Building a Successful Experiential Marketing Campaign on a Budget

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For many businesses, the most significant disadvantage of an experiential marketing campaign is the price tag. Depending on the event you plan, the number of guests you invite, and the location you choose, the costs associated with your event can ring up to tens of thousands of dollars. Fortunately, I can fill you in on several ways to reduce your spending without sacrificing quality or results.

Get a head start on your experiential marketing campaign

It takes a lot of research and forethought to organize experiential marketing events on a tight budget. If you wait until the last minute, you are bound to find yourself throwing away money. Less time to prepare means less time to shop around for bargains, and ordering late means you will pay a premium.

Knowing your campaign’s intended audience, goals, and budget is essential. Before you begin to plan, set well-defined goals for your marketing event, research the demographic of your attendees, and know exactly how much money you have to spend. Failure to thoroughly understand any of these areas will cause your budget to balloon.

Stick to the budget you set for your experiential marketing event

When you set a budget for your experiential marketing campaign, leave a little wiggle room. After all, you know you are bound to encounter a few unexpected costs along the way.

Do everything you can to stay under budget. Before you spend more than you planned, take a hard look at your other options. If one thing costs more than expected, find an alternative solution or reduce expenditures in other areas. Don’t be afraid to haggle with suppliers, and remember, you have the final call on every purchase.

Improve your experiential marketing event without spending extra money

You already have several cost-free assets at your disposal that can greatly enhance your experiential marketing campaign. For starters, consider your own staff and how well they already know your company. They might even volunteer to help out.

Instead of starting from ground zero, make use of your existing customer base. Your previous connections and contacts can go a long way to help you spread the word about the upcoming event.

Next, consider the value of your brand name. When you use a trusted brand name in promotional materials or on social media, you see a dramatic boost in effectiveness.

As you promote your experiential marketing event, make the most of low-cost marketing tools, such as social media, apps, and your own website. You can use these to reach out to prospective customers, build interest in your event, and send out discounts associated with the campaign.

Finally, as you design and plan your experiential marketing event, look for easy strategies to improve engagement that cost very little money. For example, flashy decorations can be distracting in a small booth. Often, a clutter-free table and vibrant colors can be even more visually appealing. While celebrity guests can be a draw, attendees often have the best time at booths with low-cost but engaging brand ambassadors and exciting games.

Save money by teaming up with an event marketing agency

Believe it or not, one of the best ways to keep costs down on experiential marketing campaigns is by hiring an event marketing agency. These professionals are often worthy of a spot in your budget. The 2023 Event Marketing Agencies Pricing Guide reveals that the cost of booking an event marketing agency ranges between $100 and $149 per hour.

Despite the initial investment, event marketing agencies tend to save brands money. A knowledgeable firm can manage all aspects of your experiential marketing campaign, from initial planning to finding cost-effective solutions throughout the entire process. The firm can obtain permits, hire vendors, book venues, promote the event before and after on social media, set up, and tear down.

These firms not only have the experience to provide advice on how to conduct a successful campaign, but also have the connections to secure real savings for their clients. They can often obtain substantial discounts or even free products and services from their suppliers in exchange for future services.

Effective experiential marketing does not need to put brands in the red. You will get the most out of your marketing campaign and increase your brand awareness if you start preparing ahead of time, establish a reasonable budget, stick to the amount you allotted for yourself, make the most of what you have at your disposal, and work with a savvy agency.

Ray is the Founder of Old City Media, a national marketing agency helping brands connect with target demographics through experiential marketing at a fraction of the cost.