On another note, I’ve run across an article from a few weeks back in BtoB Magazine. The article covers the latest efforts and perceptions of experiential marketing in the B to B space. Among some of the most interesting findings, the article suggests that although experiential marketing is increasingly being used by B to B marketers, it is not really being measured.
Moreover, a study cited in the article showed that no one really knows what experiential marketing is.
Respondents were asked whether they agreed with this definition of experiential marketing: A company’s ability to utilize various methods of marketing, thus enabling its target audience to experience its brand, services and products. Examples of experiential marketing methods include live events and gatherings; Web-based events, webcasts and podcasts; and product or service demonstrations and/or test-drives.
The survey found that 62.9% of marketers agreed with this definition, while 14.4% said it was too broad and 5% said it was too narrow. Three percent said the definition was incorrect, and 8.4% said it was missing details.
The leading types of experiential marketing programs for b-to-b marketers are industry conferences (70.8%), large trade shows (59.4%), proprietary events (59.1%) and online events (54.7%), according to the survey.
“Companies are getting much more focused in terms of programs,” Etzler said. “They are shying away from the big trade shows and doing a lot more proprietary events.”
Other types of experiential marketing programs that b-to-b marketers engage in include partner events (37.6%), branding events (33.6%) and employee events (24.5%). Respondents could select more than one answer.
Also, 57.1% said experiential marketing is important or very important to the future of their company, and 64.1% said it is important or very important to the future of b-to-b marketing.
However, 64.5% of marketers do not have a system in place to measure the effectiveness of experiential marketing programs, the survey found.
For companies that measure the effectiveness of experiential marketing programs, 67.9% measure the number of qualified sales leads; 43.8% measure revenue attributed to experiential marketing programs; and 32.8% measure the impact on a company’s brand.
In terms of marketing budgets for experiential marketing programs, 57% of respondents have annual budgets of less than $100,000; 18.5% have budgets between $101,000 and $1 million; 5.7% have budgets between $1 million and $10 million; and 3.9% have budgets greater than $10 million (14.8% said they did not know their budget for experiential marketing).
Significantly, 42.3% said they did not know how much net revenue the company generates each year as a result of experiential marketing.
Nearly one-quarter (24.8%) of companies generate less than $100,000 in net revenue each year as a result of experiential marketing; 18.5% generate between $101,000 and $1 million; 11.1% generate between $1 million and $10 million; and 3.3% generate more than $10 million.
Wow. That second-to-last sentence is an eye-opener. We’ve always said that research will make or break experiential marketing. And that it’s not about return-on-investment, but all about return-on-emotion. I wonder if this applies to the B to B space, too. More than ever, experiental marketing needs to grow up and show that it can deliver.