Zach Schiffman Studio Z

33. How to excel at Customer Activation Experiences

 November 17, 2020

By  Will

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It’s episode 33 and in this episode I spoke with Zach Schiffman, founder of Studio Z Photo, a marketing agency that specialises in interactive customer activation experiences.

Customer activations are a fun and engaging way to build loyalty with your existing customers, acquire new ones, and potentially build huge exposure through word of mouth and social media.

As with all channels though, it’s crucial to do it right. Many brands see these experiences as a little add on to a booth, something that might draw people in so that the sales team can lunge.

But really, the experience is like a landing page. It’s a great way of engaging with customers, possibly capturing a bit of data from them, but importantly showing off your brand and building some interest with them. It should be the cornerstone of your event, not something half assed in the corner.

With a dual major in television production and entertainment marketing, Zach has cornered for himself a niche market that brings high-end photo and video activations to large brands and companies. 

Brands trust Zach and Studio Z to add a creative spin on the age-old photo booth and give their customers and guests a unique and instantly shareable experience. 

Brand recognition and shareability are the key goals of any successful brand activation, but giving guests a memory they want to share, brings our experiences to the next level.

Key Highlights:

 05:36 - 20:52 - What are Photobooths and How Can Brands Use them? - They’ve been around for years, but mainly literally as photobooths, but nowadays its different, now its more of an engaging experience that is fun for the audience, and includes a visual element which is used to enhance the experience on social media. At the end of the day the goal is for the audience to go away happy and excited about how they’ve interacted with the brand, not just with some gimmicky mug or photo.

21:09 - 28:38 - Myths & Misconceptions about Photobooths - A lot of people think that by having some sort of fun, interesting element to their booth or event space, people will share it, they’ll have fun and be more engaged with the brand, you see this alot in B2B events. Actually, most of the time the experience has no longevity, noone thinks back and says ‘oh remember that, that was awesome’. It’s also not really a ‘photobooth’ now, its a full experience, the photo part comes in because there is normally a photo or video element to it that can be shared. Some of the examples Zach shared here are fantastic and definitely worth a listen to.

28:54 - 34:50 - Key Things For Brands To Consider - Budget. These things aren’t particularly cheap anymore, particularly to do it right. You’re not just hiring a photobooth, you’re hiring the creativity and expertise that will generate an ROI for you. Also, if you’re working with an agency on this, provide as much information and be as collaborative as you can. Let them know what else you’re doing at the event, what might be supporting it externally, and what your goals are, and the experience can be crafted to support other activities. This bit is just so crucial, and is linked to the misconception that its ‘just a photobooth’, it’s not.

35:37 - 39:45 - Biggest Mistakes People Make - Linked to the assumption that people will just share it, is the assumption that by it being there everyone will use it and go crazy for it. You have to promote it, you have to support it. Zach mentions that sometimes it seen as an afterthought, but can actually be one of the best parts of the event. So don’t just treat it as some checkbox item that just needs to be there, treat it as a crucial part of the experience that will engage customers.

39:49 - 45:07 - Online to Offline - These experiences can also be a great way of driving traffic into stores. You can have an online microsite experience then drive customers in-store for another experience there, and the people likely to make the effort to go to a store are also more likely to be actual potential customers. You can be so creative to utilise both physical and virtual photo booth experiences, to drive business either in-store or online.

45:30 - 58:10 - What are the Big Trends Coming Up? - As 2020 has shown, the QR code is back, and there are some fantastic opportunities to use these on brand packaging, advertising, in-stores, wherever you want, and these can link to a virtual experience. TikTok could also be a big part of developing these experiences, seeing the different trends and the way people create and interact with the video there could inspire activation experiences.

58:31 - 1:02:28 - Zachs Pet Peeves - Retargeting, especially when it’s everywhere, and doubly especially when its a product he’s already bored. It’s annoying because its so obvious to you because you have literally just bought that product, and more annoying as a marketer knowing there’s loads of money going to waste.

1:02:39 - 1:05:57 - Zachs Underrated Aspect of Marketing - A clean brand. Nice typeface, good spacing, quality imagery. A nice, clean, professional looking brand is fantastic, especially when that branding crosses over into everything, whether it’s the headquarters, their shops, emails, and the products themselves. Having that consistency with branding, and going the extra mile is really underrated.

If you’d like to hear more from Zach you can connect with him on LinkedIn or go to the Studio Z website.


Will is a Customer Journey Marketing consultant, specialising in CRO, CRM and Customer Experience. Will has over 7 years experience working across a range of consumer facing businesses and has worked for huge brands such as MyVoucherCodes, Europcar, JackpotJoy, Virgin Games and Virgin Bet.


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