In recent times, it seems consumers are trying out experiences more than ever before. But in a society where compelling digital and real-world experiences are more accessible than ever, it can be challenging to stand out without thoughtful effort.
The brands that can expedite outstanding customer experiences will be the ones that will distinguish themselves. And it’s not a mystery to executives, as 68% of marketing leaders declare their company is more competing based on customer experience. As customers become more set on experiences, several brands are turning to experiential marketing to promote those experiences.
But just what is experiential marketing, and how are you going to do it? In this article, we’ll take a broader look at what it is, reveal some of its advantages, and talk about what to study if you’re planning on doing your experiential marketing. The time to produce memorable experiences around your brand is now, so let’s get started.
What is Experiential Marketing?
It is also called engagement marketing. Experiential marketing is a marketing strategy that engages customers within a product or strongly engages them. In short, experiential marketing allows consumers to buy products or services from a brand to experience the brand. Emotional relationships between the brand and the consumer are developed through interesting and unique experiences. Experiential marketing not only includes customer engagement but also usually improves it in the process.
What are the Benefits of Experiential Marketing?
There are many, but here are just a few advantages of experiential marketing:
1. Personalized engagement
Customers desire to feel a real human relationship with your brand. 84% of consumers state being treated like a person, not a number, is very crucial to winning their business. There’s maybe no better way to treat your consumers like people than to involve them in an exciting human experience. Let them see firsthand how your brand promotes them.
2. Creation of a positive touchpoint
The more emphatic touchpoints you can have with your customers, the better. And the more associated those touchpoints, the more compelling they become. A cohesive experience is a key to gaining customer loyalty. 70% of consumers state connected processes are crucial to winning their business.
3. Social shareability
Experiences are compelling, and it shows people love capturing exciting experiences through video and then sharing them on social networks. It’s predicted that video traffic will make up 82% of IP traffic by 2022. You may see social media is there to spread the word for you, so long as you have an experience worth sharing. Placing your brand as the creator of a positive experience is a win when it comes to developing your brand vision and gaining recognition.
4. A stronger connection between product and emotion
People need to know what your product does. More importantly, though, the driving force behind why they prefer you over your competitor may come down to how your product makes them feel. Your experiential marketing should augment the feelings that come when they utilize your product. It is important to them, as consumers are 3.7 times more likely to observe seamless transitions between channels as important versus unimportant. Powerful positive emotions fascinate customers to brands. Ensure that the experience you give creates strong positive emotional responses.
Examples of Experiential Marketing
a) HBO Escape room
Escape The Room is a famous game in which a group of people are locked inside a distinct room and must answer a set of clues to escape. Escape The Room has become amazingly popular over the last few years with various versions of itself spawning all across the United States. Riding this momentum, HBO produced a mega Escape The Room experience at SXSW 2017, connecting three separate rooms into one large mystery. Every room was a recreated set of a popular HBO show. The three shows were Silicon Valley, Veep, and Game of Thrones.
This experiential marketing tactic showed to be very successful because it took attendees to be fully engaged. Given that HBO is known for its incredible programs, recreating the sets of these programs for fans to be a part of was a clever way of bringing these fictional narratives to life.
Key Learning: Be careful of popular trends and think of ways to include them in your experiential marketing strategy. Think about what’s goes well with your audience.
b) Airbnb and “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”
Experiential oughtn’t always to be about how many people you get to participate. They can be intimate experiences—but ones that get extensive media to reach.
We noticed this when Airbnb, Will Smith, and the owner of the “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” house teamed up for the show’s 30th anniversary. The house was furnished with Fresh Prince gear and made available for only $30 a night for a few nights. It was a very limited event that maintained pandemic security guidelines, but the media coverage obtained for Airbnb and “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” was extensive.
Key Learning: With a great design and the right team to pull it off, a small experience can be a very hit using other marketing channels.
c) Smirnoff Comic Book Party
Nothing is more experiential than a wholly immersive entertainment experience. In other words, an outstanding party. Smirnoff chose to design a comic book-themed industry party, inviting guests to complete a whole different world. The venue was decked with full-sized graphic comic illustrations that remained consistent with the overarching story. All brand ambassadors were clothed as characters from the illustrations, keeping the fantasy throughout the night.
From start to end, the theme of the party stayed consistent and all attendees were involved in a comic book universe. By having a red color scheme and having bartenders deck like fictional characters, Smirnoff lead to a rather memorable experience that showed off their creativity and their brand.
Key Learning: Completely commit to the experiential strategy and ensure that all other stakeholders have got in as well. This guarantees an immersive and unforgettable experience for consumers.
d) Tinder pride-slide
At Pride events in NY, Tinder set up a 30 foot “Pride Slide,” with ‘Slide Into Your Senator’ written down the side. The side length signifies the 30 states that don’t have anti-discriminatory laws guarding the LGBTQ+ community.
For each person that rode the slide, Tinder gave $10 to efforts to pass the federal Equality Act. Throughout the same summer of this event, they also extended free advertising to nonprofits that helped the LGBTQ+ community.
Key Learning: Experiential marketing can be fun while also maintaining a value your company has stood by for years. Be cautious here, though. Consumers understand when your team is being authentic or when you’re just putting on a show.
Strategies to Make the Most of Experiential Marketing
Designing an experiential marketing campaign may appear daunting at first, but with the precise preparation, you’ll build an event that keeps your product uppermost in many proposed customers’ minds. Here are seven tips for getting things right:
1. Understand your audience.
How well do you know your target audience’s goals and motivations? Understanding what your audience needs and desires will shape practically all elements of the experiential program. Get input from workers with first-hand knowledge of your customers (customer service representatives, sales staff, client account executives, etc.) to help guide program development.
2. Define your goals.
Any event worth designing must have a set purpose and budget. Without these elements, the process may miss focus, team members’ roles and duties may needlessly overlay and you’ll lack a way to measure its effectiveness afterward.
3. Think outside the box.
Much of the progress of any experiential marketing campaign depends on its freshness and different appeal to consumers. Clichéd or run-of-the-mill themes or messaging will likely fall flat. Work hard to build a different and more exciting theme for your campaign, something people will react to because they haven’t seen anything like it before.
4. Don’t try to do this alone.
The time and effort included in designing, planning, and executing a strong event are simply too much for any particular individual. Your efforts are better used in assembling a skilled, experienced team. If you’re outsourcing specialists to manage the program, be sure to share with them all above-the-line marketing materials utilized in previous campaigns (print and online ads, billboards, TV commercials, etc.). This helps ensure flexibility in messaging, as well as in the planning and execution of the event.
5. Leverage social media.
If social media isn’t already an essential element in your planning process, now’s the opportunity to act! Support the upcoming campaign on Twitter and Facebook, upload an event-related video to YouTube, increase awareness through your company blog, build a Twitter hashtag and publicize it in your marketing materials, (promotional tools, T-shirts), etc. The reach and influence of social media can’t be exceeded.
6. Set up systems to measure effectiveness.
You can’t assess the success of your campaign without some built-in metrics. These might involve:
- Mentions of your brand or product across social media platforms
- Attendance at events
- Consumer feedback before, during, and after an event
- Survey results measuring changes in customer perception of the brand
7. Stay flexible
Experiential marketing by its very nature is fast-paced, usually unpredictable, and never the same thing twice. Be ready to adapt to changes in plan, while never losing sight of the “fun element” – both for you and the people you invite to the event.
In this article, we have learned a lot about experiential marketing, its benefits, strategies, and examples. After reading it you may understand that sometimes it becomes crucial to experiment with tactics that may lead to success in the future.