Category Archives: Insights on Non-Profit Marketing

Brand Marketing Reborn: The Digital Experiential Symbiosis

Learn how three massive transformations in our business environment have changed brand marketing forever, and why experiential marketing along with digital, come out a clear winners.

Brands lose influence over an Internet-Enabled Consumer

Traditional consumer marketing was framed around the four “Ps” of Product features, Price, Promotional activity and Place (distribution channel), and within this construct the marketer possessed a highly influential role toward the consumer. Brand marketing over the years evolved into a sophisticated mechanism for defining brands as quality proxies amongst an array of product options in the marketplace. Witness the success of brand marketing in creating strong perceptions around automobiles, convincing consumers that Mercedes meant luxury, Volvo meant safety, and Chevrolet meant value.

Fast forward to today when consumers have access to an bountiful trove of online information, delivered not only by brand marketers, but by consumers themselves, and others who share everything from cold hard facts on actual product performance, stories on corporate brand ethics, to sharing opinions on brands and the companies behind them.

It’s not always a pretty scene.  Traditional marketing has been castrated by the new balance of power between consumers and brands, and brand marketing has had to reinvent itself. Enter Experiential Marketing:  a way in which to create real-time face-to-face engagements, influencing consumers in a world where traditional tools have lost their power to influence.  Geoff Cotrill, CEO of fashionable footwear company Converse, a brand recognized as a winner[1] in today’s changed marketing environment states: “No advertising campaign will get you the kind of credibility that a meaningful experience will.”

Science of Consumer Behaviour proves Feelings, not Facts, Drive Action

The role of emotion in consumer behaviour is now well documented thanks to some excellent research done over the past 25 years. We’ve learned that emotions create preferences, which lead to our decisions.  And it may come as a surprise to some that emotions are a part of every decision we make, out-powering facts and data in influencing our consumer decisions[1]. The Advertising Research Foundation has reported that the emotion of “likeability” is the measure most predictive of whether an ad will increase a brand’s sales. Positive emotions also have a greater influence on consumer loyalty than even trust, and judgments based on a brand’s attributes.

Marketers today understand that a brand’s power is measured by its emotional connection to the consumer. And the richer the emotional content, the more loyal the consumer is likely to be.  So a key part of brand strategy is building the “narrative”, defining “who” the brand is and why the consumer should care. Emotions push us toward action, in life and in brand consumption [2].  Global brand experience agency Jack Morton reported in a 2012 study [3] that almost 80% of consumers only advocate brands with which they have had great personal experiences. As a result Experiential Marketing, creating meaningful brand experiences with consumers, has seen itself upgraded from a tactical element to a core part of brand strategy in the 21st century.

The Symbiosis between Digital and Experiential

Digital technology – the use of binary code to represent words and images – has revolutionized our world in the 21st century, including the world of advertising. It has also given birth to social media, providing new communities for marketers to observe, measure and interact with their consumers. Not to understate the impact of digital in our lives, these developments have reinvented the business of marketing. Digital marketing out-muscles traditional broadcast and print media by delivering access to the mass market, and in addition providing infinitely better and more accurate measurement of consumers. Digital technology has created the world of “big data” where our understanding of consumers, their behaviour, preferences, and activities is strengthened by their interaction in the social media playgrounds where this information is shared.

Brand Marketers today manage brands and marketing strategies against four key measures: awareness, perceived quality, mental associations and loyalty. Dynamic and mutable, these constructs were easily measured prior to the explosion of digital in our lives.  In the words of Experiential Marketing pioneer Max Lenderman:  “The modern ecosystem of marketing is the interplay between experiential and digital.” [4]

Within this new marketing framework a key tool in brand management today is becomes experiential marketing, which empowers marketers to increase awareness, effect perceived quality, foster positive mental associations and strengthen loyalty.

As a brand marketer, if you’re not utilizing experiential marketing then you should take some time to explore what this powerful tool can do for your brand…before your competition gets too far ahead of you.

Want to learn more? Give us a call: 416.364.9417 x116

Brand Marketers Prepare: The IoT Revolution Advances

Riddle: When is a Product not a Product?  When it’s a Service!

Interest in the “Internet of Things”, or IoT is exploding! What is it? In brief it is the growing network of physical objects (“things“) that companies are embedding with sensors, software and connectivity in order to exchange data with the manufacturer, an operator or other connected devices. And it’s a hot market that Deloitte[1] predicts will grow to an installed base of 2.8 million devices in 2015, representing a mind-blowing growth of 60 percent from 2014.

