Event marketing goes beyond pretty arrangements and just being there for the sake of it.
Done well, event marketing can become part of your brand journey in the memory of your customers’ minds – and customer touchpoints are one of the main ways to ensure that your target audience’s movement through your brand’s proposal leads them to become customers at some point.
Consumer mapping and customer journey visualization are not, of course, just about event marketing, per se. In essence, pretty much every type of marketing should strive to improve the customer journey across all channels. Whether you are looking at digital touchpoints or industrial fairs, brand touchpoints are essential.
But this time, we will discuss consumer mapping in event marketing. We will start from the personal interaction definition, move to client touchpoints and customer journey visualization, and, finally, we will tackle questions like how many touchpoints do you need before a sale and how do you create customer touchpoint mapping.
How do you do it all? How do you create an interactive journey map? How do you go from a branding questionnaire worksheet to a brand map and an interactive map?
Read on and find out more.
What Are Customer Touchpoints?
To understand consumer touchpoints, imagine a maze the customer has to move through and touch different points at every milestone. In real-life business, this translates as points through which the customer moves through the sales funnel (or sales insert-here-any-other-shape that is more suitable for your specific business model).
For instance, let’s say I’m an avid consumer of graphics cards.
To get the right graphics cards for my PC and my needs, I will first go to YouTube, where a lovely influencer will present a variety of options (in one video, in a series, or across the entire channel). This would be the first of the client touchpoints I would get in contact with.
The following customer experience touchpoints would gradually lead me to NewEgg, where a dream 2080Ti would await for me. I would:
- move through various websites for the research
- read blogs
- look at benchmarks on a bunch of different sources
- leave some cookies behind (because let’s face it, I would agree to all the GDPR-compliant pop-up messages on these sites),
- be heavily advertised with a bunch of graphics cards options on Social Media
- eventually, I would give in, sell my heart and my firstborn to the Devil, and finally get that ray-tracing experience machine into my home.
These would be pretty typical examples of customer journey touchpoints in digital commerce.
In event marketing, things are a little (read: a lot) more palpable. The event marketing definition of touchpoints and the digital one are pretty much the same. The difference lies in how the various customer touchpoints examples behave in the digital, respectively, in the non-digital one.
What defines an event marketing touchpoint, you may ask?
As described above, a touchpoint is the initialization of a communication process that touches the (potential) customer in one way or another.
In event marketing, one of the main mistakes marketers do in their touchpoint analysis is to consider the event itself as the final destination of the entire customer journey. However, unless your primary purpose is selling tickets for an event (so, the event itself is the product you are selling), a marketing event will be one of the touchpoints in their journey.
Don’t panic, though. We will discuss both scenarios so that you have a full understanding of what is a touchpoint in event marketing.
Event Marketing as a Touchpoint
Depending on what kind of product you’re selling, event marketing might already be part of your strategy. Some examples of event marketing include the following:
- If you sell cosmetics, a booth in the mall or at a beauty fair
- If you sell tractors, a stand at an agricultural equipment fair or trade show
- If you are a service provider, a booth or a stand at a specialty fair
- If you sell machinery, demonstrations of how that machinery works in their given context
… And so on.
You get the point.
In these cases, event marketing is a pitstop on the touchpoint map. There are, of course, many marketing touchpoint strategies – some may include event marketing, some may not. There are also strategies to help your event marketing touchpoint perform better (such as prepping the grounds in advance, so that when people attend your event, they are already somewhat familiar with your product). In essence, it all narrows down to creating a customer journey that includes intelligently-picked touchpoints marketing along the way.
What are intelligent touchpoints in marketing?
Well, to begin with, touchpoints in marketing (and advertising) should be strategized in a way that has an actual impact on the customer. One of the most popular ways of doing this is by imagining a Sales Funnel ( with the top of the funnel customers being those who are looking for your type of product and have just gotten in touch with your brand.)
It is important to note that customer touchpoints are not necessarily channels by which these potential customers come in contact with your brand. The channels are where customer touchpoint interactions happen.
