What Is Experiential Marketing? Experiential Marketing In A Nutshell

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.

Key takeaways

  • 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?

Other Types Of Marketing

Email Marketing

Email marketing leverages a set of tactics to build a stronger brand, drive traffic to your products, and build a solid funnel for converting leads into loyal customers. While email marketing isn’t new, it’s still one of the most effective marketing strategies to build a valuable business.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing describes the process whereby an affiliate earns a commission for selling the products of another person or company. Here, the affiliate is simply an individual who is motivated to promote a particular product through incentivization. The business whose product is being promoted will gain in terms of sales and marketing from affiliates.

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing involves the marketing of products or services that leverages the popularity, expertise, or reputation of an individual. Influencer marketing is often associated with those who have large social media followings, but popularity should not be confused with influence. Influence has the power to change consumer perceptions or get their audience to do something different.

Sustainable Marketing

Sustainable marketing describes how a business will invest in social and environmental initiatives as part of its marketing strategy. Also known as green marketing, it is often used to counteract public criticism around wastage, misleading advertising, and poor quality or unsafe products.

E-commerce Marketing

E-commerce marketing is part of the digital marketing landscape, and beyond, where e-commerce businesses can enhance their sales, distribution, and branding through targeted campaigns toward their desired audience, convert it into loyal customers which can potentially refer the brand to others. Usually, e-commerce businesses can kick off their digital marketing strategy by mastering a single channel then expand for a more integrated digital marketing strategy.

Buzz Marketing

Buzz marketing leverages the power of word-of-mouth advertising to create products or services with enough novelty that they go viral. In many cases, buzz marketing leverages on versatile content that can easily scale and be readapted to various contexts and fear of missing out (FOMO) to amplify the effect of word-of-mouth campaigns.

Shotgun Marketing

Shotgun Marketing
Shotgun marketing is a form of above-the-line (ATL) marketing, where popular mediums such as TV and radio are used to market to a mass audience. This technique of marketing targets as many consumers as possible. Also known as mass marketing, the technique attracts a large number of leads that, on average, might be of lower quality in nature.

Multichannel Marketing

Multichannel marketing executes a marketing strategy across multiple platforms to reach as many consumers as possible. Here, a platform may refer to product packaging, word-of-mouth advertising, mobile apps, email, websites, or promotional events, and all the other channels that can help amplify the brand to reach as many consumers as possible.

Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is a marketing strategy designed to attract customers to a brand with content and experiences that they derive value from. Inbound marketing utilizes blogs, events, SEO, and social media to create brand awareness and attract targeted consumers. By attracting or “drawing in” a targeted audience, inbound marketing differs from outbound marketing which actively pushes a brand onto consumers who may have no interest in what is being offered.

Partnership Marketing

With partnership marketing, two or more companies team up to create marketing campaigns that help them grow organically with a mutual agreement, thus making it possible to reach shared business goals. Partnership marketing leverages time and resources of partners that help them expand their market.

Growth Marketing

Growth marketing is a process of rapid experimentation, which in a way has to be “scientific” by keeping in mind that it is used by startups to grow, quickly. Thus, the “scientific” here is not meant in the academic sense. Growth marketing is expected to unlock growth, quickly and with an often limited budget.

Guerrilla Marketing

Guerrilla marketing is an advertising strategy that seeks to utilize low-cost and sometimes unconventional tactics that are high impact. First coined by Jay Conrad Levinson in his 1984 book of the same title, guerrilla marketing works best on existing customers who are familiar with a brand or product and its particular characteristics.

Ambush Marketing

As the name suggests, ambush marketing raises awareness for brands at events in a covert and unexpected fashion. Ambush marketing takes many forms, one common element, the brand advertising their products or services has not paid for the right to do so. Thus, the business doing the ambushing attempts to capitalize on the efforts made by the business sponsoring the event.

Relationship Marketing

Relationship marketing involves businesses and their brands forming long-term relationships with customers. The focus of relationship marketing is to increase customer loyalty and engagement through high-quality products and services. It differs from short-term processes focused solely on customer acquisition and individual sales.

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