Industry is moving quickly to capitalize on the new connectivity technologies that enable IoT because the payoff for them is huge. In fact the ROI for industry is generally much greater than the payoff for consumers, and this is reflected in the anticipated growth of the industrial versus the consumer market. As an example, smart meters were installed in homes to provide homeowners peak period usage data on their utilities, which in turn could enable them to monitor their power usage and reap financial savings from this info. However human behavior around technology adoption has shown that people don’t like having to change their habits, and if we do the financial savings have to be significant. Utilities companies who attempted to show consumers that they could save money on energy each month by logging online to see their account to view usage learned that today’s consumers couldn’t be troubled to log online and didn’t find the potential savings attractive enough to make the effort. In contrast, the value of usage data to utilities companies is a different story – and quite substantial. There are labour cost savings from automating the meter-reading task, and better real-time diagnosis of power outages. Additionally there are savings in new plant construction available from understanding the analytics behind consumer demand around peak power periods and more optimally managing existing power infrastructure. So you can see from this one example that the opportunity IoT technologies can offer industry can not only have a much more attractive potential ROI, as compared to ROI available to the consumer, but has the power to drive a restructuring of some industries.

The Product Reborn as a Service

An IoT-connected product is no longer just a product; it can be a service!  For example, imagine an IoT-connected electric automobile. In addition to providing its owner with transportation, it becomes for the manufacturer an insights tool for usage, recharging habits, diagnostic profiling to optimize uptime, and recharging station chain development. Imagine this scenario: An imminent technical issue on is flagged at the central office through its online access to an automobile’s diagnostics which triggers the deployment of a technician with a loaner automobile. They arrive at the owner’s location prior to the car failing. The car is taken away and returned fully operational with no inconvenience to the owner. In this world the buyer purchased 100% uptime transportation, rather than an automobile.

Big Benefits for Brands Who Take Heed

There is a shifting business model unfolding with these new technologies, which will take time and testing to develop and fully understand. In the meantime, companies wanting to explore IoT may want to find the single biggest pain point or revenue opportunity, and roll out an inexpensive solution, such as a sensor network, which will simplify the ROI justification. From there further inroads can be made in the product and consumer lifecycle. An excellent example is found in the retail sector. In the UK a retailer used their loyalty club card to track customer visits, buying behavior, payment modes, and inventory. By paying close attention to customers and product sales, the retailer was able to adjust merchandise dynamically to suit local tastes, customize offers to customers, manage inventory volume based on purchases, and plan inventory refresh as needed. In recognition for their IoT-enabled efforts, the retailer saw increase in sales, customer loyalty and coupon redemption! The ROI enabled further investment in these technologies.

While the guidelines and regulation around consumer privacy issues develops, enterprise is well advised to operate in a fully transparent manner in order to not undermine trust in this exciting and emergent world of the Internet of Things.

Experiential Marketing is Revolutionized with Beacon Technology

Beacon technology delivers powerful new measurement tools to Experiential Marketers. It also expands the ways in which consumers can interact with brands, making this emerging location-based technology an important new tool for Brand Marketers.

Only a few years ago the event marketing industry relied on Facebook likes, tablet based surveys and contests, and manual counts to measure traffic to activations. Exciting news: Beacon technology is changing this quickly. What is this technology about? A beacon is small piece of hardware that uses a battery-friendly, low energy Bluetooth connection to transmit messages or prompts directly to a smartphone or tablet. Beacons work with both Android and iOS, and if you have an iPhone, it is likely that beacon technology current resides in your smart phone. Beacon functionality is estimated to already reside on over 300 million smartphone devices making it both accessible and cost effective. Retailers are quickly catching on to this, and are well underway in developing plans to put this exciting new location-based technology to work!

In 2014 Beacon technology was tested by the largest US retailers, and in 2015 it is poised to explode on the scene. Beacons can deliver powerful new measurement and opportunities for Experiential Marketing activations, and much more. Hailed by Business Insider Intelligence as “ The Most Important Retail Technology Since Mobile Credit Card Readers”, let’s take a closer look at this projected growth:

• There will be about 4.5 million active beacons overall by year-end 2018, with 3.5 million of these in use by retailers.
• Half of the top 100 retailers in the U.S. were testing beacons last year, and industry experts expect them to have this new technology installed in one-third of their stores by the end of 2015.
• Beacons are compatible with about one-third of active smartphones globally, and nearly ALL iPhones.
• Only 3% of retailers are currently able to identify customers walking into their stores, but 72% plan to be able to do so within five years.
• Beacons can help retailers attract users to their apps, retain those users, and increase engagement on those apps.

