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6 Things to Consider Before Launching a Mobile Tour (Part 1)

  • Bobby Johnson

Mobile tours take your brand on the road and allow you to spread your message and product to new regions. They create a tactile experience for consumers, letting them taste or try your products or services in a fun, creative, and memorable environment. 

A mobile tour is like a traveling, interacting billboard generating buzz and excitement for your brand. 

While a mobile tour done right can be cost-efficient and highly successful, a slapdash mobile tour can end up being wasteful or pointless. We sat down with Inspira’s mobile tour expert, Ralph Failla, who discussed six of the biggest concerns when launching a mobile tour and offered a few tips for success.

1. Make sure the product is on the shelves

A mobile tour is a terrible idea if you don’t have a product on the shelves ready to go right now. 

One of the primary benefits of a mobile tour is to raise awareness for the product. But more than that, the tour generates excitement. Consumers who’ve been wowed by the experience, the taste, or the feel of the product want to pick it up immediately. 

If the product distribution has fallen behind, the mobile tour quickly loses efficacy. 

More specifically, the product being promoted  in the mobile tour must be available in the regions that the mobile tour is visiting. Mobile tours hit multiple markets as they go–it’s kinda the point. But if the product is only available in select markets, the consumers experiencing the tour can’t act on your investment. 

If a mobile tour heading through Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania is showcasing a product only sold in New York, that’s a waste of time and money. 

Make sure you have a forced distribution to the markets the mobile tour is hitting, or delay visiting that market until later. You’ll lose residual value from the tour in even a single month if the product isn’t ready to go. 

2. Staff accordingly and keep your mobile team fresh

The team driving and managing your mobile tour, the people actually in the vehicle, need to be able to take a break.

Marketing experts recommend a two-person team, minimum. Mobile tours are pulling a lot of miles and hours. The people at the wheel are driving across multiple regions and endless highways, and have to set up an immersive experience at every stop. During the brand events, they may have to cook, connect technology, or set up furniture, and they have to be enthusiastic and excited when they do it.

The mobile tour crew is, in many ways, the face of your brand and if they’re exhausted they’re not going to represent your brand in the best light. One person can’t fulfill all of those duties and stay fresh. With at least two team members, your crew can drive and work in shifts.

Consider flying in new drivers and crew along the way. The Pony Express used to change out horses at regular stops to keep their speed up over long distances: consider doing the same for your crew. Not that your people are horses, of course, though they at least deserve the same consideration. If you have the budget and the staffing, swapping out your mobile tour crew after long stretches can keep their energy up and ensure no one gets too burned out. 

A fresh crew can also tackle their leg of the tour with renewed enthusiasm, putting your brand’s best foot forward at all times. 

3. Choose the right vehicle and make it yours

The vehicle you choose for your mobile tour isn’t just a practical choice: it’s the canvas you’re painting on. But, practical concerns should be a consideration for the brand experience you’re creating.

The vehicle can be big or small, but it must match your needs. If you’re marketing a food or beverage brand, or using food as part of your mobile tour experience, you’ll need a fully operational food truck with a stove, refrigeration, running water, etc. If your brand experience uses VR or other tech, your vehicle needs to be able to power your devices (or have a convenient method for plugging into local power). Ditto for wifi or mobile data. 

If you’re setting up tables and/or seating outside of the vehicle during the brand experience, you’re going to need a vehicle with more storage space.

When you know what the details of your brand experience are going to be, buy and build the mobile tour vehicle around those logistical and aesthetic needs.

Make your vehicle visually distinct. Everyone remembers the Oscar Meyer Weiner mobile because you seldom see a twenty-seven-foot hot dog driving down the street. Obviously, a fully custom shape that matches or accentuates your product is an amazing choice. If your budget doesn’t have the room for that, any box truck, trailer, or cargo container can (and should) be altered for your needs.

Rooftop additions are always a good idea, not only increasing the visual size of your vehicle but making it more striking. For a Thomas’ English Muffin mobile tour, their truck had half cut-outs of giant English muffins mounted on the roof to make the truck look like a stainless steel toaster.

The rooftop doesn’t have to just be used for decorations, either: it’s a way to double your usable space. For the Cafe Bustelo mobile tour, a cargo container was converted into a little bistro, with a rooftop cafe on top.

Looking for more mobile tour tips?

Join us next week for part two of our mobile tour, where we steer you around common pitfalls like technical issues, regulations, and how to integrate the entire marketing team into your mobile tour.

If you have more questions about mobile tours, or if you want to talk to an expert at Inspira Marketing to get your mobile tour rolling, reach out today.