What Is Experiential Marketing?

What Is Experiential Marketing?
Article by Bisera Stankovska
Last Updated: November 04, 2023

In today's digital era, new advertising methods have emerged while traditional approaches have evolved. You need to rely on creativity and innovation to capture people's attention in a world desensitized to traditional ads. Enter experiential marketing — an opportunity for brands and marketers worldwide.

This article focuses on explaining what experimental marketing is, the different types, and the benefits it brings. If you’re ready for a fresh perspective but don’t know where to start, you can always hire one of the top digital marketing companies that can revolutionize your approach.

What Is Experiential Marketing?

Experiential marketing, often referred to as engagement marketing or event marketing, is an advertising strategy that focuses on creating immersive and interactive experiences to engage consumers with a brand. Unlike traditional advertising methods that rely on one-way communication, experiential marketing aims to involve consumers actively, allowing them to touch, feel, and experience the brand in a memorable way.

This approach focuses on forming a deep emotional connection between the consumer and the brand by providing unique and engaging experiences. It often takes the form of:

  • Live events
  • Pop-up activations
  • Product demonstrations
  • Interactive installations
  • Guerilla marketing
  • Immersive technology
  • Personalized brand experiences

Some of the goals of experiential marketing are to:

  • Leave a lasting impression
  • Generate positive word-of-mouth
  • Foster brand loyalty
  • Boost brand awareness and create buzz
  • Actively involve consumers in the brand’s story
  • Create a strong brand association with positive emotions and memorable experience

Experiential marketing agencies focus on providing real-life, firsthand experiences of a brand’s offerings, surpassing the mere bombardment of flashy, unsubstantiated self-promotion.

Four Types of Experiential Marketing

These are the most common types of experiential advertising:

Event Marketing

The most used type of experiential advertising is organizing events. You can go for more conventional events that will serve to promote your brand, such as conferences, presentations, or meetups.

You can always use these events to talk about your brand to the audience, but in this case, there’s not much interaction. Therefore, there’s a danger that it will turn into a traditional, one-way attempt to explain why your company is the best, unlike all other companies that also claim that they’re the best — and you want to avoid this.

So, it’s best to make these events about your industry or a certain cause, with your company being merely the sponsor and the initiator. This will leave more room for a quality exchange of ideas that can create an actual memorable experience, unlike blabbering on and on about your product.

However, you can also go for less conventional events such as parties, picnics, festivals, or competitions. If you decide to do this, just make sure that the type of event you choose fits your brand. If you organize a music festival to promote a law office, this can be interpreted as a desperate attempt to look too cool and funky, which can make a serious business seem awkward and ridiculous.

Workshops and Classes

Offering your customers free or affordable workshops or classes can also generate some significant engagement on their part. How exactly you will conceive these classes and put them to work depends on your industry, as well as the messages that your brand wants to send. Just make sure they’re related to your branch and that they involve more than just explaining how to use some of your products. A lesson or a workshop should provide some real value for the user if you want it to be effective marketing-wise.

Brand Activations

Brand activations are usually employed when a company is introducing a new product or line of products, or when an entirely new company wants to present itself to the public. The point of brand activations is to gain some initial recognition for the product and convince people to try it.

You can do this by simply organizing free tastings or samplings of the product, but to use the full potential of this strategy, you may go beyond that. Try grabbing people’s attention in a more innovative way. Let them experience not just your new product, but everything your brand stands for. Use the opportunity to tell them the story about your business and your values.

Moreover, don’t just approach them and offer them the product. Try creating a situation in which they’d need your product to show its benefits and usefulness.

Technology-Inspired Experiential Marketing

Using highly engaging technology to create unique experiences for consumers is the future of experiential marketing. Experiential marketing normally entails having some real-life contact with the brand. But with technologies on the brink of erasing the border between reality and simulation, it’s possible to create a digital experience with the same effect as any authentic physical event.

Probably the most used pieces of technology in this respect are virtual and augmented reality. You can use these to show your customers how your production process works or tell the story about your company or your products. AR can help you make super-amusing interactive catalogs and menus or even make your products come to life.

Whether to simply entertain the users or to provide them with additional info about products (or both), it’s a highly effective approach. For instance, marketing campaigns that use AR technology have an average dwell time of 75 seconds, which is 30 times more than an average TV or radio ad.

This is why top digital agencies are increasingly incorporating AR into their marketing strategies. They recognize its power to captivate audiences far longer than traditional media.