So… Brands who use Event Marketing should be thinking about how to get ahead of the curve as soon as possible. Here are some ways that Experiential and Event Marketing can tap into the power of Beacon Technology:

1. Track the number of consumer interactions and the number of visitors to your booth Beacon technology provides an accurate measurement of how many people attended your event, just walked by and even how long they were engaged at the event. It also provides accurate information on the various types of phones that were used in the event to find demographic insights.

2. Gain valuable consumer engagement insights by installing beacons at various locations within your trade show exhibit or experiential mobile vehicle or live event space Measure the total numbers of visitors in each area, and the relative time spent at each station, to better understand how the public is engaging with your booth and other interactive content in order to fine tune or change elements for improved user experience

3. Link beacons to smartphones and send special unique invitations to visitors to your live event space The invitation enables visitors to unlock interactive content that adds depth to the overall experience.

4. Tap into the uptake in the retail sector, tying an experiential campaign into a loyalty program Use the face to face engagement along with strategically placed beacons and push unique offers to event visitors to create conversions.

Would you like to learn more? Contact at 416-364-9417 x116, and find out how we make this a Beacon Year for your brand!

Some additional reading:,,,

Experiential Marketing & The Science of Persuasion

If your brand relies on transactional activations, or field sales you are aware of the challenges in sustaining momentum on these marketing campaigns. From consumer displeasure with perceived high pressure tactics, to high sales rep turnover, to inconsistent campaign performance, the practice is rife with expensive challenges for marketers. And one of the costs is what these practices do to the perception of your brand, particularly if you are a charity and using this method to fund-raise. However redesigning your Experiential Marketing program using the Science of Persuasion can rejuvenate your campaign. Much research has gone into the Science of Persuasion in recent decades and we’ve learned that it works by appealing to a set of fundamental human needs and drives. The outcomes are predictable, and its basic principles can be learned and applied. If the science is mastered and applied in an ethical way, your brand and experiential campaign will benefit immensely.

Here the Six Principles of Persuasion are explained:

1. Liking
People are more likely to buy from someone they like, or someone they are similar to. Make sure your team of Brand Ambassadors align with your ideal consumer, and are genuinely likeable. Include in their training methods to increase their likeability, such as identifying similarities with the consumer, and including genuine compliments early in the interaction.

2. Reciprocity
People naturally want to repay in kind. This is why samples work so well. The small free gift warms the consumer to the brand, and the principle of reciprocity will increase the likelihood of a subsequent purchase. However the manner in which the sample is delivered is also important. The delivery needs to be personalized and have an element of surprise, such that the consumer feels special. Delivering the sample into the consumer’s hands in a thoughtful creative way will provoke in them the desire to invest back in the brand with a purchase at the next opportunity.

3. Social Proof
People take their cues from those around them, and will accept new information more favourably if the information comes from their peer group. Social media puts this principle to work with Facebook “Likes” and LinkedIn Testimonials. Invite a loyal customer to play a role in an active campaign!

4. Authority
This is the principle behind the very lucrative athlete brand management business. A less expensive way than hiring an athlete to endorse your brand is to incorporate two-rep calls where one of them is the expert. Alternatively have an expert on the team and readily available to speak with consumers at events. When using the principle of authority the key is in incorporating a purposeful introduction at the beginning of the conversation, making it clear to the consumer that they are speaking with an expert.

5. Scarcity
People want more of the things that they can get less of. Creating scarcity will elevate the perceived value of your offer. The Science of Persuasion has also taught us that when paired with “Loss Language” the scarcity effect is even stronger. This done by telling the consumer two things: what are the benefits of the product or experience, AND what will the consumer stand to lose by not acting on the information or offer. The scarcity principle can be built into a promotional offer, the limited availability of samples, the product knowledge of the brand ambassadors and event staff, and the event itself. The starting point is with a valuable offer, and then creatively enhancing that value with authentic scarcity.

6. Consistency
People like to be consistent with things they’ve said or done in the past. The key to this principle is that people are more likely to exhibit consistent behaviour if they have actively, voluntarily and publically made their commitment previously. So if someone “goes on record” saying they’ll purchase a product, and especially if they’ve put it in writing, they are more likely to do so.

