What is Experiential Marketing?
By Melissa | Dec 7, 2021 (5 min read)
B2B Marketing | Branding | Marketing | Trends
Over the past two years, many activities that used to be in person have been forced to go online.
The massive boost in online shopping, content streaming, and virtual meetings shows that many people are open to using online alternatives to real-world activities.
In the world of digital marketing, this is both good and bad news.
On the one hand, most people are more willing to engage with online advertising, content, and marketing. But, on the other hand, it means that the volume of options out there also overloads them.
This situation is where taking a novel approach, such as using experiential marketing, can be a way to stand out. Using real-life experiences to complement your digital marketing can be a great way to stand out from competitors in the overcrowded virtual world.
What Is Experiential Marketing?
Think about this: why do people choose to go to a live concert when they can watch a recorded show at home?
Why do sports fans brave the elements and crowds to watch a game or match in a stadium versus viewing it on television?
The answer is that doing something in person creates a more sensory experience. It creates a memory and a bond with the people we share it with.
An experiential marketing campaign works in the same way. Sometimes called experience marketing, engagement marketing, or sensory marketing, it is a marketing strategy that adds in-person elements and events to promote products and services.
By incorporating a unique blend of sights, sounds, textures, tastes, and smells, marketers can create a visceral, lasting impression with their prospective customers. It can help grow brand awareness with a target audience and build customer loyalty.
Experiential marketing aims to find ways to appeal to a person’s senses (sight, hearing, taste, touch, smell) and help prospects uniquely experience their product.
An experiential marketing event can complement traditional marketing and add to the customer experience.
How Does Experiential Marketing Work?
You have probably already seen, heard, touched, and tasted experiential marketing many times in your life before.
For example, you are participating in experiential marketing whenever you go to a supermarket and pass one of the booths where salespeople offer a free sample of food or drink.
Companies like Redbull have become masters of experiential marketing by driving their products around in specially designed cars and offering free samples to consumers. The company also sponsors many extreme sporting events and aims to break records while displaying its brand all over the participants’ clothes and vehicles.
Today, many companies have tested options such as pop-up stores, in-person competitions, scavenger hunts, etc., to tempt the public to interact with their brand uniquely.
Perhaps one of the simplest and most compelling examples of experiential marketing is the Today at Apple workshops and events offered free in Apple stores for people to use their phones, computers, and tablets in creative ways.
The Benefits of Experiential Marketing
Conventional marketing attempts to gain attention and build trust through marketing messages. It appeals to the emotions and intellect through visual and audio and will hopefully trigger enough interest to create action.
Experiential marketing does the reverse. It begins with an action of some sort, which aims to build an impression with prospects.
It allows customers to have direct contact with your product or service and creates active engagement from their first contact with your brand.
Experiential marketing seeks to break through the noise of conventional marketing and advertising. The more time a person spends interacting with a brand, the higher the trust and connection.
Once there has been an initial interaction, it is much easier to keep remarketing through display ads, social media ads, and email marketing.
How To Use Experiential Marketing for your Business
The most successful experiential marketing aims to create a meaningful, interactive, memorable, and unique experience for prospects and customers.
Rather than just trying to demonstrate the functions of a product or service, it’s better to get people involved in a way that will impact their emotions and sensations that might be associated with buying it.
How Can Your Brand Stand Out?
At its core, every experiential marketing strategy is about creating a more meaningful connection between a brand and its customers.
More than just promoting a certain product or service to a passive audience, try to find ways to get them involved. Experiential marketing campaigns are designed to have customers actively engage with a brand. This can be through events, free product offerings, influencer marketing collaborations, and any other type of fun experiential event.
For customers, experiential marketing allows them to interact and build a meaningful relationship with a brand directly.
Ideally, each person who interacts with your brand, products, or services will come away from it with an immersive experience unique to them.
It is also a chance to turn your current customers into brand ambassadors by encouraging participants to share their positive experiences on social media.
Alongside any conventional marketing effort you undertake, look for ways to provide samples, fun events and experiences, contests, educational events, and social media posting opportunities to grow the engagement with your audience.