6 Things to Consider Before Launching a Mobile Tour (Part 2)
By Bobby Johnson
June 29, 2022
By Bobby Johnson
June 29, 2022
This week, we’re going to go over the last three major hurdles a successful mobile tour has to clear: integrating the marketing team, being legally compliant, and planning for technical issues.
According to Ralph Failla, “mobile tours are done best when there is full cross-departmental integration.”
He recommends that the mobile tour serves as the hub of the wheel. The mobile tour is essentially the “product,” and the PR, social and influencer teams support it.
Social media should lead the way. A mobile tour is a social experience and they live by word of mouth. Consider creating “Instagram Moments” that encourage photo taking and photo sharing during your tour. Hashtags unique to the experience and your brand’s social handles should be posted on signage and the mobile tour vehicle and the brand ambassadors should be convincing consumers to share their photos and their experience.
One way to ensure you’re getting lots of social engagement is to consider rewarding those who share their mobile tour content or create a contest or giveaway for the best submissions.
Influencers can help you reach new audiences. The entire point of a mobile tour is to reach new regions and get the attention of a new market. One of the ways the marketing team can do this is by contacting influencers. If you’re heading into San Francisco for the first time, find local influencers with a big following in the city and reach out to them for a partnership.
Even a single mention, pic, or reel from a trusted influencer can have new consumers flocking to your tour event.
These and any other integrated campaigns for the mobile tour should be ready to go when you launch, and periodically refreshed for each stage of the tour.
Make the event media-worthy. Mobile tours are naturally buzz-worthy. Invite media for a press-only event before it opens to the public to generate excitement and media placements to drive traffic to your footprint.
Traveling to new markets means dealing with new regions, new laws, and new rules you might not be familiar with. There’s nothing more tragic than a mobile tour getting shut down or incurring fines because of a simple but obscure bit of legislation you didn’t know about.
Transportation comes with a lot of rules. Long before you shift your mobile tour vehicle out of Park for the first time, you’ll need to be fully compliant with all transportation laws. The Department of Transportation website is, luckily, an excellent source for staying compliant. Similarly, working with an experienced mobile tour agency (like Inspira!) will help you to avoid any transportation-related issues.
Do you have the right permits? You can’t just stop your mobile tour anyway and start setting up shop. Temporary brand events need a space that you need to book beforehand. Pop-ups may require applications. Food trucks need to be licensed to operate on public streets, etc.
Keep in mind that some of these permits take weeks to get approval, so give yourself a lot of lead time before you launch your mobile tour.
If you’re collecting data, you need to follow privacy laws. Conducting a giveaway based on email? Collecting emails for any purpose? Data privacy laws are becoming more strict by the day, and you need to be familiar with the laws wherever you set up shop.
Food regulations change drastically from region to region. Is your mobile tour serving food or beverages? There are a host of laws regulating temporary food stands, none of which are alike from state to state.
Ralph’s advice? Use Californian regulations. California has the strictest food service requirements in the nation, so making your procedures compliant with California law should make you compliant pretty much everywhere else. It’s a simple shortcut that will save you a lot of grief. In fact, most of California’s regulations are similarly comprehensive, so using California law as a litmus test for all of your compliance isn’t a bad way to go. Of course, our team is always up to date on the latest legal regulations to avoid any issues.
Technical issues are unavoidable on a mobile tour. You’re in a vehicle, far from home, traveling long miles into unfamiliar territory. You also have multiple technical needs that have to be met in new locations, often with the help of strangers.
Add to that a desire for everything to be perfect for the brand experience, and mobile tours need to be prepared for when things don’t go according to plan.
Prepare for breakdowns. Tires pop, radiators crack, fan belts break, and batteries die. Having your vehicle checked before you even hit the road is job one, of course, but an inspection isn’t always enough. Make sure your vehicle has a basic toolkit and someone on the team who can handle small fixes, and a service like AAA to take care of larger issues.
Power is knowledge: have a plan. If you’re setting up a VR brand experience or just have a lot of lights to string up when you got to where you’re going, where is the juice coming from? A generator can solve the problem, but generators can be loud (which may or may not be a dealbreaker). Do you need to tie into 220 power? If so, you’re gonna need either an electrician on the team or an electrician on-site in advance.
Basically, know your power needs (down to the watt if you can manage it) in advance and call the sites to get what you need. And have a contingency–say, a fully gassed backup generator–for when Plan A falls through.
Calculate how and where to resupply. If you’re going on a long mobile tour with many stops, prepare to run out of some stuff. If you’re serving food, does it all fit into the truck and stay fresh for the amount of time you need?
If not, supply stops may be necessary. Common ingredients can be bought with petty cash at a supermarket, but elements unique to you or your brand may be harder to come by. A little math can go a long way here: calculate where and when food might go bad or run out and ship supplies to your team accordingly.
This “predict and ship” method also applies to handouts, samples, or any other kind of handouts that may run out before the mobile tour is done. Make sure your team on the tour has strong inventory control and reporting to make this work, too.
Make no mistake, mobile tours are tricky. Planning for all six of these categories and contingencies takes organization, skill, research, and the ability to improvise.
A mobile tour can get your brand and your product in new hands and new markets, but it’s not always easy. Inspira is ready to help you clear some of these hurdles and to get your mobile tour on the road, contact us today.
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