Contact us for creative, ethical ways to incorporate these principles to produce a more effective Experiential Marketing Campaign! And here’s a cool video to learn more:

Further reading:,,

Make 2015 an Amazing Year! Here’s How…

Are you one of those who make New Year resolutions?  Whether you embrace or eschew to concept, at some point each year it’s critically important to carry out some self-assessment, particularly on the professional front as it’s such a big part of our life.  While it may be easier to coast along and believe everything happens for a reason, I do not personally subscribe to that philosophy as it releases us from taking ownership for our lives. We are our own masters, directors of our life’s performance. Have you crafted the life you want for yourself, or have you allowed completely random forces around you to shape your life? Sometimes we make poor choices for the right reasons. Sometimes we make great choices for the wrong reasons. One thing is constant: as humans we will make up the reasons to justify the actions and that is not always a good thing. Why? The risk is that we can lull ourselves into a dissatisfying complacency, ignoring our deeper selves and how to find or maintain profound meaning and connection in our lives.  So when do you do the deep thinking about what you want out of life? I encourage you to take some time through the month of January to reflect on the past year and assess yourself honestly, set some goals for this next year.  Support the goals with new plans, new ideas, and new thinking. Be creative, be fearless!  To help with the process, here is a wonderful TED Talk by Ruth Chang: “How to make hard choices”.    Good luck, Happy New Year and have an Amazing 2015!

Sourcing Fresh New Participants for your Athletic Fundraising Event

If you are responsible for planning an athletic fundraising event then you probably know the challenges associated with attracting new event participants. Athletic fundraising events have become so popular that Not-for-Profits are now essentially competing against one another for fundraising dollars. So how do you reach new event participants?

We would like to share our Participant Analysis Tool, so that you can evaluate from which quadrants your event attendees are coming for improved marketing planning. One axis defines the potential participant’s commitment to the cause, while the other defines their involvement with the athletic activity.

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The top right hand corner is where you will generally find your strongest donor participants: they are compelled by your cause and enjoy the sport around which your event is built.

Our clients would generally agree that they do a great job along one or both of the axes. For example, promoting your event at another athletic event to tap into new athletic individuals for your mission. Alternatively, those who are well informed and interested in your mission may be easily persuaded to increase their involvement by participating in your event, even if they aren’t athletically inclined.

Quadrant D is the most challenging, and at the same time presents the largest untapped opportunity to bring new donors and event participants into your organization.

Using our Tool, mark from where (and how!) you are getting new event attendees through your existing marketing efforts. Are there any quadrants that have been completely forgotten?

If your marketing plan is under-funded in tapping these brand new and hard to reach participants, you are not alone. However, a balanced marketing plan will not overlook this group. In order to sustain growth in your event, you should look to 15% of your event attendees being brand new event participants.

This is the arena in which Front Line Donor Development can play a role in increasing registrations for your event across all four quadrants. Front Line Donor Development is a range of services developed specifically for the Not-for-Profit Sector. These services use the power of face-to-face marketing to help you look in areas in which your competitors are not looking for fresh new event registrants and donor support.  Call us to explore how you can put Front Line Donor Development to work for you in growing your donor and event participant base!

CRTC getting tough on spammers starting July 1st

The number of unsolicited messages that any of us receive daily has skyrocketed. Some are outright trying to sell us stuff. Some try to trick us into letting them into our bank accounts. Some are malware delivered in emails, or programs, or music downloads that compromise the functionality of our computers. They range from annoying to downright destructive.  From this perspective, Canada’s new anti-SPAM legislation will serve to protect consumers and will hopefully provide some measure of relief from the daily attack of SPAM email.

This legislation has serious implications for any marketers involved in email marketing. It has the power to drastically change how you market and sell your products, because it applies to all electronic messages including email, text and instant messaging. Under the new legislation, marketers need both Opt-In an Opt-Out features in their online marketing content. The new law defines and differentiates consent, as “express” and “implied”, and there are time constraints on each, putting a much heavier burden of responsibility on marketers.

Canada’s new legislation is the toughest in the world. Penalties are high. While administrative penalties for non-compliance are up to $10,000, summary conviction offenses come with a fine of up to $100,000 for the first offence, and up to $250,000 for any subsequent offence. It is clear that the CRTC wishes to get tough on the most egregious offenders. The law is comprehensive and complex, and it will undoubtedly be challenged in the courts. It remains to be seen how exceptions will be defined over time. In the meantime, Marketers must take action quickly to be compliant. Permissions must be in place as of July 1st. Once that date is passed, if you have not secured permission, it will be too late and your email marketing will be in contravention of the new law.

Stay tuned for more advice on how to prepare for this new legislation.

