What is Experiential Marketing?
In essence, experiential marketing is any type of marketing that a brand focuses on to provide a specific experience to an audience. It’s most closely related to event marketing, live marketing or on-ground marketing. Before you develop your campaign, there are a few actions you'll need to take:
Define Your Goals - Do you wish to drive people to your website? Or do you want to build brand awareness? Hash out what it is that you want to achieve from an experiential marketing strategy and why.
Understand Your Audience - A deep understanding of your target audience will help you in developing specific tactics that better engage them. You need to think up appropriate experiences that will attract those who will benefit from your product or service — a campaign that targets millennials will differ greatly from a campaign that targets baby boomers.
Do Your Research - There are tons of creative experiential marketing ideas that already exist. With a few quick Google searches, you can find ideas and examples that you can apply towards your event.
Once you have a basic understanding of the strategy at hand, there a four specific things you can do to truly excel at experiential marketing:
1. Choose the Right Venue
Since you’re now well-versed in the nuances of your target market, you can use that information and apply it to your choice of venue. Where does your audience spend most of its time? Develop a list that will serve as a map of desired locations and decide on a venue that will encourage the most interaction with consumers.
And if you have the money, don’t restrict yourself to one single location. Consider taking your campaign on the road to reach multiple markets, similar to what Guinness did with their Guinness Class Experience campaign. For a few weeks, ambassadors dressed in Guinness-branded flight attendant uniforms and traveled to bars, pubs and taverns across the U.K., where they surprised unsuspecting customers with a chance to win all kinds of prizes.
2. Take Advantage of Live Streaming
Live streaming was the breakout feature of last year’s social media developments. With the rise of things such as Facebook Live, Instagram Live, YouTube Live, Periscope and Snapchat, people now have the ability to participate in the action, regardless of where they are. However, while 78 percent of marketers say they promote events in advance online, only 62 percent choose to continue that engagement during the event itself. So what’s the holdup?
Social media platforms are developing at a rapid pace to allow users to involve remote audiences in their event campaigns, so there’s no reason not to stream your activities. The next time you’re developing your event marketing materials, make sure to add live video to your list of video assets.
3. Use the Popularity of Other Events
There are a few huge events that crop up from time to time that reach millions of people both nationally and internationally. The Olympics, Super Bowl and New Year’s Eve at Times Square all come to mind. Take advantage of these large events to boost your own brand.
Try hiring a mascot or another brand ambassador to be present at the event and engage with the attendees and media. Develop a hashtag that can serve as social media fodder to allow people to tweet about the experience and boost online visibility. Also, think up a branded handout that people can carry away so they have something to remember you by.
4. Remember: There’s a Logistical Side to Experiential Marketing
Experiential marketing is a unique and effective way to reach people, but your budget will most likely start taking a larger and larger hit. As the practice grows, permit costs at private properties, malls, festivals, events and trade shows are increasing exponentially. This is something to keep in mind as you’re developing your campaign.
Ensure that you have solid legal backing when throwing an experiential marketing event. When brands participate in a public display, there are many liabilities to be held accountable for. Beyond budgeting for the permit, you may need to hire some key figures like lawyers, event managers, fire safety consultants or security personnel.
If you’re looking for a new way to stand out from the competition, you need to offer the consumer an experience they won’t forget. Make sure you have these tips in the back of your mind — and when you're ready to dive in, give GES a call. Our experts will help you make the most of your experiential marketing efforts!
About the Author
Kristy Hundt is the Marketing Manager at GES Events. She is responsible for managing and helping create integrative marketing campaigns, which include content, digital advertising, and social media. In her free time, she wrangles two young kids and volunteers as a Destination Imagination coachFollow on Twitter More Content by Kristy Hundt