More often than not, marketing campaigns take place with some level of detachment between the brand and its intended audience. They encounter your billboard on their evening commute; they share opinions on your social media channels; they explore your website through an enticing banner ad.  

But what if you could bring your brand closer to the audience itself, creating an opportunity for in-person connections? Not just watch it, but physically touch it or walk right inside of it? That’s the aim of experiential marketing. 

This tactic comes in many forms—from outlandish cultural phenomena like the Red Bull Flugtag to something more technology-based like augmented reality—and forms a full-sensory encounter with your brand. If you’ve been looking for a way to give your message some seismic impact, here’s how experiential marketing can help it register on the Richter scale.

Establishing Lasting Connections with Consumers

A 2016 survey by Event Marketing Institute (EMI) showed that 70% of users become regular customers after an experiential marketing event. Why the huge jump from just a single marketing effort? Because it’s not a sales pitch. Where traditional advertising is often a one-way conversation, experiential marketing brings your audience along for the ride, engaging them on a personal level. They stop feeling like consumers and feel more like companions on your brand journey.

A marketing experience give you a unique opportunity to show your audience that you care more about your message and values than simply selling a product. When they see firsthand what you’re all about, they are more likely to trust you. And trust is a fast-track to customer loyalty.

Influencing Every Stage of the Buyer’s Journey

Looking to make a strong first impression? Convert a potential buyer? Delight a regular customer? Immersing your audience in your message can accomplish all of those goals with a single event. EMI reported that 65% of customers surveyed said live events helped them have a better understanding of a product or service, and 74% of attendees were more likely to buy the products being promoted.

Red Bull experiential marketing

Red Bull’s annual Flugtag event

A marketing experience isn’t just a flashy stunt that exists in a vacuum, either. With brand representatives on hand to reinforce the message through one-on-one communication, you have the potential to expedite the buyer’s journey. As you calculate the price point of a marketing experience, it’s important to consider the potential ROI of creating not just new sales today, but brand loyalty into the future.

Maximizing Trade Show Impact

As you plan your next trade show appearance, start thinking of your booth as much more than a bit of floor space to hang signage. The event industry is projected to grow 44% from 2010 to 2020 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, so there’s no shortage of opportunities for your competitors to showcase their big ideas. Trade show attendees are walking elbow-to-elbow across a convention center visiting dozens of booths—give them something they can’t ignore or forget.

Charity:Water once put their audience in the shoes of the people the organization is trying to help by having them carry 40lb water jugs 50 yards to simulate the experience of remote villages without sustainable water. Similarly, last year GE promoted their Healthymagination initiative by creating “movie sets” of health clinics from around the world, illustrating how GE technology can help. Rather than being fed stories or statistics about these global struggles, the audiences lived it. A marketing experience at your booth can transport your audience, stealing the show for your brand.

Sparking a Social Media Wildfire

A staggering 98% of event and experience attendees are reported to create content (photos and videos) during their visit. It’s not particularly surprising, given the widespread adoption of smartphone and social media technology. Therefore, utilizing social media as part of your marketing experience isn’t just wise, it’s essential. As experiential marketing flips the script on traditional events, it makes your moment sharable, allowing it to spread like a wildfire without you having to do much work. Tools like Facebook Live bring even more audience engagement, and as posts are shared, liked and commented on, it’s easy to analyze the reach of your effort.

Even better, social media can turn your marketing experience into a content goldmine for your brand. The possibilities for engaging content are endless: video testimonials, real-time reactions, user generated content, buzz pre- and post-experience. Your messaging will come straight from the mouths (and mobile-tapping fingers) of real people, producing organic content that can have long legs into the future. People already want to interact with your brand on social media and a marketing experience will give them something to rave about.

Want to create an unforgettable IRL experience for your audience? We’d love to help you make it happen!

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