For instance, in a given Sales Funnel for a shoe store online, Google could be the channel, but a specific article on your blog (“How to buy good leather shoes”) might be the touchpoint. If you have cookies installed on your site (and if your customer accepts this, as per GDPR), you will then re-target the customer once they exit your website by showing them an ad on Facebook. That would be another touchpoint.
As another example to prove what we were saying above, if you plan an event and have to accommodate visitors at a hotel, how the hotel looks and feels would behave as a customer touchpoint as well.
In other way, marketing touchpoints are not about the content, the ads, and the visible marketing efforts, but about every single thing that brings the customer to a positive conclusion when it comes to you.
We will discuss more on how to create a touchpoint map in event marketing in the last section of this article. Hang in there, just one more thing we have to clarify before we get there :).
The Event as the Product
If your product is the actual event you are planning, then your touchpoints will be slightly different than in the case of event marketing behaving as a channel of the touchpoint itself.
Let’s say you’re planning a big trade show. Given the nature of the event, you have two main goals:
- Attracting trade industry participants
- Attracting potential, ticket-paying visitors for the said trade show
In the first case, you will create touchpoints that attract trade industry companies (e.g., articles that speak about “how to attract more customers for your shoe-making machinery”). In the second case, your touchpoints will be related to people who are interested in buying the products that trade show will focus on (e.g., “how to buy high-quality shoes for lower prices”).
The principles of touchpoint marketing are more or less the same. The difference lies in where you want to lead your customers and where event marketing lies on their journey there.
How to Create a Touchpoint Map in Event Marketing
To this point, we have discussed what touchpoints are, and we have touched the topic of what is a customer journey. In essence, it all narrows down to this:
If you want to improve the customer journey (read: get your customers to buy the product and provide them with excellent experience in the process), you will have to consider your customer experience touchpoints first.
Customer journey visualization starts with knowing who your customer is and creating a customer interaction definition that suits your specific business and business needs.
Then, you should think of the customer journey map per se and categorize your touchpoints according to each small step that leads them to your door (and makes them add your products to cart or sign a contract with you). Customer journey visualization should get in as much detail as possible.
For instance, for the first stage of the customer journey, your customer strategies might include:
- Your website
- Your blog
- Any type of content marketing you do
- The forms that make people register to your event
- The location of your store
- The word of mouth fame your product gets
Some tips on how to create use the touchpoint mapping dimension of customer experience include the following:
- Look ar other touchpoints in marketing and see how they work. Try to look at your competitors, at your industry, and even at businesses that have nothing in common with your own.
- Make them simple. Your customer is already moving through a maze to get through you – you don’t have to make every step of the way feel like a hurdle race.
- Make sure it fits for the brand, for the business type, for the products, and for the customer typology (their Buyer Persona to be more specific)
- Make it meaningful and emotional. The more you can touch your potential customer’s heart, the more likely it is that they will (continue to) buy from you. Likewise, an interactive journey map is always a good idea because it engages potential customers and brings them closer to your brand. For instance, this Coca-Cola example warms our hearts, for example (especially since it’s the season):
- Make it appropriate for the point at which the customer is in their journey. For instance, something very sales-y won’t work if they’re just at the top of the FunnelFunnel – it will most likely do quite the opposite of what you are aiming for.
- Take every single touchpoint seriously. They say the Devil is in the details, and if there is something I learned while doing (mostly) traditional marketing in the agriculture industry, it is that you can never pay too much attention to detail. It doesn’t matter who you are, what your business does, or what you think of the quality your customers are expecting. Give them the very best there is, from your event registration form, to your branded pens and to the entire experience of the event you’re planning. Your touchpoint mapping template and the details in it will make the difference!
Event marketing is a fascinating world. No matter if you come from the digital side of things or the more traditional one, you will find that event marketing can be a game-changer in the fullest sense of the word – and touchpoint mapping is an essential milestone on your path to success.
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