October 20, 2014 16:14 ET

Why Mobile Marketing Is a Must, and We're Not Talking Smartphones

Yes, Digital Mobile Marketing Is Hot, but Mobile Sampling Units Are Delivering Results Where Digital Mobile Device Marketing Is Falling Short

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwired - October 20, 2014) - Mobile marketing, as in marketing via smartphones, is one of the hottest topics in the U.S. marketing industry right now. We can all relate, I am sure. We Tweet, visit Facebook, enjoy music, watch videos, check the weather, watch TV shows, watch movies, and oh, yes, we even manage to make some phone calls with these ingenious and ever more sophisticated devices.

Like 91% of all Americans, I have my smartphone within reach 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It's no surprise to marketers that the number of smartphones in use globally crossed 1 billion for the first time in the third quarter, and that this amount will double by 2015.

So, we can all agree that mobile phone (device) marketing is no longer an option. It is a must.

But I also advise clients and brand managers that the other "mobile marketing" practice is just as important, perhaps even more important than ever, given society's trend to engage in more "online" activity at the expense of "offline," real world human interaction.

And this is where mobile experiential marketing comes in. It is an important piece of the marketing mix that takes the brand to the consumer and interacts with them in a shared environment. By sharing positive experiences in a real-time, person-to-person manner, brands are turning passive consumers into lifelong brand advocates both offline and on.

Savvy marketers have understood the value of experiential marketing for a while, but it hasn't been until recently that we had the right tools to quantifiably measure this value. According to the EventTrack 2014 conference summary report, this year 14% of brands reported seeing a return that is greater than five to one of their event programs compared to 7% that reported this level of ROI in 2013. 96% of consumers surveyed said that assuming they were interested in the product or service being promoted at the event, participating made them more inclined to buy after the interaction. 94% of respondents also said live events win over TV when it comes to understanding the product or service.

While mobile experiential marketing campaigns usually consist of a fleet of branded vehicles traveling strategically planned touring routes, brands like Anheuser-Busch, Wrigley, Johnson & Johnson and Nike are using this opportunity to think outside the mobile marketing box, so to speak. From taco trucks and beetles to Segways and pop-up stages, here's a look at how some Fortune 500 brands are realizing record-breaking ROI by engaging with multicultural consumers in multi-sensory, memorable ways.

Mobile experiential experiences are often strong catalysts for generating engagement with the consumer online as well. The most creative campaigns offline generate strong viral buzz on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and often times even result in regional and national news coverage on TV and radio.

A typical experiential campaign starts with two to three weeks of pre-event promotion in each market that includes targeted traditional and social media advertising. Some pre-event campaign promotions also include special retail marketing giveaways or sweepstakes promotions online via social media platforms. Adding photo or video interaction into the mix at the event allows consumers to share the brand experience with their network of family and friends online as well, maximizing the reach and extending brand impressions far beyond the event itself.

Anheuser-Busch recently launched a new Mexican beer brand in the U.S. with a mobile experiential marketing campaign in the Southwest. This experiential marketing campaign encourages fans to use #VivaMontejo on Instagram and Twitter to share the experience with friends.

To get the most out of their mobile experiential marketing campaigns, brands are utilizing their websites and other online resources to connect with followers and fans before, during, and after the event. It's always effective and fun to work with brands who are interested in finding new ways to use offline experiences to drive branded online interactions as well, whether it's a website, microsites, email, digital ad campaigns, social media, or mobile. And these are the brands that are winning when it comes to ROI of experiential marketing.

How Do You Measure Success?

How you measure success depends on why you're doing it in the first place. When it comes to the number of "impressions", mobile experiential sampling tours typically cannot match the number of impressions of a major TV advertising campaign. However, they can still generate millions of impressions when you include pre-event promotion impressions and post-event news coverage.

Three metrics to consider when it comes to measuring success are attendance, social reach, and data. With social media, it has become possible to justify an investment in an experiential marketing experience knowing that it will pay dividends when people share the content.


How many people did your brand reach at this event?

How many people did you interact with?


How much buzz did it drive online?

What was the sentiment towards the event?

How many people are talking about your brand, sharing content, or engaging with your brand online because of this experience?


How much data did you collect on the consumer that you can use in future marketing activities (name, email, etc.) or even in product development?

Experiential marketing continues to play a big role in influencing the immediate purchasing decisions for consumers. An Event Track 2014 research study reveals that 83% of consumers who purchased a product at an event decided to do so mostly because of their ability to sample the product or to see a demonstration, an increase of 10% compared to the year before. Other influencing factors were having a better understanding of the product/service (2014: 36%, 2013: 33%); and receiving discount coupon (2014: 34%, 2013: 25%).

Before launching a mobile experiential marketing campaign, work with your team to define what success looks like for your brand.

About the Author

Elisa Cogo is Director of National Sales and Marketing at Cardenas Marketing Network. She helps brands like Anheuser-Busch, Goya Foods, Johnson & Johnson, McDonalds, and Diageo connect with multicultural consumers through sponsorship and experiential marketing programs. In her spare time you'll find her playing cars with her two-year old son and cooking with family and friends. Wild Mushroom Risotto with Truffle Oil is one of her signature dishes! You can find Elisa on LinkedIn.

About CMN

Cardenas Marketing Network (CMN) is a multicultural experiential marketing agency that connects consumers and brands through shared passion points of music, sports, and cultural pride. The award-winning agency has been recognized by Event Marketer's Top Agency "It List," Chief Marketer's "Promo 100" and Crain's Chicago Business "Fast 50," among others.

For more on how Wrigley's, Anheuser-Busch, H&R Block and other Fortune 500 brands are generating higher consumer recall rates and superior word-of-mouth credibility from mobile experiential marketing, visit the CMN Industry Insights Blog.

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Contact Information

  • Elisa Cogo
    Director of National Sales & Marketing,