Whether you recognize the term ‘experiential marketing’ or not, you’ve likely already seen a few examples of this new trend without realizing it.
Those are two well-known examples of experiential marketing, but more and more businesses across the country and globe are adopting experiential marketing everyday.
So, what is experiential marketing?
Whereas traditional marketing follows a mostly unilateral approach (think: a business hands out pamphlets or runs advertisements,) experiential marketing focuses on directly engaging the customer in a two-way conversation or experience (hence, the name ‘experiential.’)
Instead of telling the customer about a brand, experiential marketing creates ways for the customer to engage with a brand in person, often in unique ways.
Why you need experiential marketing
Experiential marketing has proven itself to be more than just PR stunts and over-the-top campaigns, it’s moved into the realm of providing real, measurable success for businesses.
Experiential marketing goes beyond just boosting your brand or sales; it an also be used to rebrand your business or highlight non-sales endeavors like your company’s charitable efforts or community outreach campaigns. Instead of simply telling a customer about a charitable contribution or endeavor, experiential marketing allows the customer to become an active, mutual partner in that effort with the business. Experiential marketing thrives on that sense of mutual interest and excitement, versus a traditional approach of one-directional information dissemination.
Elements of experiential marketing, and how to use them in your business or event
– Create a unique hashtag for your event, business, or campaign. Experiential marketing relies heavily on 1-to-1 networking, so it’s important to get your audience spreading your campaign’s branded hashtag to their networks.
– Market without either your name or your product. This one might seem counter-intuitive, but one of the guerilla-marketing aspects of experiential marketing is how businesses use indirect measures to get people talking about and interacting with their brand. Instead of directly promoting a product, promote a trending idea or social movement that is important to your business, or promote non-business endeavors like community outreach in which your brand participates – and match both campaigns with a custom hashtag. Customers will associate your business with these efforts – leading to possibilities for rebranding – while also sharing this association via hashtags to their peers.
– Involve your audience in an actionable version of your voice or product. Don’t just tell them about your product, develop creative ways for them to experience it firsthand. Create an experiential event by setting up a mock set and allowing the audience to use your product in the test environment. Meet your audience in their own environment, and bring the action to them with a creative immersion of your product.
– Involve consumers in the direction of your business or next venture. Take a page out of Google’s book, and invite local residents to vote on how Google allotted its $5 million planned donations to the San Francisco Bay area. Or, follow Lay’s in giving consumers a voice in the next potato chip flavor the brand releases. This creates a feeling of direct involvement for the audience, and they are now personally invested in the company beyond being a marketing target.
The future of experiential events and marketing
As more and more businesses look for ways to stand out from their peers, experiential marketing is only going to grow. We will start seeing more experiential events at conferences, concerts, and other engagements; and social media campaigns will become so fluid that many consumers won’t even realize that they are participating.
And as this market continues to grow, only one question really remains: how will you join the movement?
Feature Image Copyright: Dolgachov / 123RF Stock Photo