Benefits Of Experiential Advertising For Your Brand

As a unique marketing approach, experiential advertising brings several benefits:

Experiential Marketing Can Make Your Business Stand Out

People are flooded by all sorts of commercials nowadays. Some marketing experts claim that an average American is exposed to 4,000 to 10,000 ads daily. Naturally, this makes them indifferent and skeptical towards all traditional forms of marketing.

By letting them experience and interact with your brand, you can draw their attention and stand out from the crowd of brands desperately trying to reach their target market. That’s why experiential marketing is becoming increasingly popular — 77% of marketers use it as a vital part of their brand’s advertising strategy.

Experiential Marketing Involves Two-Way Communication

In recent years, marketers have emphasized the importance of understanding advertising as a means of two-way communication between brands and customers. Experiential marketing radically changes the way companies interact with their audience.

Of course, it’s crucial that you don’t just offer people great fun and amusement at your event or your workshop but also think of a creative way to associate this event with your brand or your product. The importance of this interactive approach has been explained by many renowned educators and psychologists.

For instance, Edgar Dale used this notion as a foundation for his Cone of Experience. According to this concept, people normally remember 10% of what they read, 20% of what they hear, 30% of what they see, and a staggering 90% of what they do.

This further means that people will generally have a much easier time recognizing your brand if there’s a way you can convince them to get engaged and do stuff rather than watch your billboards, TV commercials, and banner ads.

Experiential Marketing Can Boost Brand Awareness

Using the services of experiential marketing companies is a great way to build awareness about your brand. There are multiple ways this normally happens:

First, a truly ingenious campaign will attract media interest. Getting proper, unpaid media coverage is the best way to spread the word about your company without spending a dime on promotion.

Furthermore, you should never underestimate the power of word of mouth. A person fascinated by your experiential campaign will be more inclined to tell a friend about it — and about you as well. This is hugely important since 92% of consumers will trust their friends’ and peers’ recommendations more than any actual advertisement.

Finally, a quality campaign of this kind can boost your online presence as well. Although experiential marketing events happen in a real-life environment rather than the digital realm, they can still get viral.

Experiential Marketing Helps Build Emotional Relationships With Customers

To gain a truly loyal customer or fan base, it’s essential that you get people emotionally attached to your brand. You can do that by letting them try your product and see what your company is all about first-hand. This paves the way for the potential of referral programs that you can introduce.

This way, you can help them get familiar with your brand’s philosophy, ideas, and values. In addition, by letting them partake in the advertising process, you’re presenting your company as being open, accessible, and helpful.

This is the first step to building an emotional relationship with the customers, which in turn boosts their loyalty. 82% of consumers claim they always buy from brands they’re loyal to, and are generally much more inclined to spend large amounts of money on these brands or tell a friend about it.

You’ll also have a chance to get some live feedback about your product or your campaign from ordinary, everyday folks. All these actions tend to put a human face on your brand and improve its image.

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Six Steps on How To Develop an Experiential Marketing Strategy

Experiential marketing is about creating meaningful connections and emotions. You have to be authentic, align your experiences with your brand values, and strive to deliver exceptional moments that resonate with your audience. To do this, develop an effective experiential marketing strategy. Here's a general framework to help you get started:

Step #1: Set Clear Objectives

Define the specific goals you want to achieve through your experiential marketing efforts. Whether it's increasing brand awareness, driving product sales, or enhancing customer loyalty, having clear objectives will guide your strategy and help you measure success.

Step #2: Understand Your Target Audience

Conduct thorough research to understand your target audience's preferences, behaviors, and interests. Identify what experiences would resonate with them and align with their values. This insight will help you design experiences that are relevant and engaging.

Step #3: Craft the Experience

Develop a concept for your experiential marketing campaign that aligns with your brand identity and objectives. Consider how you can create unique and memorable experiences that will captivate your audience. Think about the sensory elements, interactive components, and emotional triggers you can incorporate.

Step #4: Choose the Right Channels and Touchpoints

Determine the most effective channels and touchpoints to reach your target audience. This could include live events, pop-up installations, social media platforms, or collaborations with influencers. Select the channels that will provide the best opportunity to engage your audience and amplify your message.

Step #5: Plan and Execute

Create a detailed plan for executing your experiential marketing campaign. Define timelines, allocate resources, and establish clear roles and responsibilities. Consider logistics, such as venue selection, production requirements, staffing, and technology needs. Ensure all aspects are well-coordinated and aligned with your overall strategy.

