How to Plan a Successful Mobile Tour on a Tight Budget

Inflation is hitting all of us hard, which means marketing departments have to do more with less. This is exactly why mobile tours are a great method of experiential marketing, one that reuses assets, hits a wide audience, and forms a personal connection with consumers all across your route.

They allow you to collect data and UGC from those who’ve experienced the event, too, and see how reactions change from region to region. Even just the consumer insights and connections you gain after a mobile tour can justify the cost. 

Here are just a few ways to make that mobile tour cost-effective, straight from the experts who’ve done it many, many times. 

Pick a Sensible Vehicle

A mobile marketing tour is, well, mobile. It requires a vehicle or vehicles to transport your equipment, your brand ambassadors, and your message. The first step in any cost-effective mobile tour is deciding on exactly the kind of vehicle you need. 

Many mobile tour vehicles are big, making them natural fuel hogs. Vans, buses, and custom vehicles weigh a lot, they carry a ton of gear, and they aren’t always the most aerodynamic. This is why a sensible vehicle is so important for lowering the upfront cost of a mobile marketing tour. 

Hybrid and electric vehicles are a smart choice, but larger vehicles don’t always have that option. Diesel vehicles are generally far more fuel efficient, as are natural gas engines, both of which are more likely to be found in the kind of big vehicles you’d need for a mobile tour.

Partner with Brands to Share the Cost

Few activations are cheap, and the more of the cost you shoulder yourself, the less marketing budget you have to go around. That’s why you don’t have to go it alone: consider partnering up, sharing the cost and the success with a brand that dovetails with yours. 

Both products gain more exposure while only fronting half the cost. Consider partners that are complimentary rather than competitive. A fitness company pairs well with a beverage brand, fashion with beauty, a condiment brand with a food brand, and the like.

Charities also make great partners for cost-efficient mobile tours. While they may not always be able to help as much with costs, they will aid you in exposure, bringing far more people to your activation than might have otherwise shown. 

Use Digital Marketing To Amplify Your Impact

A mobile tour’s strength is that it can go anywhere, it can hit regions you’ve never promoted in, and it can give people exciting in-person experiences they’ll remember. However, if your mobile tour arrives in a location and no one is there, all of your efforts goes to waste. Combining your mobile tour with a strong digital push gets more eyes on your activation.

Your mobile tour should be coordinated with your social media campaigns and your email marketing, both of which can be extremely inexpensive while having a huge impact.

Consider using hashtags that are trending locally in the places your mobile tour is visiting, or making sure your email campaigns target consumers in those regions ahead of time. 

Make it Easy to Create and Collect User Generated Content

From the consumer perspective, mobile tours give consumers experiences with a brand they may not have otherwise heard about. And unlike a store or other shopping experience, where they’re bombarded with competing brands, a mobile experience lets consumers spend time with one experience. 

A fun, interactive mobile tour is also a “miss it and it’s gone,” experience, the exact kind of thing that spurs Instagram posts. In fact, 98% of consumers create content for social media at events and experiences. This kind of user-generated content is invaluable to marketers and should be encouraged during mobile tours. 

Integrated hashtags, photo opportunities, giveaway contests, and exciting and original vehicles all spur social sharing.

Location, Location, Location 

It’s a cliche for a reason: location is the most important component of most real-world activations. Mobile tours are no different, even if you are hitting multiple locations. Mobile tours ensure your eggs won’t all be in one basket (speaking of cliches), so if one location is a dud you still have a shot at success elsewhere. 

High traffic areas like large cities, music festivals, sporting events, and conventions all make for perfect stops on any mobile tour. Consider combining your mobile tour with holidays or regional events, too. Selling tequila? Your mobile tour needs to hit somewhere big on Cinco De Mayo.

Track Your ROI and Your Impact

Yes, it’s always going to come down to math at some point. Obviously, you came to this blog because you want to create a cost-effective mobile tour, so ROI is already important to you. 

The best way to stretch a marketing budget the furthest is to always learn a lesson from your current activation. Yes, it won’t make this mobile marketing tour cheaper, but the insights you gather from this one will make the next one more cost-efficient, and the next, and etc, you get it. 

Collect surveys during your mobile tour after the experience, to see how consumers felt about it. Do they plan to buy in the future? Has this experience swayed them toward purchase? Did they have a positive attitude about the product afterward? Are they more likely to check out further activations by your brand in the future?

You’ll want to track sales in the regions the mobile tour hit, for months after the experience, to quantify the impact of your efforts. 

Track your success on the internet, too, even though a mobile tour is largely physical. Google Analytics, Instagram Insights, and other tools are available to see if mentions of your brand or the mobile tour itself have increased since the activation. 

If you’re looking to launch a cost-effective mobile marketing tour soon, we’d be happy to help. It’s something of a specialty of ours. Contact Inspira Marketing today to learn more.

This article has been published in the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) Marketing Knowledge Center. Click here to visit their blog.

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