This is the time of year where I feel imposter syndrome the most.
Activations are all running smoothly, clients are in their budgeting/planning phases, and President Steve starts looking towards next year. Which is great, except now my department (Internal Marketing) is out in the open and needs to justify its efforts.
We’re a marketing company, so of course we believe in marketing, yeah? But here’s the thing…and if you’re in my seat, you feel this with nearly every article you read:
It’s difficult to market experiential marketing.
The vast, vast majority of marketing articles are aimed at people with physical, saleable offerings. Also articles about writing articles. And articles about selling your expertise to other marketers who are trying to get better at marketing. And articles sponsored by apps that help you talk to prospects once you have them ready to roll.
There’s a lot of media around successful experiential campaigns and cool stuff that brands are doing…but not a ton of resources for the experiential marketing marketer. And there is a specific melange of challenges that we face.
The sales cycle is long. The personae are busy and constantly getting sold at. In comparison with getting a website or some written copy, the offering can be pricey. The relatively small number of experiential agencies means that we are often in direct competition with one another, which often makes it difficult or impossible to combine forces to create a better package.
Case studies and testimonials help. We do great work that we stand behind. We generate results for our clients, and make the brand people at their respective organizations look like rock stars. In turn, our clients write rave reviews that we can share with other prospects. So we’ve got that going for us, which is nice. All we need is that foot in the door and our services and experience sell themselves.
But how do we get the decision-makers to raise their hands?
Breaking it down, we have to catch the right decision maker at the right time in their organization’s budgeting and planning (for the year or for a specific initiative) with the right message that communicates effectively the value that is inherent in experiential marketing as well as the specific benefits of choosing to do experiential marketing with us.
So how do we do it?
Go ahead…I’m asking.
Nothing? Gah! You’re no help at all.
Well, here’s how we do it:
ALL THE THINGS!
- Website: We’d be ridiculous to not have a website that showcases our work and gives ample opportunities to get in touch with us.
- Blog: We have a regularly updated blog that talks about things that we offer, developments in our industry, the benefits of experiential marketing, marketing in general, and goings-on in our company.
- Social media channels: We manage our online footprints on Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube, Twitter, and Instagram.
- Newsletters: We keep our subscribers informed and keep our brand top-of-mind with regular, useful email newsletters.
- Inbound: We launch email campaigns every two months aimed at decision makers in specific verticals that we’re interested in.
- Search Engine Marketing: We have to be found when people are looking for us. Showing up in the SERPs is vital (this is my least favorite part of marketing, because it’s talking to machines, not people…but that doesn’t mean that I can ignore it).
All of this is in service of getting the right people to raise their hands at the right time…so that we have the luxury of picking and choosing the ten clients that we want to be working with at any given time.
Our business model is such that we only need a handful of new clients each year. Our ROI and standards of service ensure that new clients become recurring clients. And the nature of experiential marketing ensures that more and more brands are awake and receptive to diving in every year.
We just need to make sure, like every other marketer in the world, that we’re at the top of their mind when they’re ready to raise their hands.
So hopefully, year after year, when the leaves begin to change and when cinnamon and clove scents begin to fill the air again, I don’t feel like an imposter.