Is experiential marketing a good fit for your business?
If you’re ready to experiment with your marketing, try experiential marketing methods.
What is experiential marketing?
Experiential marketing is just what it sounds like – marketing through an experience. Experience connects you to customers in a way that print and digital advertising doesn’t. While video, radio, magazines, social media, and billboards might be a way to get information passed off to busy customers and clients in a succinct and visually interesting way, experiential marketing helps take your branding to another level.
There are several types of experiential marketing and it falls under different names including: “brand experiences,” “live marketing,” “event marketing,” and “participation marketing.” However, they all of them require research and planning, as well as an understanding of the type of audience you’ll be interacting with and a clear goal for your experiential branding.
Some reasons for using experiential marketing include:
- Generating buzz and word of mouth for your brand or event
- Connecting better with Millennial and Generation Z groups, who value experiences over products
- Potentially stand out as unique from competitors
One of the reason these marketing experiences are so valuable is they provide a shared experience, and therefore something for people to talk about, with each other and with people outside of the experience. But one critical thing to remember about the best experiential marketing campaigns – they are purposeful. They connect your customer to your story or your product. They can be sensational – and often are – but they aren’t simply gags for publicity. You don’t need to hire a blimp to dump 1 million stress balls over a stadium to make an impact – in fact, being more genuine and thought-provoking can be more beneficial.
Who is using experiential marketing?
Some of the best brand experience examples are those big brands that are trying to rebrand themselves, re-position in the market, appeal to a new base, or launch a new product. One example of a popular and effective brand experience was when Ikea, the furniture superstore, hosted a sleepover. Because this was a once in a lifetime experience for customers – when else do you get to have a slumber party where you buy your coffee table? – it caused a stir and had their name in the news. Other examples of the best uses of experiential marketing are:
- Breweries doing tastings and tours
- Restaurants hosting cooking classes
- Author events at a bookstore
- Art classes at a gallery
- Pop up shops at a concert or festival
Another popular way that brands engage in experiential marketing is during the lead up to and during conferences and trade shows. Brands that know they’ll be at an upcoming trade show or conference event have the time to plan and budget for experiential marketing, which could be anything from hosting a panel to a fan meet up to having a giveaway at their booth. Some companies keep the experience a surprise, while others will advertise ahead of time on social media, hyping up the event, creating a hashtag for the experience to be shared on social, and creating post event content to keep the buzz going.
Has your brand used experiential marketing to grow your business? Do you think it’s effective for brand awareness? Are there any experiential marketing campaigns you thought were well done?