Digital marketing has been the main focus for many brands in the last few years. However, there is still something significant about connecting with audiences face-to-face.
Nothing beats real-life experiences and connections, which is why marketers invest capital and energy in marketing experiences.
What Is Experiential Marketing?
Also known as engagement marketing, a succinct experiential marketing definition is the process of giving customers or prospects an experience to remember to create and build a strong connection with the brand.
Experience marketing primarily involves getting people out of the house to engage with the brand at an in-person event. Clients are not passive receivers of advertisements; they experience firsthand what the company offers.
There are also virtual and digital extensions of experiential marketing. For example, loyal customers can be invited to an in-person marketing event and continue the branded customer experience on their mobile devices when they get home.
The goal is to give customers a lasting impression of the brand, which triggers a domino effect: a delighted customer from an unforgettable marketing experience will surely tell other people about it. They may even share details on social media, increasing brand awareness and reach.
What is event marketing? It is a vital marketing strategy where consumers can shake brand representatives’ hands, talk to them, and ask them questions face-to-face. Direct customer interaction can encourage more conversions and boost brand loyalty.
While experiential marketing is a type of event marketing, there is a fine line that separates the two. Event marketing encompasses most brand-sponsored events, such as concerts or exhibits. Experiential marketing events are much more customer-centered, where clients experience something instead of being casual observers.
Customers use their five senses—or at least most—during events that impact them most.
Benefits of Experiential Marketing: Why Is It Important?
Marketing has many goals:
- Broaden audience reach.
- Convert audiences into paying customers.
- Build brand awareness, among others.
However, sales conversions are always the end goal. Experiential marketing is an important step that can lead to tons of conversions.
Here are the benefits of experiential marketing:
Marketing events with the most impact are fun, and experiential marketing takes this to the next level. The marketing objective has failed if an event is not fun because attendees will hardly remember it. Companies must put a lot of thought into crafting an event marketing plan so clients will go home with huge smiles on their faces and a positive image of the brand.
According to a 2018 survey, 91% of brand experience participants are more likely to buy the promoted product or service. In the same study, 40% of people develop brand loyalty after the event. These numbers demonstrate the effectiveness of customer experience marketing.
Leads and Sales
Experiential marketing generates important leads and sales because guests are usually required to register during events. Collecting accurate customer information during brand experiences through a digital or online registration is crucial.
Leveraging such technology during events will also streamline the marketing process. You don’t need to manually input registrants into your system when you use a digital platform for such events.
Potential customers often only have a vague idea of what a brand is about—something they’ve glimpsed on social media or an online ad. There is no face or personality attached to the brand, just a logo that sets it apart from competitors. Through experiential marketing campaigns, audiences can put a face to the brand they support.
All attendees see, hear, and experience during these events will reflect the brand, from decorations to the program, souvenirs, and the rollout of the main event. If they have a fun and engaging experience, they will come out of the event with a positive impression of the brand.
Even better, face-to-face events give companies a chance to collect first-party data.
People see brand messaging on billboards, television, magazines, and social media. However, genuinely experiencing the brand’s values is a different beast. People will feel the truth behind the message because it’s something they face firsthand.
Businesses can’t have brand experiences without inviting industry personalities, media companies, and influencers. It’s fantastic for publicity, as these guests will post about the event on social media, especially if they have a great time.
When brainstorming the best experiential marketing campaigns, you must consider what will look great on social media because most of the guests, influencers or not, will likely be posting photos and videos.
Live events will give you essential data for brand analytics. For example, attendance is important data you can process, along with social media engagement using the event’s hashtag.
Registration data will also give you leads and contact details for other marketing campaigns.
Types of Experiential Marketing
There are different event marketing strategies; some may be better for your brand than others.
One of the simplest experiential marketing examples is kiosks, which are common in trade events that span several days. Booths at trade shows often offer food, drinks, and free samples of products. But you can be more creative than that! For example, you can offer a photobooth or augmented reality experience that showcases an essential element of your brand.
Pop-up stores are among the best interactive marketing examples. It keeps audiences excited and leaves them wanting more, as they are only available over a few days.
One of the most notable pop-up events is M&M: Flavor Rooms in New York City. It was fun, colorful, delicious, and interactive. Guests visited color-coded rooms, ate M&Ms, and took fun photos. What’s even cooler is that attendees and online followers were given a voice on which flavor M&M should be launched next. The English toffee peanut became the public’s flavor of choice.
This is one of the most compelling examples of marketing experiments.
Festivals draw thousands of attendees and are excellent venues to raise brand awareness and showcase your products. Music-related sponsorship events are worth $1.6 billion.
Cupcake Winery is one of the most renowned event marketing examples as one of the biggest sponsors of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. The brand has developed a holistic experience for Coachella participants with its wine, food, and arts to give attendees a fantastic backdrop for their Instagram posts.
Companies are constantly jockeying to have a place in the world’s biggest sporting events. Pepsi, for example, has already claimed the stage for the Super Bowl halftime show.
Another incredible customer engagement marketing example was Haagen Dazs at Wimbledon. The ice cream brand set up a photo booth where attendees could create their own GIFs advertising its newest flavor.
You can reward loyal customers with invitations to a launch party for a brand-new product or service. This is a fantastic event marketing strategy for customer retention and building loyalty.
At launch parties, you can allow loyal customers to try new products before they become available to the public. This sneak peek demonstrates how much you value their opinion, and the customers can share their experience with others in their social circle.
Experiential marketing ideas are not limited to in-person events—it is easy to have extensions in the digital world.
For example, Nike created a virtual world on Roblox’s gaming platform. It’s a fun and unique experience that gave both brands a lot of publicity. And it is just one aspect of Nike’s brand experience marketing; they have leveraged plenty of them to target shoe and athleisure enthusiasts.
Future of Experiential Marketing
Event marketing ideas are only going to get better and much more advanced. With the help of experienced experiential marketers, brands will be clamoring for more marketing brand engagement on top of the pomp and pageantry of such events. Businesses are also expected to put a good chunk of their marketing budgets on more branded customer experiences.
Most businesses need help with effective marketing, particularly in developing long-term strategies and tactics. Not all brand experience examples work for all companies, so it’s essential to recognize which works for you.
A small business, for example, cannot do a big pop-up event like M&M’s Flavor Rooms because it has yet to develop a large following. Instead, opting for fun, immersive booths in large festivals and industry events are best.
One experiential marketing strategy that will become more popular in the future is incorporating digital experience, as in the case of Nike. There will be more augmented and virtual reality experiences, too.
Plan and Manage Experiential Marketing Campaigns with Mediatool
Develop media plans and manage your experiential campaign performance with the help of Mediatool. Manage every campaign element from one cloud-based platform to make collaborations easy and seamless.
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