What Is Experiential Marketing?
Which would you prefer: To read about something new, or to try it out firsthand? To receive a product sample in the mail, or to attend an exclusive live event with an opportunity to sample products in a unique, fun way?
Most people say they prefer to learn about new products or services by experiencing them for themselves, or by hearing about them from someone they know.
Enter experiential marketing.
Giving consumers a positive product experience at a memorable event is the idea behind experiential marketing. Companies stage strategic events that integrate entertainment or elements of fun and surprise to create a unique, hands-on brand experience with potential customers. Think of it as sampling to the extreme, using atmosphere and plenty of interaction to bring a brand promise to life.
These dynamic marketing events are particularly effective for launching new products and for demonstrating new technology, but they can also be used to simply get people talking.
The best experiential marketing efforts are sensory engaging events that showcase products or services in such a compelling way that consumers are guaranteed to remember and respond. In fact, a well-executed event can be a powerful purchase driver – they’ve been proven to influence high rates of purchases, increase receptiveness to future advertising, and generate extraordinary word-of-mouth buzz.
Such events also give companies enviable face-to-face time with prospects and create opportunities for dynamic brand differentiation. Additionally, this more personal, relevant approach is a great way to cut through the competitive clutter.
Here are five measures that can help ensure a successful experiential event.
- Reach the right audience. Launching a new high-tech skateboard? Forget hosting an event at the county fair. Any event-based promotion must target the appropriate consumer demographic for the product or service being offered. That includes gender, age, and income levels.
- Choose the right venue. Events can be privately hosted or publicly staged. It all depends on the kind of hands-on experience a company wants to deliver to its prospects and where those prospects are most likely to be found. Malls, fairs, expos, parks, airports, museums, and street corners are all spaces ripe for events. Organizations can also integrate their event through sponsorships of concerts or sporting events.
- Go local. The more national the event, the pricier it will be. Besides, it’s hard to generate brand awareness during the spectacle of say, the Super Bowl. Research shows that attendees are more likely to remember sponsors of smaller events than those of monster proportions anyway. Try a concert in the park series instead of a national concert tour, or a community fun run versus the Boston Marathon.
- Keep it intimate. For invitation-only events, keep the list of attendees small and manageable to allow customers ample opportunity to interact with the brand and time to speak with company reps.
- Alert the press. Invite the media to share in the hands-on experience and to collect testimonials from customers on the spot. Their participation can pave the way for some very positive press.