The importance of measuring activations in terms of return on investment across all elements – growth in sales, growth in customer base, brand assimilation, brand affiliation and response to call to action – is vital.
Let me begin by stating a fact: If your activations agency has never provided a report that measures the success of a campaign, you as a marketer and as a brand ambassador are wasting your time. Yes, this may seem a little harsh, but what is an activations campaign, or any campaign for that matter, without a measurable and measured outcome?
It is important to consider what you expect from an activations campaign at the outset, and that you have partnered with the right activations agency that can successfully meet, and even surpass, these expectations and objectives. Do you want to achieve awareness, grow a loyal customer base, trial a new product or new variant or pack size thereof, or make hard sales? Knowing this is an excellent starting point, since it will define objectives, which in turn will define strategy.
For example, discounting and bundling to drive a short-term sales spike may be great as a once-off tactic, but if you want to change shopping habits and convert consumers, a different approach may be necessary – and your ROI horizon will look quite different.
The benefit of activations is that this type of marketing puts your product in danger of being sold. Which is exactly what a marketer wants. An activations campaign ensures that the product is visible to the right market in the right place and at the right time. However, this does not happen by magic – a very strategic, calculated campaign will ensure a successful outcome. An outcome that can be measured. And this is why there should be no activation campaign without a measurable and measured ROI – the two go hand in hand. The desired outcome should fuel the strategy and vice versa.
So if your activations agency does not have the know-how, capacity or technology to measure your activations campaigns, run! Find yourself an agency that is equipped with the infrastructure, skill level and knowledge to bring your brand the success that is deserves.
The benefit of measuring ROI in real-time
ROI (and ROO or Return on Objectives) should no longer be measured only when a campaign is over, but in real-time, while the campaign is being implemented. This allows for elements to be tweaked – be it to coincide with a specific event, to allow for better consumer engagement, to increase touchpoints or to tweak any other unforeseen variable within the campaign as a whole. We are all comfortable with the fact that digital campaigns can be altered in real time in order to better achieve objectives. Activations can, and should, be treated in the same manner. This puts the brand in a better position and at far greater risk of being sold, seen and engaged with. Which is exactly what we want.
With budget cuts and reallocation, marketing budgets have increasingly been placed under scrutiny, and rightly so because brands want to achieve the best outcome possible from their marketing campaigns. It seems even more urgent during economically tough times and brands want to be sure that the money they invest will generate profits.
And this is where activations stand the test of time and the test of economic downturns and pass with flying colours. If implemented correctly and strategically, activations can have real, tangible results. Excellent results, at that. These results can be achieved many times over with the right strategy and relevant response to consumer needs and purchasing habits.
An initial, once-off activations campaign can boost profits, launch a new product or grow brand love. But if you want to achieve long-term growth for your brand, with consistent results, a longer campaign is needed. Which brings me back to my initial question: what is activations without ROI? As every marketer worth their weight in salt knows, it is difficult to achieve consistent ROI or ROO without consistently being in the consumer’s face, or on one or many of their various screens or in their newspaper.
Unlike other marketing platforms, activations keep ROI and ROO buoyant by being in the consumer’s face and close to point of purchase. It is wise to remember that marketing is an investment rather than an expense, especially now when our economy is in turmoil, and that partnering with an agency that can take your brand activation to a world-class level will ensure that your brand not only successfully survives, but prospers.
Peter Kohlöffel is a seasoned sales and marketing professional with Provantage Media Group having headed up sales for its activations division, ProActiv, and is currently national sales manager of Golf Ads.