Brands are constantly seeking ways to improve or create engagement with their target markets, and one way to do that is with mobile tours. Mobile tours are an exciting marketing tool to show off a brand’s personality and connect with customers. Not only are they cost-effective, but they’re also mobile (as the name suggests), making them a powerful alternative to brick-and-mortar store advertising.

Put simply, a mobile marketing tour is a branded event on wheels. Campaigns can range from food truck-style sampling to custom-outfitted containers for multisensory brand experiences. A successful mobile tour will help you introduce and promote products by engaging existing and potential customers in a one-of-a-kind experience.

Take Walmart’s mattress brand, Allswell, for example. It wanted customers to try out the mattresses and bedding in person. Together with Inspira, the team designed a beautiful mobile house to showcase Allswell products, and the Allswell Tiny Home Tour visited 17 cities in a 13-week campaign. Walmart encouraged participants to share photos of their experiences online, and the tour generated significant media attention for the brand, with mentions in House Beautiful, Refinery29, Brit + Co, and Forbes.

Allowing your target market to try out your products and services and then share their experiences on social media is a great chance to gather feedback and generate online buzz. By providing a unique and memorable experience, your brand can connect with customers directly and emotionally.

Advantages of a Mobile Marketing Tour

For many consumers, online shopping has its drawbacks; they can’t see, feel, or even smell a product like they could in person. How do they know it’s the right texture, the right scent?

A mobile tour gives consumers that firsthand sensory experience and allows them to try out products in person before buying. In this environment, your brand can interact with consumers directly, address any concerns, and help them decide which products are right for them.

Additionally, you can leverage exciting promotional offers at these events. Earlier this year, Revlon staged a memorable mobile tour in collaboration with event company Coffee ’n Clothes. In order to generate buzz for Revlon’s new vitamin C and caffeine-infused concealers, they outfitted a truck with orange slices and coffee beans, bringing to mind (and nose) the ingredients in Revlon’s new products.

For one day, anyone who saw the truck driving through Manhattan could get a free bottle of orange juice or cup of coffee and enter a giveaway to win Revlon-branded prizes. The truck also offered on-site shade-matching technology that helped guests find the perfect concealer tone for their skin. The entire campaign aimed to create a complete and engaging experience, and the press has been talking about it.

Start Planning a Mobile Marketing Tour

There are a few essential pieces to every mobile tour strategy, including:

1. Location, location, location

Having an easily accessible location is a crucial aspect of mobile marketing tours. A place that’s hard to find or see might have trouble attracting attention. Choose somewhere visible and accessible, first and foremost. The right location might also mean something to your brand, enhance the experience’s theme, or provide an engaging, interactive space — ideally, all three.

You also need to consider permits when strategizing for a mobile tour. You’ll likely need to book a space for any temporary brand events and ensure you comply with all relevant local laws. Some activities might require special permits or licenses; for example, operating a food truck on a public street.

2. Vehicles

Choosing what vehicle is right for you and how it should look are some of the first steps in any mobile tour campaign. Branded transportation should make consumers feel welcomed and invited to engage. Consider the product or service you want to showcase and how different kinds of transportation might complement the experience. Depending on how you plan to interact with consumers, your tour could call for a food truck, a tour bus, or a trailer.

Preparing for speedbumps such as flat tires, broken radiators, and dead batteries is a good idea. Before the campaign starts moving, ensure your car has a basic tool kit, someone on the squad who can take care of minor repairs, and a tour manager who can immediately find the right solution for any urgent needs.

3. The right staff

Your staff is a critical part of the many responsibilities involved in any mobile marketing tour. Choosing capable staff to represent your brand is crucial. They’ll be responsible for keeping your tour compliant with rules and regulations on the road, dealing with unexpected hiccups, and keeping the wheels moving. You’ll need tour managers, event hosts, photographers, drivers, event emcees, and even local brand ambassadors to make the most of your efforts.

4. Engagement

Engagement leads to conversions, which are what ultimately make a campaign successful. Incorporating interactive elements in your tour and event space makes consumers’ experiences with your brand more immersive, unique, and memorable. You can use games, photo booths, shareable content giveaways, and contests to engage your customers effectively. This is where you should let your creativity shine and seek to create real moments of connection between consumers and your brand.

5. Generating social buzz

Creating a stir before (and during) your event is key to a successful tour. How do you do this? Simply put, social media is the driving force of any mobile tour. Social, firsthand experiences succeed through word of mouth, so consider including a sharable element in your tour experience. Create “Instagrammable” moments and encourage your tour participants to take and share photos. Organize giveaways or contests for those who post pictures or send referrals.

Rewarding those who share mobile tour content is a surefire way to increase your social engagement. Offer lucrative deals and discounts for customers who come and enjoy the experience with your brand on a given day. Provide a good experience and incentive for consumers to share, and they will.

Finally, use the tour as an opportunity to capture content for your brand’s owned channels. In addition to social content, you can create content for your brand website, email campaigns, and more.

6. Influencers and PR

Collaborating with influencers is an increasingly popular marketing technique, not to mention an effective way to reach a larger customer base. Brand ambassadors can help promote the tour on social media, news stations, and radio stations, helping you reach new audiences.

Provide social media content — such as posts and graphics — to the influencers in your network so they can publish brand-approved messages before the campaign. A trusted influencer’s mention of the tour is all it takes for people to start asking questions about the event and making plans to attend.

Don’t forget to invite press members to attend the event privately before the tour goes public. Hosting a kickoff party for journalists is a great way to create excitement and drive traffic to your venue.

Mobile marketing tours have the power to expose new people and markets to your brand. Executing and managing these campaigns can be challenging, but your brand can still succeed by strategizing carefully. Think about where you’ll have the tour, how customers will engage with the experience, and how you want to build buzz before putting the car in drive. With planning and these few things in mind, the open road will soon be calling.