Are Mobile Tours the best step back to experiential marketing?
For many marketers, the COVID-19 pandemic seemed like the death of experiential marketing. Once seen as an integral part of any media plan, the sudden inability for people to be out in the world forced the cancellation of most events, activations, and other experiential campaigns. Media spends were allocated to digital advertising and branded content, and eventually, many forms of virtual event marketing took shape. Now, as most States around the country are starting to reopen brands and marketers are strategizing their return to experiential.
Based on a recent increase in RFPs from clients, it appears Mobile Tours might be the best first step, and here is why...
Control your environment
One of the first requirements of any event is selecting the right venue. A Mobile Tour gives you the ability to create a venue wherever best suits your need. Your venue could be as simple as a branded backpack, pop-up tent, or vehicle, but you can adapt and scale according to your budget and goals. Additionally, having a mobile set-up can eliminate pressure that often comes through the permitting process...although we still recommend working with authorities to ensure you are not in violation of any policies.
Curate your own experience
Mobile tours are often associated with sampling, as one of the best ways to get products directly into the hands of the consumer, but they don't need to stop there. The experience can be used to share your values and add to the consumer's daily life when they least expect it. Some of our favorite examples of this are the Timberland Truck Tour where NRG distributed more than 10,000 live plants and 5,000 tree planting kits to demonstrate the brand's commitment to the environment. With The North Face, NRG launched a social fitness program for outdoor enthusiasts, which traveled throughout five major markets.
Go to the consumer
Especially when mass gatherings are still scarce, mobile tours allow you to go to where your consumers naturally gravitate. Be it the beach, a trailhead, college campus, or an influencer's home, you can go to them. Aligning product purpose and value with the right moments for sampling the product is key to success.
Cater to different audiences
Most brands cater to a variety of consumer personas, but it's hard to be all things to all people in one event. Mobile Tours allow you to think about the consumers you are targeting at each stop of the tour. As such, you can design the message and experience to provide the best value proposition for each group. Maybe both college students and professionals are target groups for your brand, but their use cases aren't the same. The 2K Foundations initiative, for instance, engages communities by providing underserved youth with opportunities for education to play and learn. By connecting with the need of select groups we can build a robust program which inspires the community at large.
Overcome virtual product fatigue
Technology has enabled marketers to bring brand experiences and products to people in new digital ways. Over the last several months a host of free-product trials and virtual experiences have flooded the internet. But let's face it, an emoji is not as satisfying as a hug. A makeup matching quiz is not as convincing as actually trying it on, and branded content does not quench your thirst like the real thing. People are ready for reality. One of the best ways to stand out today is through an "in real life" experience.
New opportunities for safe interactions
As we transition out of the pandemic some changes will fade and some will stay forever. Perhaps one of those lasting changes is new attention to cleanliness and sanitization. Fortunately, the pandemic has forced the adoption of many practices which can make mobile marketing experiences safer and more effective. People are generally more comfortable with QR codes and completing forms on their phones. This can be immensely helpful with data acquisition or coupon programs. On the safety side, social distancing and use of hand sanitizer can be more easily encouraged guaranteeing a healthy sampling experience.