People often say “I don’t have time” to justify why they aren’t able to spend more time with loved ones or take care of themselves. Unfortunately, the fact that consumers have jam-packed schedules also makes it more difficult for marketers to attract guests to their experiential marketing events as well.
Many people spend a lot of their time commuting to and from work. According to the Census’s American Community Survey, workers spend an average of 26.4 minutes commuting to work. Furthermore, the percentage of workers with the longest commutes is growing rapidly. There was a 3.5% increase in workers with 45-minute commutes between 2014 and 2015, and an astounding 8% increase in workers with commutes of 90 minutes or more. To illustrate how time-consuming commuting is, consider that a worker with a 90-minute commute spends 15 hours of each week simply traveling to and from work.
Why should this information matter to marketers? Instead of asking consumers to take time out of their busy schedules to attend an event, marketers should consider planning the event around the average consumer’s day, which involves a lengthy commute. Here’s how to engage with commuters using experiential marketing tactics:
Set Up Product Sampling Events
People who are in a rush to get to work won’t have much time to stick around, so events that offer consumers brief experiences may be the most successful. One type of event that works well in this rushed atmosphere is a product sampling. It’s easy to set up a product sampling event near public transportation that commuters often rely on such as buses, trains, and commuter parking lots. Even if you’re only able to speak to each commuter for a few moments, this should be more than enough time to hand them a sample. While they enjoy the sample, give them a brief overview of the product. Be sure to hit all of the main points that you want to communicate to consumers since time is limited with these busy commuters.
Although brands typically use product sampling events to promote food or beverage products, these events can also be used to promote non-edible products. However, it’s best to stick to products that would be of some use to commuters. For instance, many commuters would get a lot of use out of a sanitizing hand lotion since they often use products like these to clean their hands after touching places that hundreds of other commuters have also made contact with.
Longer Experiential Marketing Events Should Take Place in the Evening
Some brands may be able to pull off a product sampling event, but others may find that this is not the right type of event for their products. The latter group may need to host an event where guests are expected to stick around a little longer than they are during a product sampling event. If this is the case, it’s best to host this type of event in the evening as opposed to the morning.
Commuters are always in a hurry, regardless of the time of day. However, commuters will often face consequences at work if they are late because they stopped to engage with your brand during their morning commute. Although commuters may be eager to get home after a long day of work, there aren’t any consequences for arriving a few minutes late. Therefore, commuters are more likely to sop and engage with brand ambassadors during their evening commute.
Create An Escape
Commuters often feel stuck in their routine of waking up, commuting to work, spending hours at work, commuting home, and starting all over the next day. This is an exhausting schedule that can wear someone down over time. Commuters will welcome the opportunity to escape—even if it’s just for a brief period of time—so marketers should give it to them.
Audi is one brand that successfully created an escape for people traveling to and from Denver International Airport. The brand created a hospitality lounge with a bar, comfortable seating, and large TV screens. While guests enjoyed their brief escape in the hospitality lounge, they also learned more about the Audi brand and engaged with friendly and hospitable brand ambassadors.
Think of a way to offer commuters some type of luxurious experience that they can enjoy for a few minutes on their way to or from work. Commuters will be forever grateful to brands that give them the opportunity to escape from the demands of their everyday lives.
Take Over Public Transportation
Instead of hosting the event close to public transportation that commuters use to get to and from work, some brands choose to temporarily take over one of these forms of transportation. For example, Uniqlo hosted an experiential marketing event on a Chicago transit train in 2015. Guests who were taking the train got to enjoy an event with live music and fun prizes, all while learning more about Uniqlo’s brand. Both the interior and exterior of the train featured Uniqlo’s branding so people on and off the truck were exposed to their messaging.
Uniqlo was only able to pull off this event because the Chicago Transit Authority allowed it. It may be difficult to host this type of event in other cities, depending on the rules of each city’s Transit Authority, but if the idea is approved, this is a great way to interact with commuters without interfering with their busy lives.