What is the difference between watching a football game live on TV versus viewing it in the stadium? Why do you decide to attend live concerts when you can listen to your favorite music at home? You do it to get a unique and memorable experience. Participating allows you to become a part of something instead of merely witnessing it through technology. The distinctive combination of textures, sounds, tastes, smells, and sights creates an experience that you cannot get through other means.
Today, marketers worldwide have recognized the importance of experience and have started to harness it to promote their brands. Unlike traditional or digital advertising efforts, experiential advertising, also called engagement advertising, creates a long-life impression that reinforces the relationship between businesses and their customers through one-on-one interactions. It involves all the senses, igniting emotions that make long-lasting memories and build brand loyalty.
Although many brands are eager to try experiential promotion, several companies struggle to understand what it is and successfully integrate it into their publicizing strategies. This guide will provide an overview of everything you need to know about experiential marketing and what you can do to make it work for you.
What Makes Experiential Marketing Powerful?
Experiential marketing aims at creating meaningful relationships between an organization and its clients. It is designed to allow consumers to aggressively engage with a brand’s identity and its fundamental values. 74% of customers assert that taking part in a branded business marketing experience makes them more likely to purchase the promoted products.
For consumers, experiential advertising offers them an opportunity to interact and create useful connections with an organization directly. Even though you hold an event that serves thousands of people, each individual will leave with a unique experience that differs from others.
For brands, particularly small companies, experiential selling becomes a golden chance to increase consumer loyalty and boost sales directly. The activities introduce people to your brand and act as new ways to attract new customers and introduce them to their sales funnel, with 65% of businesses obtaining direct sales.
Besides direct business marketing, experiential advertising enables businesses to dramatically increase their brand exposure and awareness through converting their audience to brand ambassadors or encouraging people to post their experiences on social media. Data indicates that experiential advertising catalyzes word-of-mouth advertising, where it accounts for 50-80% of all word-of-mouth promotion. Thus, this promotion creates a great branded experience, which involves active participation and engagement and promoting the business’ message to provide lasting value.
Different Types of Experiential Advertising
Did you know that about 80% of marketers consider live events a critical factor determining their brand’s success? From face value, experiential advertising appears as simple business marketing. However, one of the challenges can be determining how you will engage your clients. Today, we live in a world where most advertising requires you to speak “at” your customers rather than connect with them. The following are some of the experiential advertising you can try:
- Classes and workshops
If you want your marketing strategy to succeed, always remember that it is not just selling products – it is about giving value to your consumers. One effective way to illustrate to your clients that you care about them and their needs is to hold classes and workshops for them to participate in during their free time. You can publish your upcoming classes and workshops on your website or advertise them on your social media accounts to ensure you get as much audience participation as possible.
- Pop-up experiences
Pop-ups have become the buzz these days. From fashion to personal care products, brands from various sectors have embraced pop-up strategies to engage with their clients and give them a taste of the services and products. Some last for a few hours, others for some days, but their impacts are significant regardless of how transient an experience is. Pop-ups allow entrepreneurs to educate, demo, impress with technology and sell right during the events. They also develop a strong sense of urgency, making passersby notice and even change their routines to assess an experience or offer. Although pop-ups take different shapes and forms, including retail stores, art installations, and live performances, they aim to improve the ordinary daily experience.
- Single person events
Special events are essential. When incorporated with the correct amount of creativity and social sharing, offering an experience that only impacts few individuals can be useful, just like holding an event that caters to multitudes of people. Offering loyal clients with an exclusive “invitation only” VIP experience is a great way to express gratitude and remain in the front position of consumers’ minds. This gesture motivates shoppers to reach new expenditure tiers, whether it is to get extra hours for late or early shopping, special cocktail hours in a VIP venue, or entertainment at a renowned restaurant, theater, or gaming event.
- Product showcases
Currently, product showcases seem to be the most popular type of experiential advertising. If educating potential clients is your primary goal of advertising, a showcase is a natural and straightforward promoting technique that suits many brands. 65% of consumers assert that live events and product demos give them a better understanding of the products than other selling techniques. Rather than mentioning and explaining products’ benefits through traditional strategies, product showcasing enables consumers to experience what they can do. When showcasing, it is not a must for you to have the actual product to allow users to experience it – there are many virtual reality technologies that can also fully immerse your target buyers in an experience.
- Direct mail
Mail is still an effective advertising technique. Since the advertising world has become digitized, direct mail can pair with your other mediums and help your organization stand out. The tactic enables you to create a meaningful and authentic relationship between you and your customers. However, when sending your customers emails, you need to have something that will help them identify you and your business, such as a call to action and a way for them to contact you.
