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Level Up Your Approach to Finding Consumer Insights with Event Marketing

Nicole D'Alessio - Associate Director, Research

Picture this — you’re gearing up to expand a new brand and decide to follow the same old market testing plan you’ve used in the past without issue. Your qualitative approach looks great on paper. It’s designed to elicit category context, brand perceptions and product trial reactions. You’ve even realized efficiencies by drawing from panelists right near your HQ.

Then, during fielding, something feels off. Your brand stimulus is too abstract for consumers. Respondents can’t find the product on-shelf, so sampling turns into a logistical trainwreck. Participants that were convenient to recruit far from match your intended target.

You’re not alone. 9Rooftops was recently approached by a client trying to launch national distribution for its brand while up against these same challenges. While the client had planned for an experiential marketing sampling activation in its core market, they had limited consumer insights to support scaling into new markets. With the planned activation approaching, we recognized that we had the perfect opportunity to create an event equally designed to meet event marketing product sampling needs as it was to elicit consumer insights necessary to fuel brand growth. 9Rooftops’ Market Research and Experiential Marketing teams partnered to strike the balance between motivating attendance, event engagement and organic feedback. Our approach netted insights to support all brand planning and launch efforts in a fraction of the time required for traditional research.

Here are the fascinating results of our Experiential Marketing and Market Research teams’ discoveries:

  • Designed the event to appeal to the target without sacrificing the depth or breadth of insight generated. Focusing on balancing research and the event experience led us to collecting feedback via brief, engaging and low-effort surveys before, during and after the event.
    • The event itself can be the incentive. If you’ve designed an event marketing program that gets the target audience excited to attend, you’ve already won them over. Giveaways are great but may not be necessary given an engaging and exclusive experience.
    • The immersive brand experience guaranteed product sampling and elicited clear, deep insights related to:
      • Target audience’s core motivations, values and category engagement.
      • Perceptions and personification of our client’s brand, its competitive context and purchase barriers and drivers.
      • Product evaluation, including satisfaction, perceived uniqueness, associations and occasion fit by individual SKU.
  • Invited the target audience to attend the event marketing program through social media ads that led them through a custom, streamlined screening and registration process.
    • Social media is a viable way to recruit non-panel respondents at a fraction of the cost that traditional recruiting efforts take.
    • Our social ads did so well that we had to turn them off soon after launching. By sourcing all event guests through social ads, we were able to avoid ”professional” respondents and other panel biases.
  • Created a confessional corner for brief interviews where guests could sit down to chat with a qualitative moderator.
    • Our confessional corner had a professional videographer to capture interviews and our moderators could only speak to a limited number of guests — the sense of exclusivity drove interest and intrigue in participating.
    • We invited guests to sit down for interviews with their friends, who kept each other honest and let each other’s personalities shine through.

Our unique approach to blending Experiential Marketing and Market Research is well-suited to a variety of scenarios faced by marketers:

  • Desire for qualitative insights despite time, budget and incidence rate constraints.
  • Desire for rich feedback on brands that are pre-launch, limited in distribution or in restricted categories.
  • Measuring effectiveness of event marketing experience in improving brand perceptions.
  • Reaching elusive consumers who are unlikely to engage with traditional research methods.
  • Desire for consumer feedback but need to scale research to fit within pre-existing experiential marketing budgets & event programs.
Learn More About How Your Brand can Benefit from Event Marketing.

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