The Ultimate Guide to Experiential Marketing
No longer can brands rely on traditional advertising — consumers are fast closing their eyes to advertisements they don’t want to see. In fact, over a third of internet users now use ad blockers. As Ad Age puts it, “the ad industry is moving into an existential crisis”. The solution?
Experiential marketing has become a necessity for any business because it combines the best of marketing strategies— education, engagement, excitement, and entertainment — into one comprehensive campaign. It gives memorable experiences, viral moments, and unforgettable memories which is what consumers want.
What is the experiential marketing definition?
While the rise of social media made it easier for brands to connect with consumers, it also created a clutter of unwanted ads. With so many ads flying at you from every angle, it’s not just consumers who block them out – but marketers themselves. Nothing makes a lasting impression anymore. Experiential Marketing is the solution to this marketing problem.
When companies want to stand out from the crowd, they don’t just rely on social media. That would be too easy. Instead, they devise an experience that consumers can engage with in person. These events bring brands to life and create a genuine buzz around their products and services — but it is important to choose the right agency to make sure your campaign is a hit with consumers.
What is an example of experiential marketing?
If you are new to the world of experiential marketing, finding a definition for it can be a daunting task. However, understanding how it’s done makes it easier to conceptualize, even if the definition doesn’t quite make sense. Experiential marketing is based in a physical location, but increasingly, it extends into cyberspace.
When it comes to experiential marketing, the event itself is only part of the story. The other half is the buzz it generates on social media, which leads to increased brand awareness and ultimately increased sales. When planning an event, brands should make sure they have a strong social media presence.
These are the events that create a hype:
Business events, festivals, awards
- Samplings or demos
- Stalls or demonstrations at a trade show
- Unique, imaginative experiences
- Brand loyalty activities that create a social good
In the age of ubiquitous advertising, experiential marketing has become increasingly important. Businesses are no longer looking to grab a day or a week of news coverage; they are seeking out ways to create a long-term proliferation of their brand in the minds of their audience
But these are just examples — feel free to be creative. Organize a pop-up shop, organize an event, and do something that will grab the attention of your potential customers and make them want to buy from you.
Brainstorming isn’t easy – these tips can help you create a killer marketing campaign that will blow off your competition:
1.Airbnb and “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”
To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the legendary tv show the “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” the homeowners teamed up to open the famous mansion to the public for only $30 per night.
Exclusive. Sure. Experiential. Most definitely. The story generated extensive coverage for Airbnb – it also shaped its public image.2Google Impact Challenge
In 2015, Google put aside 5.5 million dollars for ten non-profits throughout the San Francisco Bay area. But Google wanted locals to have a say.
Around the Bay area, Google set up interactive posters as voting booths. Locals simply clicked on the non-profit they felt was most important. Then, once the votes were tallied, Google split the money based on the number of votes.
Social responsibility can be at the heart of experiential marketing.
- Coca-Cola: Small World Machines
Coca-Cola isn’t synonymous with world peace. Yet, in 2013, they set up two “small world machines” in shopping malls in Pakistan and India. The machines were linked, and participants could see the other person. The goal was to work together and solve a cooperative task.
The message: peace is possible.
The campaign was a huge success. But it was also a risk. Taking overtly political messages is in vogue at the moment. However, if you pick a controversial topic, you risk alienating part of your customer base. Still, when it works, it works.
- Smirnoff Comic Book Party
When you think of Smirnoff, comic books might not be the first idea that leaps to mind. But Smirnoff knows a zeitgeist when they see one. This experiential marketing campaign is nothing more than an excuse for a giant party – and it worked!
Hosting full-sized comic illustrations and inviting guests from all across the industry, they created an event with spectacle and glamour. This wasn’t your typical black-tie event. It was a memorable experience, unlike any traditional marketing event.
Nor did Smirnoff lose sight of their brand. Keeping to the red colour scheme, bartenders dressed like fictional characters – serving classic Smirnoff drinks and cocktails, of course. It was their own experiential marketing campaign; no one else could have done anything like it.
- HBO Escape Room
Almost every big-name brand is jumping on the experiential bandwagon. Why? Because it works. Even HBO, on the back of major hits, used the popular Escape the Room game to breathe life into their incredible shows. The concept is simple: a group of people are locked inside a room and must work together to escape. There are clues, mystery, and a little mischief.
Needless to say – it was a massive hit.
HBO tailored the escape rooms to three of their biggest shows: Veep, Silicon Valley and, of course, Game of Thrones. Reinventing the game and these shows innovatively and engagingly is at the heart of a solid experiential marketing strategy. It’s being creative and passionate about your product – and getting the customer to feel the same way.
As people often put it: it’s all about the hype.
