Digital marketing is one of the industry sectors that is evolving exponentially. New technology keeps emerging in light of the digital transformation, which leads to new marketing techniques and the weakening of traditional marketing strategies.
To keep up with the evolution of content marketing and digital advertising, Google regularly updates its algorithm. Also, brand marketing is trying to keep up with evolving audiences that demand a unique shopping experience and emotional connection with the brands they support. Brand experience is a relatively new medium in marketing, and its popularity is rising, thanks to the evolving needs of today’s globally-connected audiences.
When executed with authenticity, experiential marketing campaigns become humanistic, holistic, and immersive messaging platforms that appeal to today’s customers. Almost every example of experiential marketing will value live content experiences over material things and are willing to spend time to get to know the brands they consider supporting.
The future of marketing is rooted in the brand experience. The number of top brands that decide to leverage experiential campaigns is growing at a fast pace because it’s a strategy that helps them create intimate relationships with their customers. This type of experiential marketing strategy provides customers first-person, one-on-one experiences tied to your brand that gives them an original and remarkable moment. From a brand’s perspective, it is one of the few marketing trends that is delivering results that are tangible.
Why Do Brands Use Experiential Marketing?
Branded live events, as part of an event marketing strategy, have shown to produce a long-lasting effect on participants (longer than any other type of marketing strategy). But that is just one of many reasons why brands use experiential marketing. Here are some takeaways for engagement marketers considering experiential marketing in their marketing strategy.
Customers love (personalized) experiences
First and foremost, Millennials, Gen Zers and yes, even Boomers want memorable customer experiences that are worth talking about. Purchase preferences are changing with newer generations, and they don’t want to spend that much money on things. They are willing to pay for experiences. According to industry insights from Harris Group, 72% of Millennials said that they prefer spending money on experiences instead of on things. They feel more fulfilled by live experiences.
Furthermore, when engaging with a brand, customers want unique and personalized experiences (not the same ones that other customers get). Marketing trends also report that 80% of customers said they’re more likely to purchase from brands that offer personalized experiences and interactive content. Those experiences don’t have to be revolutionary or over-the-top; as long as they are personalized, customers will respond. An experiential marketing tactic helps brands tap into the demand for memorable experiences. Some happy and engaged consumers will also turn into brand ambassadors leading to even more brand loyalty.
Great experiences create a long-lasting impact
Experiential marketing is a surefire way to build brand awareness and brand affinity, boost brand recognition, attract new customers, and have current customers come back for more. It is the perfect catalyst for word-of-mouth since people love sharing their positive customer experiences. The chances that customers will remember your brand and purchase again increase when you offer a memorable experience worth repeating.
Customers are more “marketing-wary”
Millennials and Gen Zers have different sensibilities and customer value than the generations before them. They know all about social media marketing plans and strategies meant to build positive brand awareness and make connections with consumers.
Today’s consumers demand social awareness, authenticity, and engagement that cannot be faked or copied. They want brands with values that align with their own customer value. They look to develop relationships with brands and choose to support only those they can trust.
Also, they don’t trust marketing messaging that easily because they know there’s a marketing manager or chief creative officer on the other end of it trying to push them to make a purchase. They tend to opt-out of email campaigns, use ad-blocking extensions in their Internet browsers, and know they shouldn’t trust any marketing messaging that easily. Also, they know that experiences are what drives lasting well-being, not consumption. The branded experience, as part of an event marketing strategy, for instance, is designed to achieve customer success offers a wide range of opportunities for brands to spend time with their target audiences, and there’s nothing more authentic than that.
Mix of digital and traditional
When it comes to technology, today’s audiences are more sophisticated, but more importantly, they are not passive participants. They prefer taking an active role in the creation, curation, and ownership of personalized content during a brand experience. Thanks to cloud technology and culture, brands can customize their offerings and maintain an ongoing conversation with customers to actively engage them in experiential activations.
Experiential marketing leads to more success stories because it creates an opportunity for brands to create immersive customer experiences that blend digital, analog, and hybrid environments, which digital technologies cannot do on their own.
Strong appeal to emotions
Successful engagement marketers are aware of the power of storytelling and that it’s one of the most effective tools for appealing to their customers’ emotions. Our brains are wired to love good storytelling, and that’s why brands like Disney have always enjoyed intimate and deep relationships with their audiences.
Thanks to experiential marketing tactics, you can humanize your brand and get an opportunity to tell its story. To create an engaging story, you need to know what you want your audience to feel and determine the inspiration behind your brand.
It helps everyone stop and focus on each other
Many other digital marketing channels are busy competing with a huge amount of white noise. What they cannot provide that successful experiential marketing can is time. Your activation attendees are giving you their time and attention because they want to feel a connection, which is an excellent opportunity for authentic brand engagement. Branded experience is a chance for both brands and audiences to stop, take a deep breath, and share an experience. It has the potential to become the future of marketing because its power lies in providing authenticity and excitement to customers’ lives.
An excellent example of experiential marketing plans is the pop-up strategy of House of Vans. They have event spaces in New York, Chicago, and London, but can also be seen appearing as pop-ups in various locations. Their target audience is the skateboarding community, and they create these events so the community can get together and enjoy sports, music, and film.
During the 2019 International Women’s Day, House of Vans used its event spaces to promote women in skateboarding by hosting live music shows, skate sessions, and documentary screenings. They used the event to promote female visibility within the skateboarding scene, which is a part of their brand’s overarching marketing strategy.
As for amplifying an experiential marketing campaign, brands should integrate their experiential marketing strategies with other marketing channels. For example, social media marketing and experiential activations should always go hand in hand because people are likely to share their live experience by posting a photo or video on their social media profiles. That makes social media perfect for boosting the reach of experiential marketing campaigns.
Successful experiential marketing creates moments that brands can use to move their customers through the buyer’s journey, or provide an engaging experience while the customer is in the middle of the purchase funnel. As audiences demand more personalization, the importance of experiential marketing is steadily increasing because it gives brands the ability to elevate and transform their connections with consumers and increase their brand loyalty to turn their customers into brand ambassadors.
Want to work directly with an accomplished experiential marketing agency with 25 years of experience? Pro Motion is an industry leader in brand management by creating engaging, effective engagement marketing campaigns. Give us a call at 636.449.3162.
Learn More About Experiential Marketing from PMI President Steve Randazzo in his book Brand Experiences: Building Connections in a Digitally Cluttered World. Click here to download 2 free chapters!