With the events industry turned upside down and large gatherings banned, the world of experiential marketing has had a rough few months, to say the least.
However, now that the COVID environment has started to become very normal for our day-to-day living and we have a much better understanding of how it impacts daily activities, we can slowly start to resume face-to-face marketing in alternative ways.
Now more than ever, it’s important for brands to stay relevant and top of mind for their consumers. That’s why we’ve compiled the below list of how brands can still engage their customers through experiences and non-traditional forms of marketing during the next 6-12 months. It goes without saying that everything would need to be compliant with the COVID-safe practices we outlined in our previous article.
Shopping Centre Pop-Ups & Roaming
Shopping centre foot traffic is strong and according to the Stockland & Lendlease centres we have been in contact with over the last few weeks, foot traffic numbers are fairly similar in comparison to last year. It does depend on the area and while some centres are recording slight reductions, some are also showing an increase. So brands that have their target market within shopping centres should be taking advantage of these numbers and getting their brand out there.
Insider tip: Because of the current hesitation in booking pop-ups, many centres are being very flexible with their pricing to ensure they get a full house of pop-ups locked in for Christmas. You might be able to snag a bargain just by asking for a reduction in your site cost.
According to Opinion Research Corporation, 81% of consumers are more likely to try a product after receiving a free sample. This is a huge statistic and shows the importance of how a sampling campaign can have a direct effect on increasing sales.
Unfortunately, because large gatherings are banned in most states of Australia currently, we can’t do mass sampling campaigns that target crowds. However, there’s nothing stopping brands from doing mini-sampling campaigns across multiple cities or areas. As mentioned above, there’s still foot traffic within shopping centres and there are also still public areas that will be busy enough to sample too. These include beaches, popular parks, coastal walks and public transport hubs.
Doing a mini-sampling campaign means a brand will reach fewer consumers than pre-COVID but the ROI will be relative to the costs of executing the campaign since the levels of stock and staffing requirements will be lower.
Insider tip: Because of COVID, unfortunately, it is not safe to do open food sampling but any food or beverage that is packaged can become contactless sampling.
Corporate Business Events
The Australian Government has announced it will provide $50 million to create the Business Events Grants program which will support business events by providing grants to meet up to 50 per cent of costs incurred in participating at a pre-approved business-to-business event in Australia during 2021. Companies who are usually involved in these types of events should keep a close eye on the Aus Trade site here as more details about event staff in Brisbane are to be announced soon.
Specialist Deliveries for Influencer Drops
Digital 2020: July Global Statshot Report shows that in the last 3 months, Instagram added 111 million new users and LinkedIn added more than 25 million. And while global advertising spending will fall in 2020 by 8.1% due to COVID, social media spend is expected to increase by 9.3%! So while many brands have steered away from their usual forms of marketing, some are turning to or increasing their spending on digital marketing options such as influencers. Influencers are reporting a 36% increase in impressions and engagement on their Facebook and Instagram pages since the start of COVID*.
Executing a mass influencer campaign can require a lot of leg work in regard to getting the product into the hands of those influencers. Black Diamond has noticed consistent requests coming through from brands that need specialist deliveries to assist with this. It’s either because of postage delays, usual courier options or delivery services not being available or needing a full account management service.
An example is a recent campaign we did for YoPRO through Lampoon Group. While using influencers is not a new strategy for YoPRO, when Woolworths online deliveries were halted during early COVID, they needed an alternative so they could continue their influencer marketing. Here they engaged Black Diamond to help schedule 50 deliveries across Australia and then use our brand ambassadors to get their products into the hands of their athletes and ambassadors.
These types of campaigns that have a social media or digital marketing element to them are also gaining traction during COVID. For example, a brand that wants its product in the hands of PR agencies, radio stations, media personalities and digital magazine editors can utilise a team of staff to carry out specialist deliveries. Depending on what the product is and the element behind how it is delivered to recipients, it can create online buzz and some really great PR for the brand.
The above are just a few examples of the ways brands can get in front of their consumers through experiential marketing even while large gatherings are banned. Staffing agencies, such as Black Diamond, can leverage your brand by utilising our experience and team of national brand ambassadors to execute your next marketing campaign, no matter what it involves or how many moving parts it has!
COVID will keep us on our toes but as long as brands aren’t hesitating on their marketing strategies and are open to change and new ideas, they can continue to stay relevant.