High Tech, Low Cost: Affordable Ways to Digitize Brand Experiences

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These easy-to-deploy ideas add value without breaking the bank

Marketers strive to create memorable experiences that engage and excite, but including all the latest digital bells and whistles can pose a challenge when working with a tight budget. The good news is you can still offer digital wows without spending a mint. The key is finding the right options that drive interest and results.

We consulted a few Freeman experts to learn what budget-friendly, productive ideas they’re seeing in the marketplace. Here’s what we uncovered. 

The Next Big Opportunity: Mass Personalization and the Art of Brand Experience

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The Next Big Opportunity: Mass Personalization and the Art of Brand Experience

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Work the web

When it comes to events (and just about anything else these days), there’s an app for that. Whether you’re running a conference, executing an exhibit space, or hosting a customer event, including a simple app for your brand makes marketing directly to your consumers super simple. And it’s what they want — personalized, one-stop computing to find out everything they need to know about your event as well as share and interact with your content.

When including an app, consider a companion microsite to keep all pertinent info in one spot with simple instructions to download the app. If your event doesn't require notifications, alerts, or a high degree of interactivity, consider using a web-based app, which can save time and money leveraging existing pages on your site.

For show organizers, consider providing microsites tailored for exhibitors. These personalized sites promote your event, provide exhibitor-specific information, and offer engagement before the show launches.

Another way to harness the power of the web is to promote your event with social media ad buys and retargeting campaigns. Personalized, retargeting ads can reduce your ad spend while increasing traffic to your registration or event pages. And you can track the results.

Amp up social

It’s astonishing that social media was once considered a passing fad, but this robust (and essentially free!) tool isn’t going anywhere except into the future. Take advantage of social’s staying power to promote your event and engage audiences in real time. If you haven’t already jumped on the social bandwagon, it’s time to get on board and deploy the latest offerings.

In the simplest sense, social media provides quick access to your audiences through consistent posting (leading up to the event), sharing ideas, and asking questions that start conversations online and on-site. Take it a step further and host event-specific activities like games and contests that encourage your audiences to interact through seek-and-finds or scavenger hunts, photo contests, trivia games, and repost/retweet activity connected to incentives — all with the reward of winning prizes and shout-out recognition on your brand feed.

In addition to posting info about the event, show your audience the experience. We’re talking about beautiful images and compelling action captured on video. Audiences cannot get enough of these mini movies, so take advantage of users’ captive eyeballs by filling their feeds with content through the entire event life cycle. It’s easy to repurpose previous footage to promote the current event or create a video using still images to tell your event story.

Facebook Live and Instagram Stories make it easy to share live video about new products, sneak peeks, behind-the-scenes action, Q&A’s with speakers, and more. Snapchat (now called “Snap”) video allows you to make personalized connections through one-on-one brand-to-audience interactions. You can create a customized geofilter for your event (around $10-20 for 24 hours) that encourages guests to become part of the action. Sharing video using your event filter is affordable and creates additional buzz. Bonus: Live video helps your audience members feel like they’re included in the experience, as it’s happening.

And don’t forget your event hashtag! Catchy tags create a searchable community of people talking and sharing before, during, and after the experience. Make sure what you choose is memorable, easy to spell, and incorporates your brand. Couple it with a call to action (as well as an incentive) and your audience’s thumbs will respond. And throughout the experience, make sure you engage with users sharing your hashtag — personalized responses go a long way.

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Game on

Everyone loves a good game. Whether you create activities through social channels or host gamifications on-site at your event, this active collaboration encourages engagement. Adding digital devices and touchscreens into the mix helps modernize play. And it’s easy to execute on a lean budget.   

Designed as an interactive education tool for teachers, Kahoot offers social learning through interactive gamification. Through pre-made games or customizable applications that work with any connected device, users play, interact, and share the experience. The interface allows connected players to join even if they’re not on-site. The games, referred to as “kahoots,” incorporate a series of multiple choice questions and can be personalized with video, images, and diagrams to enhance the interactions.

Conteneo also provides innovative and customizable gamification. Its applications encourage collaboration through social learning games to empower organizations, their employees, and customers to work better together in person or across the globe.

Incorporating cost-effective gamification allows you to build brand awareness, collect data and feedback, as well as increase ROI through measurement. That’s winning!

Know before you go…digital

Before committing to any digital play, remember to think about your objectives and the desired endgame. Don’t go digital simply for the cool factor — the application should fit your brand and budget. Enhancing the attendee experience is vital, but the means must satisfy the end.

So when you’re evaluating ideas, be sure to consider what the application can do for your brand. Focus on the data and the digital solution provided.

Another simple consideration is looking at your overall budget — chances are, you’ll find a trade-off or two. One less coffee break opens the door for a new activity that could add more digital wow to optimize the experience. 

Want more? Check out these additional perspectives on digital and event technology.


What you need to know to stay ahead of the ever-changing experiential marketing curve.

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