Kitty Hart: The ROI of Experiential Marketing on CMO Convo Podcast

Heroic Productions’ own VP of Client Brand Experience, Kitty Hart, had the opportunity to go on CMO Convo podcast to discuss a couple of important topics: what is experiential marketing, and where is the ROI? 

Experiential Marketing? Tell Me More!

Kitty has an infectious passion for experiential marketing. Having navigated the twists and turns of sales and marketing throughout her career, she totally gets why these topics are big deals. 

According to her definition, experiential marketing is all about, “events, experiences, and interactions that will create a lasting emotional connection between a brand and its audience.” 

As part of the conversation, host Will Whitman asked, “what about the future of experiential marketing?” Well, it is taking a digital detour. Yep, you heard it right – experiences are no longer confined to the in-person realm, all thanks to our good friend, technology.

The Thrilling Rewards of Experiential Marketing

But let’s talk about the benefits, shall we? The benefit of an experiential marketing experience is different for a B2B business versus B2C business. In B2C experiences, like a State Fair for example, the path to purchase is instant. The mouthwatering scent of Sweet Martha’s Cookies draws people to their stand, forking over $$ for an immediate exchange of sweetness. B2B, on the other hand, takes a bit of a scenic route. It’s about leaving a brand impression and creating a connection, and, well, exercising a bit of patience. The path to purchase takes a little longer but sales will be realized following a variety of meaningful touchpoints. Good things take time, right?

The Secret Sauce

What’s the secret sauce? Being different and unique. Kitty’s insight? “Audience expectations become more and more challenging over time. It becomes harder to surprise and delight people.” So, aim for that memorable impression that has them itching to tell someone what they heard, saw, and felt at your event. 

Social media is your sidekick in this adventure, and it has tremendous value. Sharing from your event and creating some buzz with things like event hashtags go a long way.

Don’t let any of this scare you! It turns out, experiential marketing events don’t have to break the bank. Take Kitty’s Uber example where the top 12 Uber users were invited to an event thrown by Uber in a giant bus with a celebrity chef. Not your typical Thursday, right? But the social impressions? Off the charts! Intimate, effective, and budget-friendly. Put the right people in the right room and your experience can have a huge impact.

Everyone’s Favorite Measurement: ROI

In regards to measuring ROI for an experiential marketing event, there is no textbook answer. Each company must decide for themselves what is meaningful for them to measure. Surveys and social buzz are a great way to gain insight. Start with a simple question: “What challenge are we trying to solve here?” Are you launching a new product? Are sales slacking? There are many reasons to throw an experiential marketing event. Your goals should be the Sherlock Holmes to your marketing mystery.

Here’s a tip: Gather the troops – sales, marketing, executive leadership, CMO – everyone’s invited to the table. Teamwork makes the dream work, after all.

Kitty also drops some wisdom on the importance of corporate events and investing in your work fam, which is a lot of the work Heroic does. She brings up a favorite quote of hers, “CFO to CEO: What happens if we invest in developing our people and they leave us? CEO to CFO: What happens if we don’t and they stay?” Mic drop moment, right?

Now, brace yourselves for the future of experiential marketing. Tracking and facial recognition software are the cool kids on the block. The Mall of America’s been using tracking software for a while to map out the customer journey. A lot of companies are investing a lot on making their own apps. They’re like data superheroes. Gamification is also stealing the show – who doesn’t love a game on their phone for some freebies? Will Whitman, adds that he loves a good QR code! Thanks COVID for the comeback!

Surprise & Delight!

Let’s make waves in the experiential marketing ocean! Whether you’re planning a B2B soirée or a B2C extravaganza, remember Kitty’s golden rule: know the challenge you’re tackling and keep asking the question, “why are we doing this?”. Let’s keep surprising, delighting, and creating experiences that not only leave a mark but also have everyone shouting, “Encore, encore!” 

To speak with the experiential marketing maven herself, contact Kitty Hart.

Curious to dive deeper into the world of experiential marketing? Check out our resources page.