“To simply create unique brand experiences is no longer enough,” states Alexander Böttcher, Managing Partner and Chief Digital Officer at Avantgarde. What already is state of the art in e-commerce and digital marketing should finally also become standard for brand experiences. Avantgarde already performs the analytics behind this and makes the short and long-term effects measurable. A gut feeling is no longer a criterion for success in the information age.
In analog times, the thumb method was popular; at the entrance of an event with the aid of a hand clicker, entering guests were counted. Objective measures for the success of an evening was the number displayed on the clicker. People came, people left. People visibly enjoyed themselves because the drinks were numerous, the music rousing and the atmosphere dazzling. The conclusion the next day: everything felt great. A pat on the back for a job well done.
Those days are over. In an increasingly digital world, other parameters must become the criterion for success.
Data is the new oil, and data-based marketing reigns as standard in many areas. The pioneer was e-commerce. Exact measurements of click rates, dwell time and order turnover as well as transaction data within online shops and A/B testing improves lead generation. Quickly identified, essential adjustment areas summarize the effect of individual measures in figures and thus contribute to continuous optimization.
Concerning brand experiences, the possibilities associated with data are long withheld from brands. The further development of digital technologies allows accurate, relevant quantifiable measures. Alongside the transformative power of brand experience, there is measurability. Data analytics is the foundation for generating a brand experience that is perfectly tailored to the target group.
Every potential buyer and guest now possess the former clicker in their hand: WLAN-active smartphones report presence and length of stay. Geo-tracking tells the pathway the people took and of the corners not visited. The operating system allows conclusions to be drawn about socio-economic background and provides insights on how approach people in the future.
Only the basics of these possibilities is currently in use. The key lies in identifying each person from the anonymous mass and connecting with them via the most personal device they carry. Via the smartphone, monitoring thoughts and feelings is a possibility. An electronic connection can be established directly to the heart through the phone.
At Avantgarde, we can deploy apps, augmented reality and virtual reality applications, chatbots and mobile experiences – tailored for a brand, a product or an event. Together, they encourage consumers to pick up smartphones and use specific content in the context of a brand experience. At a roadshow, for example, visitors can call up information on the car of their choice, download a voucher for a coffee, book a test drive or win tickets for the star guest’s concert that evening.
The smartphone opens the door to the owner’s inner world. Many things are currently possible – of course in compliance with data protection regulations. For instance, we can track user behavior: Where does the visitor go and ignore at the event? Where does he stop, where not? A digital experience layer, understood as a digital extension of a live experience, for example in the form of a mobile web app, makes specific surveys possible: What do you like? What is missing? Where can we help?
Of course, brand experience activities gain in value and relevance through objective analysis. Neutral data offers the chance to evaluate not only with regard to direct sales but also concerning other KPIs such as image gains.
An extra benefit for our clients: they win new, valid insights into their consumers including wishes and needs. Graphically presented on an online dashboard, we at Avantgarde make the facts tangible for the target group and the digital touch points visible. Smartly collected data not only highlights a moment but also measures changes through brand experiences and their sustainability.
One goal could also be to one day be able to assign a “Brand Experience Transformation Index” to each brand experience. We then not only know that this brand experience pays out for a brand – but also in which currency.
This is all talk of the future. However, the possibilities of data collection and analysis open up a wide field for experience marketing. Still, many hesitate to enter it. After all, those who face the numbers risk unpleasant truths: What if all the comfortably treaded paths used so far do not lead to the goal? What if the effect of the brand experience is not sustainable and simply forgotten a day later? The gut feeling can be deceptive, but numbers are incontestable.
Digital services as tailor-made accompaniment for a brand experience from start to finish are not cheap. If you take data analytics seriously, you have to devote resources. One must bring the best possible technical, methodical and analytical expertise into the company. As with any other serious method, this is no small task. After all, data collection and management, live dashboards and campaign evaluation are not off the rack tailoring. The data gathered must ultimately be combined and interpreted into an overall picture. Here, too, the whole is always more than the sum of its parts, and that means investment.
Digital technology, measurement methodology plus analytical skills, all this is already a norm at Avantgarde and is part of our everyday lives. Data, as I said, is the new oil. And I am sure that anyone who refuses to accept this development will soon be standing in the rain.