I heard a client refer to our experiential marketing work as is “a gut check”. Let’s face it: research can be intimidating. Words like ‘design,’ ‘methodology,’ ‘statistical significance’…all of these can cause one’s eye to start twitching and the brain to focus elsewhere.
Research is Everywhere
In todays market it is more important than ever to be an informed consumer. While you don’t have to know the difference between a Type I and Type II error, for example, it is important to know when a research study may be so flawed that it isn’t able to provide meaningful results.
The projects I’ve found most rewarding are the ones where clients were able to work past being intimidated, either by the research itself or the results. As a researcher, “bad news” is never fun, or easy, to deliver. But it highlights where the opportunity lies: for growth, for improvement, for an impactful and meaningful change. It is much easier to convey that sense of optimism when you don’t have to convince the client of that.
In a recent meeting, I delivered some potentially sensitive information about how a brand was received by its target audience. The conversation among the client group participants could not have been a more constructive one. There were a couple of clients who were making valid points about why this might not be 100% accurate. It was at this point when another client pointed out that the experiential marketing research isn’t the end-all be-all of research. Instead he used it as a way to get insight into, and from, the target consumer. As a result, this client viewed it as a gut check. A way to corroborate information that was coming in from other sources. For him, the insight provided the push to present the brand another way. To more effectively compel their target to try the brand and more powerfully impact the target’s intent to purchase.
I think this is exactly how our research benefits experiential agencies and firms. It offers a line of sight into consumers’ experience at events. Not only are we able to show who the event is reaching, but also how it is having an impact on his/ her opinion and perception of the brand. Our surveys, be they ever so brief, are able to generate a good deal of insight because we include other types of data in our analysis.
Field recap metrics are recorded by event staff and involve things like number and type of samples distributed, venue type, event attendance, and so on. These metrics can be powerful elements in our analysis. At this same meeting, I was able to show how events at a specific type of venue had the highest rate of purchase intent compared to other venues. That helped the brand team understand that their field staff were activating at the right place.
In an hour-long meeting, I was able to help clients not only understand the research, but more importantly, understand how to take away what is important to them and their business strategy. That’s the kind of meeting that is most rewarding.