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In the second of our ‘Measuring the Unmeasurable,’ articles we look at experiential marketing and the changes that are happening in the industry, driven by EffWorks partners the IPM, to better measure its effectiveness. The IPM launched a new measurement tool at EffWeek 2018.

Very much like Andrew Canter at the BCMA, Paul Cope, Managing Director of the IPM is determined to overturn people’s preconceived notions about measuring the effectiveness of a growing marketing medium.

“One of the things that stood out when I joined the IPM last year, was the work they had already been doing around experiential,” he says. With over 20 years of experience in promotional marketing, he was familiar with the barriers to proper measurement and keen to tackle them. The IPM’s Experiential Council, chaired by Jess Hargreaves, MD of agency PrettyGreen, had already set out a number of ambitions back in 2015. One of which was improving the measurement of the impact of experiential executions.

Paul Cop of the IPM and Jessica Hargreaves of Pretty Green

Both Paul and Jessica are unequivocal that experiential is by no means ‘unmeasurable’. “Often I think there’s just a laziness about it,” says Paul. “It gets left out of the measurement strategy, perhaps because it is a relatively new and growing marketing medium. It may take up a small part of the overall budget and therefore not seem significant enough to bother with. Or people just aren’t quite sure how to go about measuring it in comparison to other media.”

“Brands were starting to put more and money into experiential but weren’t prepared to invest any budget in measuring it.”

Jessica faced a number of similar barriers working in the industry. “Working with big brands, I became frustrated at how much more defined and believable their marketing measurement was in comparison to the experiential arena,” she says. “I think the only place I saw a really concerted attempt to measure experiential was in the drinks industry. Diageo, in particular, had a sophisticated model which attempted to measure the impact of experiential on ROI and advocacy. But this was only true of certain brands. In many cases, others were starting to put more and money into experiential but weren’t prepared to invest any budget in measuring it.”

Like many experiential agencies at the time, PrettyGreen put together their own model for measurement. “In the industry, everyone was doing it their own way,” says Jessica. “So one of the aims of working on this with the IPM was to bring people together and agree on a way of doing things. The industry needed an independent, central body that could deliver a framework, free of any bias.”

The IPM already ran a course on measuring experiential marketing, which used methodologies from proven sources such as IPSOS Mori and NPS scoring. “The model was there, we just needed to get it in a form that the industry could use,” says Jess. To that end, the IPM is working with independent research partners Red Route. The IPM Experiential Council agencies, including Imagination, Wasserman, TRO, Circle, & Haygarth have been involved in developing and testing this measurement tool. They have produced a framework for measurement and on 10 October they launched the Experiential Measurement Tool, a database with over 50 case studies.

“Our ambition is to encourage agencies to adapt their own measurement practices to fit an industry standard.”

“The aim of the database is to create benchmarks for success, that the whole industry can apply,” says Paul Cope. “Our ambition is to significantly build the number of case studies over the next year, and to encourage member agencies to adapt their own measurement practices to fit an industry standard.”

The new framework moves away from some of the classic efficiency metrics around experiential, such as ‘cost per contact’ and ‘cost per reach’. It creates a template for measuring brand affinity and reach, pre-,  during, and post-event. It also measures Net Promoter Score after the event and takes into account what the IPM are calling the RAAVE score propensity to purchase, based on five measures: relevancy, association, accessibility, value and expectation. Considering all of this gives brands a robust measure of the impact of their experiential and sampling activities. As well as unifying the industry around this measurement standard, the aim is also to convince clients of the value of measuring experiential. “It’s often just one part of a much larger campaign budget,” says Jessica, “so when you add in a budget for measurement that can be a barrier for clients. They feel they can’t justify it.” The IPM’s campaign has a lot of support from both member agencies, who are directly supporting it, and clients who invest a lot in experiential, such as Sky.

“We haven’t gone out and created something completely new,  it will fit in neatly with other measurement frameworks”

In the long-term, Paul and Jessica would like to see the database develop into an interactive tool that members can use to help plan their experiential campaigns. It will allow them to find out customised benchmarks for investment, and the return they should expect from that investment. “This will benefit everyone,” says Jessica. “We haven’t gone out and created something completely new. It is based on proven methodologies so it will fit in neatly with other measurement frameworks, like the AMEC Barcelona principles. We’re keen to work with other organisations in the industry to make sure our model is truly integrated and remains so.”

Explore more resources and articles on marketing measurement strategy.

“Just what the industry needs, great collaboration between clients and agencies on the topics that drive business growth.”

Bridget Angear, Joint Chief Strategy Officer at AMV BBDO

“It’s great to see the IPA in the UK bring the whole industry and particularly the trade bodies together to focus on effectiveness. This new Marketing Effectiveness initiative will enable people across the industry to work together to build on best practice.”

David Wheldon, Chief Marketing Officer, RBS

“Effectiveness is a team sport, so it was great to see the industry in the widest sense, come together. In an increasingly diverse and fragmented world, only by using all parts of the brain will we solve effectiveness challenges and design our campaigns to deliver short and long term value. That’s why what happens next is important – if the IPA can help facilitate progress on this with a long-term initiative around Marketing Effectiveness, we’ll definitely crack it.”

Bart Michels, Global CEO Kantar Added Value and Country Leader Kantar UK

“The time spent at #EffWeek was extraordinarily effective. It was great to hear the diverse views from all areas of the industry. All tied together with the common themes of accountability and effectiveness.”

Andrew Canter, Global CEO, BCMA

“It has been a privilege to be part of the inaugural Effectiveness Week. The agenda is one which we at O2 UK feel passionately about. To see and hear perspectives across the industry demonstrates how the breadth of marketing effectiveness is increasingly being valued within businesses. Data, insight, social, customer experience, test and learn, ROI, these are all fundamentals and were covered expansively at the event”.

Sandra Fazackerley, Marketing & Consumer, Telefónica UK Limited

“The full week of effectiveness events brought into clear focus the need for marketers to use data and insight to achieve the key business objectives of growth and profits. Marketers today are in a better position to quantify their knowledge of customers and measure the ability of investments in marketing to increase brand and shareholder value.”

Chris Combemale, Group CEO, DMA