How to Pick an Experiential Marketing Agency


No matter the size or scope of your business, we bet you’ve come across—or even considered—experiential marketing at some point in time. In fact, 79 percent of brands say they plan to execute more event and experiential programs.

Think that experiential marketing is reserved for heavy hitters such as Apple, Coca-Cola, and Google? Think again. It’s possible for small businesses to execute experiential campaigns within budget. Often, the success of your campaigns rests in your ability to pick a top-notch agency.

We get it: Researching marketing and advertising vendors can take time. And a busy small business owners, you know that time is money. While we can’t make a final selection for you, we can illustrate what you should look for when researching digital interactivity providers—so that the process is as seamless and painless as possible.

Key Factors in Selecting an Experiential Marketing Agency

Below is a five-step process you can follow to help pick an experiential marketing agency.

1. Know Your Goals

As is the case with experiential advertising campaigns, it’s important to know what you hope to accomplish in your partnership with a vendor. Goals and expectations vary between businesses. Are you looking to boost in-store traffic with an ongoing experience? Are you looking to drive awareness for a new product with a one-time campaign?

No matter what you define as success, it’s important to first establish primary goals and keep them within sight when shopping around for agencies. Unsure of the details of your campaign? The best agencies should not only help you turn your vision into reality, they should help you plan for success.

2. Ask About Track Record

To be the best, sometimes you must work with the best. To ensure that you’re partnering with a dependable agency, it’s important that they have a working understanding of the digital space. This is time to do your due diligence.

Ask yourself the following questions about prospective agencies:

  • What clients have they worked with in the past?
  • What digital hardware and software options do they offer?
  • Have they worked with similar-sized businesses?
  • Do they have a history of customer retention?
  • Are there any conflicts of interest?

Don’t be shy to ask important questions. A reputable firm is one that’s guided by transparency. And the best way to establish a mutually successful relationship is by establishing trust.

3. Consider Industry Experience

Building on the point above, it’s equally important to find an agency that has experience in your industry—or a working knowledge, at least. While your vendor may not be an absolute authority in your industry, it’s important to know that they demonstrate a working knowledge of your expertise. Again, consider the prospective partner’s portfolio before you move forward.

From cultural sensitivity to compliance issues, every industry has its own pain points. Working with an agency that understands your niche is a must for some brands.

4. Identify If It’s a Good Fit

Companies recruit for cultural fit; why shouldn’t you do the same to find an agency? While this step is admittedly subjective, it’s entirely important. Keep in mind that you will be trusting your agency with sensitive company information. And the agency you choose will ultimately be involved with multiple departments and employees across your company.

Identify whether your prospective agency is an ideal cultural fit. Do they listen to your opinions? Do they seem engaged? Do they seem to embody the values listed on their website? If culture isn’t aligned, you may end up butting heads with your partner.

5. See If They Can Walk the Walk

Any creative agency worth its salt will proselytize its services and offerings. And websites can be deceiving. It’s up to you to see if there’s any substance beyond the well-designed website, alluring brand logo, and catchy copy. Ideas are critical, but the nuts and bolts of your experiential marketing campaign are what really drive results.

Hire an Experiential Marketing Agency That Understands Your Industry

Working with agencies that have a proven track record within your industry ensures that you create a partnership built on mutual knowledge and expertise. For example, if you deal in the highly regulated cannabis landscape, it’s important to hire an agency that not only has the creative chops, but is also aware of regulations and target audiences.

Here are some examples of modern cannabis-centric agencies that walk the walk:

  • Studio 420: Cannabis-specific web design, branding, digital marketing solution that delivers targeted, industry-specific campaigns.
  • OMD Agency Seattle: Award-winning branding marketing project that strategizes and develops compelling visual identities specifically for cannabis brands.
  • John McNeil Studio: Studio behind the Aya brand launch that helped market a premium cannabis oil product as a leader to discerning customer base.

It’s important that your agency is able to establish a timeframe-based execution plan and discuss clear deliverables. While you may not necessarily be discussing the nitty-gritty at this point in the process, it’s important to discover an experiential marketing agency that truly cares about your vision.