I would say that for 85% of experiential marketing programs in retail, we do research that involves some sort of sampling geared at targeting a specific consumer to build affinity for the brand and drive purchase. Well, PortMA has a couple of programs that we have added to the books where the goals of the program are to build relationships with consumers who shop at the retail store. But they also have another, important target: the store employee. This research has a different set of rules when it involves the retail associate:
- You have a smaller sample base, but you will also have a higher response rate, since the engagement is typically more personal.
- Store employees take a survey like it is a part of their job. Because they do, you have more flexibility with what you ask (you can get more technical with them than the average consumer) and how much you ask (we recommend no more than 10 questions for a consumer survey. I would increase this to 15-20 for a retail associate survey).
- There may be more goals for this type of initiative that require a more targeted response (Thank goodness we can ask more questions, because we are going to need to).
I have done work like this before, but it’s been a while and I didn’t help with the building of the strategy from the ground up. So, I thought it would be fun to tell you about my most recent experience here and the most important question types I believe should be added to a retail survey to better assess your experiential marketing.
- Questions that establish current behavior in relation to your product – This would include questions that probe into whether or not they currently purchase the product you are responsible for promoting, and whether or not they recommend your product to consumers who come into the store. Exploration into why they purchase or recommend (or don’t) is beneficial because it helps define the educational barriers and opportunities the brand may have.
- Questions that establish their awareness with the brand – You will want to understand how familiar they are with your product and the perceptions they have of your brand.
- Questions that define the impact of the program on retail associates – How an engagement has potentially changed future behavior should be measured. This is what experiential marketing is about. Under this type of question I would recommend asking how the experience impacts big behavior, such as propensity to recommend and purchase the products themselves in the future. Additional exploration into what has driven their decision to change their behavior might be helpful here, too, as it will help you understand what it is about your program that works and doesn’t work.
- Questions that define the retail associate – In other words, demographic and psychographic profiles that define exactly who a retail associate is. You will want to gather information on their position and the length of time they have been with the company. You will want to measure if they are involved with the sale and distribution of your product in the store and if they have been incentivized. Last but not least, you will want to understand the level of exposure they have had with your program – if this their first time engaging your event, or their fourth of fifth.
Taking on a research endeavor that focuses on the retail store employee was a shift from the usual. It was fun to create a well-thought out strategy that was taken outside of one box to fit into another. If you are interested in tracking some sort of store associate impact at the retail locations of your experiential marketing, I highly recommend including these four types of questions.