5 ways to create events that encourage customer loyalty
Mon Jul 16 2018
Do you know how to give your customers goosebumps?
It might seem like an odd question, but research shows that seven in 10 Brits think goosebumps are a marker of great live entertainment 1.
And according to the latest Barclaycard consumer spend report, 22% of Brits plan to spend more on experiences this summer like live entertainment, compared to last. Just over a third of people (35%) intend to spend on tickets to live events such as festivals, and 20% said major sports events will probably mean they go to the pub more often than usual 2.
So if you’re in the business of food and drink, retail, or any other customer-facing business, some know-how about experiential marketing could be key to getting your share of that ‘experience economy’ trend spend. After all, it’s no longer enough to just give customers a pie at the football, or shelves full of products in a store. People want more and they’re willing to pay for it.
Barclaycard has been creating exclusive customer experiences for over five years at events such as Barclaycard presents British Summer Time Hyde Park - one of the UK’s first fully contactless festivals. Adam Lee, Experiential Marketing & Partnerships Manager at Barclaycard, shares his top tips on giving customers those all-important goosebumps.
What is experiential marketing?
Experiential marketing is all about creating emotional connections between brands and consumers to help build loyalty. This is achieved by immersing consumers in fun, memorable, goosebump-inducing experiences.
1. Be clear on what's in it for everyone
“At Barclaycard, like in every business, any event or experience we plan has to be in line with the business’ commercial aspirations, too. It’s not enough to just create fun experiences. They have to have a commercial reason behind them.
“But it’s equally important to keep the focus on your customers. I write down both messages – business and consumer – at the start and make sure I regularly check that we haven’t veered off track.”
In the latest BrandBite podcast, Fran Derry, board director at Iris Culture, Barclaycard’s experiential agency partner, adds: “It’s really important to create an experience that’s right for the festival and right for the brand. It sounds obvious but it’s easy to get carried away and forget about one or the other.
“Every pound that’s spent on site on something experiential must speak to the bigger brand proposition.”
2. Do your research and ask your customers
“While it’s important to think about what you expect and want as a consumer, it’s also critical to know that everyone’s different. Your customers might think in a totally different way to you, so it’s best to ask them directly what they want from you, not assume you already know.
“You don’t have to have a massive budget to do decent research. If you see your customers face-to-face, maybe just draft a very short questionnaire for them to fill in. If you’re an online business, do the same via email. And it’s easy to turn a questionnaire into a great experience, just offer a discount or entry into a prize draw for anyone who completes it.”
For smaller companies, asking customers questions might not be too time-consuming. But for larger companies with thousands of customers, using data around customer experiences is probably a more effective use of time.
Chris Marking, vice president of global partnerships at AEG, advises businesses to keep things authentic and credible if they want to create successful experiences for consumers.
“Don’t try and make your brand something it isn’t. Make it authentic. Just make it part of the experience; enhance the experience. If partners at live events like Barclaycard presents British Summer Time festival don’t add to the experience, then they’re detracting from it.”
3. Realise the wider potential of experiential marketing
“A well-planned, well-executed event can do much more than make customers happy. It has the potential to make people feel like a part of your brand, to be invested in and loyal to everything you stand for. By making people feel like that, you can encourage repeat purchasing and keep customers for life.”
“The potential of experiential marketing is massive. Hosting the right event can give you opportunities to:
Generate content for your website, newsletter, customer communications and social media channels
Secure press coverage
“All this leads to awareness of your brand, more customers reached and possibly more revenue.”
4. Test the waters to make sure efforts pay off
“Nothing’s done ‘til it’s done. Or to be less cryptic, creating a customer experience or planning an event and seeing it through to the end isn’t the end. It’s critical to test your ideas before (maybe a pre-event pilot), during (at the event) and after (did it work?).
“And don’t be afraid to make changes even when the wheels of your event are in motion. As long as you know what’s achievable in terms of timescales and budget, it’s important to be brave and pull the plug on things that aren’t working, or put extra budget into things you know will work.”
5. Innovate but keep things simple
“It’s so easy to overcomplicate the customer experience by adding extra steps that become hurdles to people engaging with your brand. For example, it can be a great idea to create an app – for your business it can mean access to customer insights and data (assuming the customer consents for you to collect this, of course), for your customer it might mean an easier way to shop or pay.
“Innovating in this way can be critical to moving with your customer demands, but you have to make sure there’s a commercial reason and something in it for consumers. After all, a lot of people are wise to apps being used for data collection now.
“In other words, make sure your app (or other payment innovation) works for the customer – offer loyalty points, discounts and exclusive content for people who sign up and pay via the app. And provide features that make things easier. For example, if you’re a restaurateur, make paying for the meal easier such as splitting the bill. Ensure it’s not just an extra step that becomes a hindrance not a helpful experience.”
Five years of Barclaycard activations at BST Hyde Park
Barclaycard Unwind – 345,000 people attended the festival
Barclaycard Better View – 300,000 festivalgoers
‘Barclaycard, thank you so much for my #betterview experience, all the staff were so wonderful and I had an amazing time! Great experience!! 3
Barclaycard Better View and Perk Park – 330,000 festivalgoers
‘Gave a view of London that we would normally not be able to experience, add to that it was a free perk for being a Barclaycard customer was pretty unbelievable’ 4
The Great Music Showdown – 380,000 festivalgoers
‘OMG! What an amazing day and night. Florence absolutely rocked Hyde Park and watching her perform “You’ve got the Love” from Barclaycard Better View was just fantastic’ 5
Barclaycard Playground – 450,000+ festivalgoers
Check out the Barclaycard stage dive experience from Barclaycard presents British Summer Festival 2018 in Hyde Park, London
1 A nationally representative survey of 2,000 British adults conducted by One Poll between 27th June - 2nd July 2018.
2 https://www.home.barclaycard/media-centre/press-releases/Consumer-spending-rises-5-point-1-per-cent-in-May.html (June 2018)
3 Customer review on Twitter
4 Customer feedback at the event
5 Customer feedback from Barclaycard presents British Summer Time Festival, Hyde Park, 2016