Experiential marketing, also known as live marketing or event marketing, is a strategy where consumers are engaged via branded experiences. Experiential marketing is a way for businesses to build brand awareness through face-to-face connections with consumers. Experiential marketing campaigns are immersive, live, and memorable and help businesses attract the attention of their target audience without distraction.
Understanding experiential marketing
Note that these campaigns do more than just promote a product or service. Instead, they are designed to encourage customers to actively engage with the core values of a brand.
Almost 75% of consumers say that branded event marketing experiences make them more likely to buy the product being promoted.
Compared to traditional marketing strategies, branded events create a much stronger impression in consumers’ minds.
Experiential marketing events may take the form of trade shows, sponsorships, test drives, kiosks, contests, in-store experiences, and in-person surveys.
Some of these events may cater to thousands of people, but each will come away with an experience that is unique to them.
In an age characterized by consumers craving personalized experiences and meaningful interactions before purchasing from a brand, experiential marketing is now seen as a fundamental pillar of any marketing strategy.
The three key pillars of experiential marketing
To understand experiential marketing, we must first understand the elements that constitute a great branded experience.
Such an experience should always contain the following three pillars.
1 – Active participation and engagement
First and foremost, the consumer must be able to actively engage with a brand. Active engagement may constitute anything from taking a photo and sharing it on social media to participating in a game.
Chocolate brand Milka produced 10 million bars of chocolate with a single piece missing.
The company then set up a website offering confused customers a choice: they could opt to have the missing piece of chocolate posted to them or have it sent to a friend or family member instead.
This campaign gave fans the chance to interact with the company in a meaningful way.
2 – Brand message and values promotion
Experiential marketing should always be about the brand itself. The businesses must allow consumers to experience the brand – simply telling them that the brand is the best is not enough.
Budget airline Scoot set up makeshift change rooms in the middle of Melbourne, a large Australian city with a population of approximately 5 million.
Pedestrians were encouraged to dress in a Grecian toga for their chance to win airline tickets to Athens.
The campaign caused much energy and enthusiasm and allowed Scoot to reinforce its fun, contemporary brand.
3 – Long-lasting value
Experiential marketing should provide long-term value to an audience. Value is facilitated through a memorable brand experience that sticks in the mind of consumers long after the event has taken place.
Athleisure brand Lululemon organizes free yoga classes in selected retail stores.
This allows the company to build authentic, long-term relationships with customers by providing the sort of value it knows customers appreciate.
Experiential marketing examples
For a business to build much deeper connections with its community, a great example of experiential marketing is an event like Salesforce’s Dreamforce.
This is one of the most successful events in the business world, which brings together employees, customers, and the whole community, which works as a catalyst.
The event is so big that when it happens each year, San Francisco’s hotel rooms used to be fully booked.
While Dreamforce is a vast event encompassing thousands of people.
Another great experiential marketing example is small meetups.
Indeed, on a platform like Meetup, you find thousands of small, local events, which can be a great way to build a small, local community.
Another excellent example of experiential marketing is a company like Lush, which uses its stores to have clients feel and experience its products.
For instance, one of the most successful products the company sells is the Bath Bomb, which can be experienced within its stores.
Experiential marketing is critical, especially for digital players, where creating real connections with a community can be much more challenging.
Experiential marketing helps bring this experience into the real-world to create a much deeper connection with your community.
- Experiential marketing is a way for businesses to build brand awareness through face-to-face connections with consumers.
- Experiential marketing events may take the form of trade shows, sponsorships, test drives, kiosks, contests, in-store experiences, and in-person surveys. Some events cater to thousands of people, but each consumer walks away with a unique, personalized experience.
- Experiential marketing is based on the three key pillars of a branded experience: active participation and engagement, brand message and values promotion, and long-lasting value.
What is an example of experiential marketing?
Experiential marketing is about creating more profound customer experiences so they can connect more deeply with the company and product. A great example is how a cosmetics company, Lush, lets customers experience its Bath Bombs by putting their hands in a bath tab to feel the product and experience it within the store.
Why do brands use experiential marketing?
Brands can use experiential marketing as an extension of their marketing strategy to create a deeper connection with their customers. Experiential marketing makes the company create real-world experiences that can lead to a much deeper connection between the brand and the customer, thus leading to increased customer loyalty, brand recognition, customer retention, and customer referral.
What are the three key elements of experiential marketing?
The three critical elements of experiential marketing are:
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