Step #6: Measure and Evaluate

Establish metrics and methods to measure the success of your experiential marketing campaign. This can include tracking attendance, gathering feedback, monitoring social media engagement, and analyzing sales or brand perception data. Evaluate the impact of the campaign against your objectives and use the insights gained to refine future strategies.

If this seems like too much work, you can always browse through our list of top advertising agencies.

Four Experiential Marketing Examples

  1. Event Marketing in Action: Sensodyne
  2. Workshops & Classes in Action: Lululemon Athletica
  3. Brand Activations in Action: Tribord
  4. Immersive Technology in Action: City Social

Here are some winning examples of brands using experiential marketing the right way:

Event Marketing in Action: Sensodyne

A good example of successful event marketing comes from the toothpaste and mouthwash brand Sensodyne. Focused on the protection of sensitive teeth, the company organized an all-day event to put emphasis on this issue.

It took place in Potters Field Park in London, which was divided into three zones, where people could play games, take photos with a huge molar, have a dental check-up, and partake in a Guinness record-breaking lesson in oral hygiene.

This way, Sensodyne raised awareness about the importance of oral hygiene, provided people with amusing experiences, and gained some substantial social media visibility.

Workshops & Classes in Action: Lululemon Athletica

The best way to explain how to make this strategy work is by invoking one of the most successful examples of experiential marketing of this kind. Lululemon Athletica is a sports clothing retailer. Among other products, they sell yoga shirts, shorts, pants, mats, and stretching straps.

They gave free yoga classes weekly to promote their business, build up their community, and attract new customers. It’s a great way to engage people who are already interested in yoga but still aren’t loyal to any brand of yoga clothing.

Offering them to attend a free class and meet other people of the same interests surely provoked a certain emotional reaction towards the company. A great little trick to boost brand loyalty and contribute to the well-being of the community.

Brand Activations in Action: Tribord

Watersports equipment Tribord created a fake drink called “Wave” and offered it to passersby.

The trick was that the can was full of seawater. What the company wanted to achieve was to evoke a sense of drowning in people who tried the drink. It was an ingenious way to remind people about the dangers at sea and the importance of quality watersports gear.

Immersive Technology in Action: City Social

A great example of clever AR usage comes from London — by City Social restaurant. They created an app that you can use to amuse yourself and find something out about the cocktail you’re drinking.

When you open the app and point the phone at the coaster that goes with the cocktail, you’ll see amazing 3D animations full of symbolism. These symbols are related either to the history and tradition of a certain cocktail on one hand or to its ingredients on the other.

As you can tell, AR and VR technologies can help your marketing and business efforts in a number of ways. If you're planning to start implementing them, check out our list of AR/VR companies.

Experiential Marketing Is the Future of Marketing & Advertising

Gaining any kind of visibility for your brand has become very difficult, and it won’t be getting any easier. Businesses are forced to find new, creative ways to reach people and make them interested in their products. In this sense, experiential marketing opens a whole new world of opportunities for those marketers who are able to come up with fresh and original advertising ideas.

A well-thought experiential marketing campaign can be hugely beneficial for your brand. You can use it to appeal to consumers’ emotions to ensure loyalty among regular customers and recognition among prospects. Most marketers and business owners have already recognized this. It’s just one more reason not to neglect this fact and start investing in your experiential marketing efforts as early as today.

Experiential Marketing FAQs

1. How to measure experiential marketing?

To measure the effectiveness of experiential marketing, you can:

  • Track the number of participants or attendees to gauge the reach and exposure of your campaign
  • Monitor social media platforms for mentions, shares, likes, and comments related to your campaign. Assess the level of engagement and analyze the sentiment of conversations
  • Collect feedback from participants through surveys or feedback forms to gain qualitative insights into their experience and brand perception
  • Track any direct impact on sales or conversions resulting from your campaign. Analyze the correlation between the campaign and an increase in sales or conversions
  • Conduct brand awareness studies or perception surveys to measure changes in brand awareness, recall, sentiment, or loyalty resulting from the campaign
  • Analyze website and app traffic, engagement metrics, and conversion rates during the campaign
  • Look for changes in user behavior and track metrics like visits, time spent, click-through rates, and online conversions
  • Monitor media coverage and calculate the estimated PR value gained through the campaign
  • Assess the financial impact by comparing campaign costs with tangible outcomes like increased sales, new customers, or enhanced brand value
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