trade show promoters
Look at your competitors –where are they showcasing
Research current or past attendees
Pay close attention to sponsors of the show
3. Identify your Message
Now that you know whom you’re looking to appeal to and where you will be presenting, it’s that much easier to write your key messaging.
Having taken the time to understand your target audience, you should have identified the hot buttons that make them tick. Utilize those hot buttons by thinking about your messaging from their point of view.
Once you’ve captured your audience’s pov, let it set the tone for your entire booth display. It should influence the look & feel of the color scheme, furniture, and the uniforms of your employees.
Remember, consistency is the key to effectiveness.
4. Identify your tactics
Now it’s time to think about the attention grabbers. Never before you’ve identified your audience and crafted your message.
Your tactics, your games / activities, your sweepstakes, your giveaways etc., are just to draw people’s attention. They are the icing on the cake. If they aren’t in line with what you are trying to say, they are as pointless as Cat Memes on Facebook.
Tactics are also the easiest element on your trade show to change if you’ve decided on them in the correct order. If you know your audience, and your message is strong, it’s ok to experiment with different attention-grabbing techniques or modify one that isn’t as effective as you’d hope.
However, if you wrapped your messaging around an innovative piece of technology or event craze then you may be completely out of luck if that attention grabber is not working. It will cost too much time & money to change the messaging and tactic.
When identifying your tactics here are a few things to consider.
Age vs. Social Media
Industry type vs. Complexity of a game / sweep stakes
Demographic vs. giveaway
This is the process I think about whenever I sit down and start talking to a client. This is the same process you need to think about. Understand who you are trying to reach, and where you will be presenting. Craft your message around those two factors, and then bring that message to life with the right tactic. Your cohesive and well-planned exhibit will be the standout at your next tradeshow.
Never underestimate the selling power of a well-trained street team
The more “complicated” our clients’ brand becomes the more important it becomes to train our Brand Experts really well. At M2W we are known as YOUR ARMS AND LEGS IN THE FIELD…but if I could add something to our event division’s slogan it would be Your Arms, Legs and BRAINS In the Field!
At M2W we have very long term relationships with our customers, and with long term relationships come the challenge of constantly trying to raise the bar. Most event companies think this means coming up with a bigger and better WOW! factor – it does, but it also means raising the bar on the staffing/training side. Training takes a lot of brain power, not only from the Brand Experts as they learn, but from our management team as they put together a creative, dynamic training curriculum.
Fortunately at M2W we have an incredibly talented staff that understands the importance of a well- trained, well-branded street team. While they themselves aren’t always the most structured bunch, it seems to me they really put client product training, appropriate staffing (the right peeps for the event demographically) and key message delivery as a priority.
I look at training/staffing the most desirable street team like cooking a healthy dinner: make sure you have a lean protein to start, one or two strong BE veterans that have worked many of this specific clients’ events. Then add the green veggies for simple carbohydrates, a couple of rookies are OK (they have great energy since they are new to the biz – or to this specific client – and energy abounds) and then add a few complex carbohydrates (these are your constant BEs – they won’t win any “bubbly energy” contests, but they are always on time, have key messaging down and always follow the rules). This would be an ideal group to train.
Leslie Voigt-Kenfield, M2W Director of Operations, has been dynamic in developing some really great training programs, including a training webinar that she and our client MetroPCS worked on together. Leslie also conducts some really “FUN” training sessions in her markets coast-2-coast. We are also fortunate to have some other good trainers in both our management teams and Brand Experts. My hat goes off to Sophia Jackson (NY/NJ Market Manager) and Joseph Lanzarin, also on our NY/NJ team…and then there is John Mitchell – a Brand Expert extraordinaire – he is truly the best Brand Expert I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. On the video below you will see Sophia, Joseph and John on stage as they train and interact with our A Team of Brand Experts during extensive, high profile training in Manhattan. The video is courtesy of our Director of Business Strategy, also out of NY/NJ, Jen Cho, as she oversees all trainings in NY/NJ.