While direct mail is interactive and memorable, it can help you get more people to recognize your promotional activities. Additionally, it offers you several ways to become creative, enables you to reach a larger audience, and differentiates your business from competitors so that you do not have to hold a large, extravagant event to engage your consumers. However, using a personalized technique can be as powerful as a physical event when done the right way.
What are the Common Features of Experiential Advertising Campaigns?
Since you have understood the meaning of experiential advertising, the time has come for you to launch your experiential advertising campaign. But before you indulge in that, it is crucial to understand what differentiates excellent campaigns from the duds.
The following are features that successful experiential advertising campaigns have in common:
- They have specific goals.
Like other advertising techniques, you need to set clearly defined goals and have a comprehensive understanding of what you want to attain. Before you try any experiential advertising tactic, you must answer the question: “Why does this need to exist in the first place?” Do you aim to enhance brand awareness and exposure, raise the number of leads, or shift potential clients towards the sales funnel? The goals you define will dictate the promoting technique you choose and how you will implement it.
- They are authentic.
While the implementation of experiential advertising aims to create authentic connections with your clients, you need to employ a proper strategy that suits your brand’s identity. Analyze what differentiates your brand from the competitors. Focus on your aesthetics and outline your business’ messages and core values. Offer your audience an opportunity to experience what your company offers truthfully.
- They tell a story.
Each successful experiential advertising campaign narrates a fascinating story and welcomes people to take part in that story. Many engagement advertising techniques use stories that target their customers’ problems with solutions or get into more powerful and more socially conscious narratives. With experiential advertising, a company can recognize consumers’ problems while illustrating what their life could look like if they had that brand.
- They follow up.
Great experiential promoting techniques put in place a process to follow up with all their participants. It is essential to maintain a relationship and keep it alive as much as you can. Keep strengthening the momentum you have developed by following up with your clients through emails, social media, phone calls, or text messages. Reinforce the primary message of your campaign and build retargeting campaigns to continue nurturing every lead and prospect registered on your warm list.
- They collect consumer feedback.
Regardless of your technique, experiential advertising works as an ideal point to collect essential insights and feedback from clients about how they perceive your brand. Just ask – many people are more than willing to share their opinions. Distribute interactive questionnaires and polls throughout your campaign to add an extra touchpoint for your audience and give yourself a chance to grab consumer insight. Develop a process that will help you monitor your social media platforms for your created hashtags and evaluate what people are saying about you on the internet.
- They are measurable.
You cannot thrive in what you cannot measure. Your previously defined goals will help you determine the method in which you will measure the success of your engagement promotional campaigns and decide your key performance indicators (KPIs). For example, if you want to raise brand awareness, you should track your social media shout-outs and the engagement levels on your social accounts.
Why Do Experiential Advertising Efforts Work?
Although other advertising methods can significantly impact your brand, experiential promotional strategies allow you to stay connected with your customers, so you can hardly forget your audience. The following reasons make experiential advertising efforts valuable:
- They create distinctive content.
Experiential advertising enables you to nurture user-generated content for your business. Although promotional content is valuable, always creating this information becomes hard. However, experiential advertising encourages you to write blogs, share videos, and conduct interviews with the participants. Correspondingly, you get all user-generated content created by satisfied consumers who tweet, vlog, and re-share your event on your behalf. This approach becomes a great way to enhance your brand’s credibility and convince new clients to give you their time.
- They develop brand affinity.
Professionals assert that experience is the primary differentiator for the digital era. In a business environment where it is challenging to earn customer loyalty, customers will shift from a brand to another with little or no consideration of product features or price. Thus, the only way to ensure your customers stick with you for extended periods is to engage with them. Experiential events offer your consumers an opportunity to know you, understand what you stand for, and in some cases, try your goods before they purchase them. Experiential advertising ideas enable you to build an affinity with your clients that boosts sales.
- They attract the media.
While experiential campaigns help you get attention, they are a great way to attract the media. With effective engagement advertising strategies, you can convince local publications and newspapers to come and cover your event. This approach can attract more people via forums, magazines, websites, and more press conferences, which will assist in creating additional business leads.
When Should You Try Experiential Advertising?
When to integrate engagement advertising in your sales strategies depends on your objectives, timeframe, and resources. However, spending vast amounts of money on a one-day event may not be the best use of your advertising budget. Instead, create an intelligent experiential activation, focus on creating experiences that accomplish the most significant objectives.
In today’s competitive business environment, brands have recognized building a strong, long-lasting, and engaging relationship with their clients as the best way to maintain their competitive edge. Consequently, taking advantage of experiential advertising is the most effective way to achieve this objective.
Giving a remarkable experience is no longer an option but an integral part of any successful marketing technique. Take your time and devise meaningful ways that can help you connect and interact with your audience effectively.