- Ralph Lauren’s Be Part of the Art
Who doesn’t want to feel glamorous for the day? When a global mega-brand like Ralph Lauren offers customers the chance, you know it’s going to be unique. Drawing upon live art, music, and design, Ralph Lauren launched a contest for their fans named the ‘Project Warehouse Campaign’.
Winners would be treated to a live portrait by famous artist Alexa Meade, a live music section by DJ and Producer AVICII – in a lounge with cocktails. Finally, they experienced their own slice of fashion heaven. Ralph Lauren’s top designer Arran Gregory created a personalized denim design for the guests.
Photos and videos were promoted on social media platforms, as well as by the guests themselves. It worked amazingly, reaching a broader audience while rewarding their loyal customers. It’s unlike any experiential marketing event before or since. And that’s the point; it’s a memorable experience whether you were there or not.
What is the purpose of experiential marketing?
You’ve found a product that you’re proud of. And with that product, there’s an opportunity to develop a great marketing strategy.
Do you know what’s boring? Television and online ads. They are everywhere, and for the most part, are repulsive. Instead, tell your story in other ways—through videos, through bloggers, through influencers that people trust. Isn’t this fun? You can even build an app or game that plugs directly into your product or service!
- Brand awareness. How are you? And what are you about?
- Lead generation. Network, and gather contacts and data on future prospects.
- Brand loyalty. Building an emotional connection with a brand keeps customers coming back.
- Sell products. Rarely do people get to sample before they buy. But once they’ve tried it, they’ll want to buy it.
- Broadcast on social media. Generate hype with a fun activity. Get your hashtag trending.
But how does all this translate to practice? Are big brands really using experiential marketing?
Yes. Yes. And double-yes.
What brands use experiential marketing?
Sports events are a great opportunity for brands looking to engage customers through experiential marketing. These events provide a space for businesses to connect with their audience, both current and future customers, in a fun, interactive environment. For example, American Express used its proximity to the 2017 US Open tennis tournament to creating an AI tennis game that encouraged fans of all ages to play virtual tennis with friends or strangers.
A successful experiential marketing campaign is dependent on the creation of an engaging experience. Whether you’re trying to get consumers to hold your product, wear a costume, try out a product, or taste a food, the most important thing is to give them an opportunity to feel something special that will bring their emotions into their decision-making process.
For brands that want to start engaging with customers in new, exciting ways, integrating real-time messaging into e-commerce websites is the way forward. In fact, companies that make use of live chat see a higher conversion rate, reduced cart abandonment rate, and lower customer service costs. In addition to these benefits are other perks like increased customer satisfaction. Customers are often frustrated when they can’t find answers to questions in web-based stores.
Don’t forget to use subtle marketing methods, such as experiential marketing to engage customers and increase brand visibility. Like Red Elephant Car Wash, you can create a memorable experience for your customers with a little creativity and personalization. FINAL THOUGHTS So, have you learned anything from the Copy Hackers Paragraph Template? We hope it helps you write a great copy! Let us know if this helped you out in the comments below!
As a marketer, you need to plan for every scenario and make sure your brand is equipped for every situation. This can be difficult at times, especially when budget and time are limited. However, good experiential marketing doesn’t have to be expensive — as demonstrated by Red Elephant Car Wash’s clever business card campaign. The ability to generate leads with minimal marketing spending is one of the main reasons businesses should consider going mobile.
M&M, who are always looking for bold ways to engage their customers, decided to let them choose the next flavour, and created “Flavour Rooms” in which to do so. Each room was dedicated to a different flavour of M&M’s: mint, orange, and of course the classic peanut. Customers were greeted with M&M-themed cocktails and snacks and invited to try each flavour and vote on which they liked best.
With Haagen-Dazs, Wimbledon is an opportunity to brand their ice cream as the official choice of Tennis. They have effectively capitalized on this by setting up a booth with a swing and inviting different famous players, models and influencers (an easy way to leverage your contacts) to be photographed on it. The social media posts that resulted from these appearances helped build the brand’s image even more.
What are common mistakes in experiential marketing?
When it comes to experiential marketing campaigns, planning is key. With proper budgeting and research, you can create a campaign that’s not only on-brand but also well received by customers. Your campaign should reflect your brand values, and make a lasting impression on your target market. A successful experiential marketing campaign relies on one thing above all else: interaction.
In today’s marketing environment, it’s important to be bold and creative. Experiential marketing campaigns are bold and creative. Ralph Lauren painted and clothed its fans; HBO locked them in a room and got them to escape. It sounds like a disaster—but in reality, it was a wild success. Application: Experiential marketing is often used in the enterprise software industry.
It was an interesting experiment which was sure to fail. People did not like being called out, and the brand that put it together surely would take a hit from all involved. After weeks of shooting and editing, the video was released on YouTube. The next day, not one person commented on the video. “I thought this was going to be the biggest mistake of my career,” Ciszewski said.
Experiential marketing is about standing out, and being creative; just don’t be bland.