A few years ago, a viral clip was circulating on social media. It was grainy CCTV footage of pedestrians trying to smash a 3M glass box near a bus stop. The box supposedly contained USD 3 million. Passers-by had done all to break the glass box open. They kicked, punched, and even used a sledgehammer — to no avail, of course.
It was hailed as one of the most genius forms of advertising. But did the box contain $3 million? Was the glass damage-proof? This, folks, is a brilliant example of experiential marketing.
Several years later, the facts about this promotional stunt eventually came to light. For one, the case didn't have $3 million. At best, the bills amounted to 500 Canadian dollars, and the rest were fake. 3M even revealed that the glass wasn't shatterproof. Instead, it had a layer of film applied to strengthen it.
But one thing's for sure: it certainly got people's attention. The allure of winning USD 3 million just by breaking a glass case wasn't something they could just pass up. In addition, 3M didn't have to hard-sell the product. People just willingly participated in it.
And thus, we're brought to the magic of experiential marketing. What is it? How do you do it right? Try it out if you want to stir a social media frenzy or generate ridiculously high leads for your event.
What Is Experiential Marketing?
Experiential marketing aims to foster brand-audience interaction through real-world scenarios. Experiential marketing stunts are participative and engaging. They often go hand-in-hand with other forms of marketing, like gamification. The idea is to get your target audience to experience your brand and everything it offers instead of just buying your products and services.
Experiential campaigns are often event-centric. However, the focus is more on the brand and customer interactions. For example, if you've been to a video game expo, you've tried a demo of a newly-launched console. The game company hopes that by trying out the console, you're more likely to buy it. Additionally, you'll end up associating the unique and innovative experience with their brand.
Traditional marketing regards consumers as passive receivers of a company's messaging. But in experiential marketing, the consumers are active participants. They can witness and participate in the campaign process from start to finish.
Why Is Experiential Marketing Effective?
Experiential marketing works because humans are emotional creatures. When we see that a brand effectively connects with us, the audience, we become more loyal to them.
Making your customers a part of your brand's story makes them feel more involved with your company. They're not just a target audience you have to win over.
Many companies from different industries have effectively executed their experiential marketing campaigns. If you want to give it a go, below are some handy tips you can use.
5 Winning Tips To Succeed In Your Experiential Marketing Campaigns
- Find The Right Audience And Invest In Their Interests
- Match Your Audience's Needs With Your Goals
- Create A Memorable Experience
- Capitalise On Engagement
- Track The Campaign's Success
Experiential marketing relies on best practices to elevate the impact of your brand. Let's dive deeper.
1. Find The Right Audience And Invest In Their Interests
You can't universally please everyone. The good news is that you don't have to when holding an event. Choosing your audience — this is where every good experiential marketing begins.
Focus on the type of people you want to attract. Social media platforms are at your disposal if you don't know where to start. Check what's trending and what people are interested in. Target people who are listening to and talking about your product or service. Then, cross-reference this information with your website traffic data.
Meta's Facebook IQ curates hot topics and popular discussion points for the month. Twitter also has a similar feature that lets you see all trending topics related to your brand.
It's also helpful to list previous attendees from your past events. Create a shortlist of those that match your target audience or persona. You're now on your way to organising and setting up an event that resonates with your audience.
2. Match Your Audience's Needs With Your Goals
Once you have a good grasp of your audience's interests, establish your pals around them. Do this by setting measurable KPIs you can track and observe during and after the event.
Maybe you want to broaden your social media influence for better brand awareness. Create social sharing benchmarks and compare them to your marketing efforts. Directly interact with your audience. Record the engagement, identify areas of improvement, and repeat. Hear what your audience is saying through surveys.
3. Create A Memorable Experience
Aside from setting up an event relevant to your audience's wants and needs, you must make it memorable. After they've left, your brand should be at the forefront of their minds. They should positively associate your brand with the virtual event they just witnessed. Do something relevant but not too on-the-nose.
Lean Cuisine is a perfect example of a company that has successfully created a memorable experience for its audience. In past marketing strategies, the frozen food giant focused on diet-centric messaging. "Lose weight by eating our frozen food and TV dinners".
Their recent marketing campaign, #WeighThis, was worlds away from its original message. Lean Cuisine set up a gallery of "scales" in NYC's Grand Central Station. The women didn't weigh themselves on these scales. Instead, there were small blackboards where women wrote down how they wanted to be "weighed" or defined.
Rather than listing down a number in pounds, the women wished to be measured by other things. They wrote about "being a good influence on their students" or "becoming published writers".
Throughout the campaign, not a single person from Lean Cuisine interrupted them. No one plugged in a healthy mac n' cheese or Salisbury steak dinner. But still, the entire campaign was clearly branded. It was enough for the participants to associate the experience with Lean Cuisine.
4. Capitalise On Engagement
Experiential marketing activities are great platforms to drive even more social engagement. Focus on creating the event and developing relatable and shareable content.
You could include hashtags for the audience to share on:
- Other social media platforms
Content-sharing helps you tap a broader audience, especially if they have large followings.
5. Track The Campaign's Success
After your event, you must measure its success using key performance indicators (KPIs). The results should align with the goals you've established initially. For example, if you've hosted a virtual exhibition, look at the total number of participants. Did the number reach your original target? Was there a higher turnout than you'd initially expected?
Another way to measure the campaign's success is through website social engagement and lead conversion. Ask yourself these questions:
- Was there high direct traffic?
- How many people have you compelled to search for your brand?
- How many inquire about your products or services?
- Are the figures aligned with your defined goals and expectations?
You could also directly hear from your audience. Ask for feedback through surveys or polls. Gather their reviews and find out what they liked or didn't like.
Experiential marketing is an excellent way for customers to engage with your brand, create awareness, boost brand loyalty, and generate sales. Experiential marketing creates a much more unique and unforgettable experience. Promote your brand by using innovative techniques and tactics.
Ready to set up your experiential marketing campaign? Start with EventX! Our virtual event platform can increase your event lead conversion rate by as high as 89%. Webinars, workshops, conferences, talk shows, and online courses — we make event planning simple and engaging. Get in touch with us now, or try a free demo!
Frequently Asked Questions About
What Is The Goal Of Experiential Marketing?
Experiential marketing aims to establish a memorable connection between brand and customer. This marketing tactic hopes to promote customer loyalty and affect buying habits.
What Is Digital, Experiential Marketing?
Digital, experiential marketing uses online methods and platforms to engage consumers in real-time.
What Is An Experiential Product?
An experiential product is a product that consumers purchase solely for experience and enjoyment. Movies and music are two common examples of experiential products.
Who Invented Experiential Marketing?
Experiential marketing has been in play for hundreds of years now. Its first documented use was during the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. It was the first time major American brands introduced their products to drive more sales.