In marketing “engagement” is one of the things all good marketers strive to attain for the brands they work for or clients they serve, whether it is in a trade show booth, a kiosk display, or an event. And the newest kid on the block, known as experiential marketing, requires it to succeed.

What good is experiential marketing if the experience is not engaging in a memorable way?

As we are all very much aware, in this day and age, our attention span is shorter due to everything vying for it. From our phones, tablets, TV and, yes, even good ole print media, meaningful engagement has become more challenging to attain.

Even though marketers continue to discover, create and utilize new methods of engagement by tracking our activity so we are presented with “relevant” content and ads, even then, they get mere seconds to make that connection and engage.

So, what can be done to up the ROI and get that meaningful engagement you seek?

Well, for one we can avoid the “Seven Deadly Sins of Engagement”!

Sin #1   It Is the Same Old Thing Presented In A “New” Way

We are a bit surprised when companies or agencies simply try to polish up the “old” and serve it up as “new”. Take trade shows as an example. We have observed that the basic design and layout of trade show floors are pretty much the same as in the 80’s. They are set up in a grid-like pattern, with very little imagination and left up to the individual companies to work within this confining design to create something that will engage the audience. We feel it is high time that trade show producers begin to put more creative thought into this aspect of the trade show experience.

Of course, the space itself can create some challenges, the show wants to produce the maximum amount of available spaces to offer and traffic flow is also a consideration but don’t you think it is high time that we got away from the same design and got more creative?

And even if, nothing is done with the layout, what if you could maximize your space and have something no one else can?

Sin #2   It is not Interactive

So, you got all the latest digital screens and cool graphics and all that is done with it is you run a video loop. Or you got the magician, spin the wheel or “god forbid” putting green, which are attention getters and an activity but they have little to do with having your audience be “interactive” in a way that delivers your message and engages them in a way that is relevant to them and your brand.

What if you could do it in such a way that they will talk about what they experienced for years to come? This something you control or have a direct influence over, so what are some new ideas that you can think of?

Sin #3   It is not Memorable

And speaking of memorable, when was the last time you got feedback months later that what they experienced was “once in a lifetime” or perhaps “life changing”?

We have found that all too often people do not recall much of anything about the experiences they had from day to day because there was nothing truly memorable about the experience.

Of course, unless they connected with a great person who “engaged” them in a memorable way.

But, why put all that pressure on the team manning the booth? Why leave it to chance? Does everyone on the team have the capability?

It  can be done in such a way that they can do what they do best and be supported by something so memorable, so engaging, so much fun that when the team reaches out to connect with the leads they got from it, people will instantly recall the experience. Ae your events or booths able to do that now?

Sin #4   There is a Disconnect Between the Activity and Your Message

Let’s go back to some of the more typical ways we look to engage people. Big screens running a video loop, “ambassadors” or “barkers” calling people over, games where you can win a prize; and the list goes on. Heck, you could even hire a marching band but what does that have to do with your message?

Again, most are not truly interactive in a way that delivers your message. And even though a video can, how boring would it be to simply watch a video loop?

If you are engaged by a magician, where does your message come in? If “ambassadors” are simply attracting people to your booth, there is another lost opportunity to deliver your message.

What if you could attract, engage and deliver the message all through one thing? Wouldn’t that be the holy “triumvirate”? How would that increase your ROI?

Sin #5   It Does Not Create Curiosity

What truly makes us curious and causes us to draw in? The reason for this question is when we are in that “state of curiosity”, we are more open to suggestion, information, and ideas. We actually want to hear what is being said and will engage more fully in the experience.

So, what can connect us to our natural childlike state of curiosity?

Certain vibrant colors? Yes. Lighting? Sure. The design? Yep! Pictures, video, and audio? Yes, yes and yes. Those things are all contributing factors.

Now ask yourself, what are some things that Disney, Warner Brothers, Sea World, museums, and zoos do that create that level of curiosity in both adults and kids? There you will discover the “secret sauce”.

Sin #6   It Is Boring/Irrelevant

There is nothing worse than when an event or activity within a booth that is supposed to be “engaging” misses the mark. If it doesn’t hold your attention and make you want more, people get bored fairly quick. If it has nothing to do with the product or service they came to your booth for, it is irrelevant and soon forgotten. And if the activity does not contribute to the brand’s overall message, then it fails to serve the higher purpose that you spent so much time, effort and money to bring it to life.

A key thing to keep in mind here is to structure the activity in such a way so that it engages the participants in such a way that they get your message, it peaks their curiosity and makes them feel special because it speaks to them, their wants and needs, their afflictions and aspirations.

And what we have seen in many of these activities that are supposed to engage the audience, actually detract from and lessen the effect of the experience.

Sin #7   It Is Not Unique/Innovative

The bane of just about all producers existence is coming up with or creating something unique and innovative that will truly engage their target audience in a memorable way and yet this is exactly what they expect. “Wow” me or lose me!

And so, just about everyone is looking for the next great thing, also known as the “shiny object” syndrome. People want the latest and greatest for their event or booth because the public demands it. Yet just having the “unique” and “innovative” things could be more a detriment than a help, if it is not integrated seamlessly into the overall scheme.

Several highly critical things can derail the best of intentions and turn the “unique and innovative” things into a nightmare. Careful planning and perfect execution are a must, as well as, contingencies should things go awry.

Teaming up with people who have the knowledge, experience, and wisdom will go a long way to ensuring that the implementation of those “new and innovative” things, goes smoothly, saving time, money and sleepless nights.

There you have it! “The Seven Deadly Sins of Engagement” and things to consider to avoid them. We hope this was informative and thought provoking.

So, One way to avoid the “Seven Deadly Sins” is to incorporate live animation avatars into your “experiential marketing” offerings, creating maximum success for your clients? Are you ready to learn more?

CHOPS & Associates has been the “wow” factor in enhancing experiential marketing for small and large brands for over two decades. We have the experience, creativity, and resources to make your clients’ events or trade show booths meet or exceed all its goals.

Contact us now to learn how we can help you more effectively engage your audience in a unique and memorable way!

harry.shade@chops.com