Some key points of a good training session:
Plan on spending 4 hours of preparation for every one hour of training
Make sure that you have the client buy-in, that the client knows exactly what your training entails and that they have provided the necessary training materials
MAKE IT FUN- Games, prize drawings…yes, even role playing can be fun!
MAKE IT INTERACTIVE-let the hams get up and strut their stuff, if anyone is a little bit introverted now is the time to put them to the test…and weed them out…this business is absolutely NO place for an introvert
Feed them, if you are feeding them you don’t have to pay them. I’m not a proponent of paying any Brand Expert to show up for training…as long as we are guaranteeing them work. If you are not guaranteeing the BE work, then you should AT LEAST feed them. My staff disagrees with me on this, but that’s OK.
Give them the next training date…make sure that you have a follow-up date for the next get together, you might even give some of your “training superstars” a chance to be involved in the next training.
Take pictures…or make a video like this one…
So, to our potential clients, make sure that you hire an Experiential Event Company that believes and executes (often) training for their staff, which ultimately will be representing YOU in the consumer’s eyes.
Effective Branding in Experiential and Event Marketing…
It takes some pretty awesome companies to pull off effective branding in an event marketing or experiential marketing program. Often times the only way to brand is with “KEY MESSAGING” or “Talking Points”. Our principle and CEO, Clare Wynne, suggests that if you can take the company’s logo and color scheme OUT of the event and consumers can still figure out which brand is represented just based on the atmosphere and vibe that your Brand Experts have created, then you have successfully “Branded” the event. This is not easily accomplished without properly defining your Brand and training your team, in detail, about your Brand Platform.
Consider this…companies like Coca-Cola, Nike, and Hershey’s have done an outstanding job at branding, these same companies are also some of the best Experiential Marketers on the planet. I’m not talking about their logo from a branding standpoint, but from their core traits as define with their Brand Platforms. Let me explain: Coca-Cola = Happiness (brilliant idea btw), Nike = Empowering, Hershey = Chocolate makes you happy. These core Brand Platforms help each company decide and strategize on where they need to be. Do you think it’s coincidence that Coca-Cola sponsors events and locations that truly bring people happiness? That Nike organizes Guerilla training events for marathons in order to empower and motivate consumers on their upcoming run? Or that Hershey has a mega-store in Time Square where tourists can experience the wonders of Chocolate? These are perfect examples of how Brands are strategically choosing sponsorships and events in order to strengthen their Brand Platform and align themselves, in consumers eyes, with exactly how they want people to experience and interact with their brand.
I often times like to imagine what other Brands would do if they took an Experiential approach to marketing based on their brand platform. Wouldn’t it be cool if a company like Chipotle, whose Brand Platform is based around good quality food that is not going to kill you (well maybe not that last part) took over hospital cafeterias across the nation and educated consumers about the importance of choosing the right place to eat “Fast food doesn’t have to be bad for you, have a Chipotle burrito!”. It’s always fun to consider what companies can do to drive sales and increase their brand awareness. Something to always consider is, you must always make sure that the foundation of your company (your Brand) doesn’t get lost in the process. Branding is like building a foundation for everything else to be built upon. A strong Brand foundation will insure that your beautifully, well crafted, house of bricks doesn’t come tumbling down. Through proper planning, training, and staffing, your most valuable asset, YOUR BRAND, can be right at home doing what it does best…driving your brand.
I recently had the opportunity to work with a client that needed to “do something different”. The market had been overly saturated by cookie cutter, in the box campaigns and for this client the norm simply would not due.
M2W was hired to build a program that would launch this new brand into the market with a splash. Utilizing branding, social media, CRM direct marketing, experiential marketing, and campaign development/deployment we built a program that did just that.
Within the first few weeks after the campaign launch the client’s phone was ringing off the hook, but interestingly enough not just by their potential customers. Big leaders within the industry were taking notice and were calling to congratulate our client on the inevitable success of the campaign. It’s not everyday that you get a phone call from top executives of one of largest apparel manufacturers in the world.
It’s still too soon to see how successful the campaign will be in the long haul, but we are very optimistic about the future success of our new found client and their initiative to “do something different”. No problem…we can do that!