A Powerful Tool to Attract New Donors and Event Participants

How do you meet the challenge of chasing the same donors as other charities with similar fundraising events? This is the lament of almost every organizer of a fundraising run, walk or cycling event – and the explosive growth in the number of athletic fundraisers makes it tougher each and every year.

However, a Strategic Point-of-Purchase (POP) Campaign is a tried and tested method that can help mitigate this challenge. POPs have grown in importance to become a key element in raising awareness and driving registrations for many types of fundraisers, particularly community oriented fundraising events. One company in particular, Events Marketing has rewritten the rules on POP campaigns, to create a highly impactful, measured service that is making a big difference to their non-profit clients.

Here are a couple of real life examples to think about.  A Events Marketing client had been running an event in Montreal for several years. Registrations had flat-lined and they were looking for new ways to attract registrations on a tight marketing budget. They hired Events Marketing to execute a small campaign.

The result? Registrations went up by 30%!

Another client had been using volunteers to distribute POPs for the past few years. However, lack of accurate reporting meant that the client could never be sure how many POPs actually made it to retail. Furthermore, volunteers were bringing them to their local hair salon or dry cleaners, but these were not necessarily in the neighbourhoods with the highest correlation to the event’s target demographic. They hired Events Marketing to conduct a Strategic POP Campaign targeting high traffic retail in the right neighbourhoods and the result was in the client’s words:

“Our most successful sign up numbers ever!”

A well-executed Strategic POP Campaign will reach as many people as an outdoor billboard, a print campaign or a broadcast campaign. However, people can take home the marketing message in the form of a brochure, so that the POP can generate registrations immediately and continuously, even many months later. An outdoor, print or radio campaign cannot match this kind of street-level awareness.

POPs will create multiple impressions in the selected neighbourhoods, so that your message is being seen many times by your target audience over an extended timeframe – again not an option with the other forms of advertising. And, best of all, a Strategic POP Campaign is very budget friendly and typically a fraction of the cost of the equivalent number of impressions via other forms of media.


POPs – The EM Difference

Events Marketing’s strategic POP distribution service stands head and shoulders above the competition in delivering unrivalled visibility for your event registration materials.  What is the EM difference?  It begins right at the strategic planning stage, when we spend valuable time understanding your specific campaign requirements and target demographic to build a project plan tailor-made for your event. Using postcodes of your previous event registrants, we produce maps to show exactly where in the city your supporters are located, street by street and neighbourhood by neighbourhood.  Armed with this valuable data, we plan exactly how much of your valuable marketing collateral should be placed in each area of the city so that nothing goes to waste.

Then, using our comprehensive national database of high traffic retail routes, we plan a distribution campaign to deliver maximum in-store exposure for your event registration materials at a range of carefully selected, quality retail locations.   From major national chains to hip local boutiques, we make sure that you are in all of the right locations to reach your target demographic and drive registrations.  Our field distribution teams carry only your materials and each POP placement is individually approved, store by store.  Detailed weekly reporting keeps you closely in the loop on campaign progress and a final audit and wrap-up report complete the picture.

Whether you are planning a major national POP campaign in 30+ markets or a targeted local distribution in one key city, EM’s strategic POP distribution will deliver the results which you have been looking for.  We are the leading agency in Canada to the non-profit sector and experts in field-based fundraising techniques.  Contact us today to discover more about our POP distribution and other Front Line Donor Development services.

Measuring the Strategic Value of POP Distributions

A strategic distribution of just 1,000 POPs can easily generate between 1,500,000 and 3,000,000 impressions per month for your event or campaign!  Are you surprised by just how much exposure Events Marketing’s campaigns generate? Now compare this to traditional media such as radio, tv and press, and the tremendous value of a strategic POP campaign becomes clear!

Why are Events Marketing’s POP campaigns so effective?  Each POP placement is individually approved in store by our distribution teams and set up in the most visible location in carefully selected high traffic retail locations.  The result is unrivalled exposure to your target demographic and a measurable impact on event registrations.

As well as the primary impressions which each POP creates in store, there are also the secondary and tertiary impressions generated by the brochures which the POP contains.  Event brochures are taken by your target demographic to their homes and workplaces and act both as a reminder to register and a topic of conversation which spreads the word still further.  With 20-30 brochures in each POP the multiplier effect is huge!  Results like these are why our clients use our strategic POP distributions year after year as a key piece of the their event media and marketing strategy.

Contact us at or call 416.364.9417 today to find out how our competitively priced, strategic POP distribution service can give your next event the edge!