Years ago the customer engagement process was less complex and the customer was less bombarded by marketing communications. In comes shopping malls, mobile phones, social media and the customer engagement process has changed. Consumers are constantly filtering the marketing communication they receive in a bid to either ignore or take action.
This is why market activations are important since they go the extra step in delivering customer engagement.
With brands competing for the customer’s attention, today we see little differentiation in activation elements. The solution is therefore for marketers to ensure their activations are working harder, smarter and achieving more.
To conduct a successful activation you need to consider the following:
What is the big idea you want to convey through this activation? Most of the time this is normally decided during the company’s strategy session and that is why you will have statements like Strongest Washing Powder, Fastest Internet, One Stop Shop. The importance of identifying the big idea before starting the activation is because it not only does guides on what you can do, but also helps you know what you can’t do.
The activation mechanics should be designed to validate the big idea. If the big idea is to demonstrate a detergent that removes stubborn stains then a live demonstration of the detergent at work would make more sense than a flash mob dance at a busy bus station.
Activations can’t be targeted at everyone. A clearly defined target market is important because the activation mechanics should vary depending on the target market. Age, gender, point of passion, temperaments, income levels and spending habits form part of the profiling criteria.
“To increase market share” is not good enough for a market activation business objective. The business objective should be clear and measurable. Defining the marketing objective makes it easier to settle on the ideal scope and duration for the activation which has an effect on the budget. A good business objective should read something like “To conduct 100,000 wet samples in emerging chains within two months”.
Market activations are tactical in nature and therefore should run for a pre-determined duration with an option for extension depending on market conditions. Considering the “shock and awe” element that comes with most activations, it is difficult to keep the market in that state all year round. This is also driven by the fact that the wave that it was riding on could change and hence the need to respond.
Customers are busy and to have an effect with your activation you need to capture their attention and keep it long enough to pass your message. While this partly explains the presence of beautiful women distributing fliers and inviting people to try out a product, whatever activation mechanic you settle for, you must deliver some positive disruption to guarantee successful customer engagement.
Market activation has been defined as the art of driving consumer action through brand interaction. An activation can’t be said to have succeeded if the target consumer did not take action after interacting with the brand. Ultimately activations are meant to grow sales; did your campaign achieve this? If not, the solution lies in one of the seven elements described above.
There you have it. These are the basic tenets of successful activation campaigns. They are straightforward, yet require a lot of thinking, careful planning and thorough execution. Now you have no excuse to run a lacklustre campaign.